On The Last (Working) Day of The Year


 
 
(originally written 30th December 2009. Thanks for reading!) 
 
 [ Nothing coherent that we can promise here dear reader, just some stream-of-consciousness notes that we hastily scrawled, which is just a nice term for senseless thoughts spewing from our perverted little mind. . .  , thanks for the lovely notes from 6-E loyalists Jo Nolasco & Philip Ang, you are both remembered fondly ! And please DONT pick up dud firecrackers, or at least use a stick… they’re a deadly way to start 2010 ! Last na po, some upper case letters and colon key are not functioning, sorry for the inconvenience.  Happy New Year ! ]

Dear friends 
 
Sori ser abelabol lang pow ang free nospeper sa 100 peysow order and above.  Ano pow ba ang order nila?
 
( hmm . . . The only reason we were buying a 2nd breakfast, at cholesterol rich Jollibee no less, was the free inky periodico, maybe we could explain that . . . )
 
Eh anak kaya nga ko nagbi Breakfast Joy Value Meal para makabasa ng diario .  Baka naman mapagbigyan mo ko?
 
( We can’t reconcile paying P100 for a paper, but we were seriously starved for news since missing CNN since Christmas Eve.  Besides, we needed the SuperLotto results badly. )
 
After harrassed counter crew consults her manager, the latter herself approaches us.
 
Ser, DI POW TALAGA PWEDE ang free paper unless naka P100 pow kayo.
 
Ows?  Kahit hiramin ko lang saglit ?
 
Unfair naman pow sa mga nagorder ng P100 di pow ba?
 
Of all the Jollibee managers in the world, this one on Kamias, OUR Jollibee for the morning, just happens to be the one with the most fully developed sense of fairness and justice . . .
 
( we exhale dramatically enough for manager to notice ) Hay nako anak, sige salamat na lang.
 
Well, we still can’t admit to ourselves that we’re too cheap to buy a morning paper with our breakfast, but hey, weirder things have been known to happen whenever our travel weary feet touch the soil of our birth . . .
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We blush when we say this, but except for sporadic spells when we were domesticated and provisions like pandesal, rice, sugar and LPG were urgently needed, we never held a steering wheel, which was why we were never that hot about getting a driver’s license overseas.  Almost as if Fate was humoring us, we discovered that in our temporary adopted land, it was socially acceptable, even PC to push a pushbike, surf a skateboard and scoot on a scooter to work, if time and distance allowed. 
So on the backburner remained plans to finally become a work-a-day motorist on the urban highway, we continued to hoof it or pedal it on the way to the salt mines, all these 16 months as Third World Slave in First World Kingdom. Our naivete was smashed a bit by a sidewalk accident, we realized that driving a car had to remain high on our life skills list, no matter that everything was RHD and you drove on the wrong side of the road, so to speak.
The easiest way to do this was to gain a non-professional driver’s license back home, which we tried to do that day.  The student permit was a breeze, but our spirits were dashed when we were told that the earliest date that we could apply for a full license was a month from the issuance of the student permit, long after we had gone overseas back to work.  Haaaay.
Any special consideration that we could seek, since our license was urgently needed and we were leaving soon?
Nope, nope, nope, said the document evaluator, his supervisor, and the Information Officer of The Day.  Precisely, the database software is designed so that a non-negotiable period of one month goes by for you to have time to LEARN to drive, that’s why it’s called a student permit, dearie.
On the background, we could sense the chief of licensing witnessing our earnest efforts to make a spectacle of ourselves, on the penultimate working day of the year.  
We tried one last time.  
Do you really want your license hijo?
 
Opow
In Tagalog ( sounding like it was never her initiative ) Me makakatutulong sa yo, pero it’s gonna cost you an arm and a leg. ( Not her exact words, but she conveyed the exact same idea )
Magkano pow ba ang kailangan. 
 
Don’t discuss that with me OK? She said rather officiously, whistling to a short, stocky guy in t-shirt and slippers (which, looking back, was the perfect attire for both his role in the unfolding drama and the humid humid weather) who brought us to another TAGAAYOS (the polite term, less ambiguous and presumptuous sounding than TAGATULONG) who brought us ultimately to the person who we imagined would be able to help us.
Bukas po makukuha nyo na non-pro nyo pero madaming makikihati (my predicament sounded like a slab of freshly baked pizza, on whom everyone was expected to munch on). She then quoted a figure that made our skull hit the proverbial roof…
 but considering the one year waiting period (overseas) we would sidestep, the ultrastrict examinations we wouldn’t need to sit, and finally the two-stage process  (learner and restricted levels) we would avoid by just being able to convert an overseas license into an NZ one, it was actually a bargain.
To make a long story less long, we went through the written and practical exams as if we were an ordinary candidate for a non-professional license, but with a slight, but important difference. our student permit date was “back-dated” to late November.
We’re no saint, on the other hand we still possess a few shreds of moral scruples one way or the other, but if the only thing our conscience was to be bothered with was the date of a student permit that was altered to fit a desperate need, then we could live with that.
along the way, we saw the faces that told us nope, bo huat, nyet, uh-uh, can’t be done,  stared at them for just a fraction of a second longer than the usual pass-you-by stare ( for kicks ), and they didn’t, not one of them, bat an eyelash.  
Either our face was one of thousands that they beheld in one day, or the realization that we were student permit to non-pro in 24 hours didn’t matter to them one iota.  Par for the course, so to speak.  Who were we to pontificate on the fact that the LTO despite its numerous signs (BAWAL DITO ANG FIXER) remains one of the most corrupt kingdom’s in Ate Glow’s Dying Empire?
There are no fixers allowed on the grounds, because everyone’s a fixer inside ?
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Which was why, as a rather oldish 44 year student driver, we were waiting our turn to sit our exams while our handlers were taking their much needed break ( so much moolah to collect, and so little time! ) and a rather comfy place to do it was brunch in Jollibee. We sorely missed the tapsilog, hotsilog, longsilog, and other silogs that were so tempting on the picture menus, and so reasonable the price !  The only gray cloud was that newspaper episode that we, on principle, couldn’t concede but let slide on the dying days of 2009 . . .
Thanks for sharing and thanks for the memories !
NOel
PS Lots more we want to make kwento to you, old friend, but for now just a slice of the scenery .  14 year old Brent pierced his ear, 17 year old Nicole has another orifice for facial jewelry, near the eyebrows, and his hair, no joke, makes Nigel (21) a strong (but early) candidate for the barangay Passion Play, the main character ha? Anak, at least magparebond ka naman…
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