It’s hazardous to my wallet, but I’d rather flag down a cab. More than the convenience of having no one to overestimate your age, it used to amuse occasionally seeing my older brother Joe walking the three-kilometer route to and from where we both work.
One morning I found myself at the end of a long queue at the former PCI-Equitable Session branch. I inched my way to the teller for,I guess, an hour. Finally, I was infront of her glass. She told me my withdrawal – a
Samaritan’s donation for the sick – was still being processed.
Perhaps calculating my age, an off-and-on alert guard manning the heavy human traffic flow told me to sit by the senior citizens lane. By the time I saw my withdrawal papers were ready, the guard had forgotten me. I took the initiative and returned to the same teller’s window.
Without looking at me, she told the guard, “Sabihin mo sa kanya, do’n s’ya pumila sa linya ng senior citizen (Tell him to take the senior citizen’s queue).”
I didn’t budge, peeved that she didn’t tell me directly. I almost choked blurting out the truth in my fractured Tagalog: “Di pa ako senior, my tatlong taon pa.”
She kept quiet, neither asking nor looking for proof of my birth date which was not reflected on either my office ID or the GSIS eCard that the government insurance system seems to want to change every year. Lining up at the senior citizens’ lane would have been a lie, which she must have thought I had committed for my non-compliance of her order to the guard.
Being reminded of one’s aging is hardly funny. Okay, I’m like anybody. We all wish to reach that age of dual citizenship – Filipino and senior. But not as fast as others had wanted me to believe I had become before turning 60. They make me feel clumsy. And old.
Not Mike Santos, the ageless, lanky folksinger who had gone to the great folkhouse in the sky. He once swore he’d always be younger than his mother-in-law. He handled aging with grace and even found humor in the morbid.
“Alam mo,pare, tuwang-tuwa ako nang mabasa ko yong Midland Courier,” he told me over coffee. “Binuklat ko yong obituary at laking pasalamat ko dahil wala yong retrato ko’t pangalan do’n.”
“Dapat palagi kang bibili hanggang makita mo,” I suggested.
He stared at me and then smiled like a 10year old.