On the road to dual citizenship
(I return to this piece written years back, in response to a friend’s observation that my recent columns were “all serious physical injuries”, meaning they lack humor. Having watched on TV the funeral mass for the late President George Bush, I take refuge in this old piece , in the same token that those who eulogized him took on the power of humor to cope with America’s and the world’s loss. – RD) nakkong, nga lima pisos laengen?(Will it be all right, my child, to have it for five pesos?).”
This reminder about aging is getting more recurrent nowadays, sending me to intimations about my mortality. That was what Domcie Cimatu, a year my junior but my senior at the University of Baguio Science High, was suspected of doing for being out of circulation for sometime due to arthritis.
Two years later, after delivering a basic journalism lecture for students, I took the front seat of a jeepney at Km. 4, La Trinidad, Benguet, then asked the driver the rate to the city proper. He looked at me and remained unsure.
“Seben pipti no regular, siks no senior citizen (Seven pesos and fifty cents for regular, six for senior citizen),” he replied.
Being short of the age for fare discounts, I handed him P7.50. He counted the coins with his eyes, shifted gears and then resumed speed. I was pretty sure he would have re-examined my face, but reined in the urge. From the corner of his eyes, he saw me staring at his doubtful own.
“Pakited mo man plitik (Kindly hand over my fare),” I asked a younger passenger inside a jeep bound for home. That's all I said, no "ading" or "nakkong" or any other qualifier.
He got my P20 bill and told the driver for everyone to hear: “Maysa kano nga senior citizen.”
That’s why I try to make it a point to have coins in my pocket. If you don’t have the exact amount and hand over two fives, the driver sometimes deliberately forgets to give the change, be it P2.50 or P4.
I'm afraid to ask, lest he would ask: “Senior citizen?”