On the road to dual cit­i­zen­ship

Sun.Star Baguio - - Opinion -

(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?”

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