Sun.Star Baguio - - Opinion - email:mon­[email protected]­ for com­ments

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.

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