Tuesday, March 02, 2004

A Day in the Life

Criminy, jack.

I went to the bank in Intramuros around past noon today and something caused me to hesitate as I was crossing Roxas boulevard.

Naked as the day as she was born was one of those crazed taong-grasa ('grease-people' though technically, she wasn't all that greasy), throwing stones at passing cars. This one, an old woman, seemed to be fuming mad as she seemed to be muttering to herself and gesturing wildly at the street before her.

Normally, I wouldn't give these people a second thought (the first one goes "What the fuck...?") but I had to be wary with this one since she was wandering all over the sidewalk I was heading for.

(You can't really be too careful with these since any rational and logical guesses on how to avoid 'em gets thrown out of the window. Next thing you know, you're avoiding stones as big as your fist being thrown at your noggin by some obscenity-screaming naked madwoman intent on chasing you down for the bug-eyed alien you are.)

Anyway, I managed to get to the bank safely and its comforting relief of their cold aircon. And that reminded me of the nature of the beast riding on everyone's shoulder nowadays: the onset of summer is here, what with the scathing heat during the day and the oppressively humid nights.

Here in the great urban hell that is the City of Manila, in the port area where the scintillating blue sea adds to the heat by reflecting the sun's glaring rays, it's even worse. On certain days, you can see the heat rising from the ground in waves, distorting the semi-rush or slow crawling of traffic outside my office from sight.

As I was walking back to the office after my bank errand, I ruminated about upcoming summer days and thought about the last summer I experienced while working here.

Sometimes the heat gets so bad, you can wrap it around you like a giant room filled with hot jello. It's grindingly heavy, the heat, and you can actually feel the sun grinding you down with an almost cosmological malice. And then you get to realize that there is nothing else in the world but you and the heat. And the heat, it whips you and drives you crazy until you're willing to jump into the nearest body of water, any kind of water, just to escape the bloody, maddening soul-scorching heat.


Rushing back to the office (the crazy old woman was still there, tearing down some small banners on the nearby trees), I played a real-life version of an old computer game, Frogger, as I crossed the busy Roxas boulevard again, gaining the highway island in the nick of time. The island actually is an island of respite despite its dusty plants and boughs because at least, there's a modicum of shade.

And as I stood there surveying the mad rush of traffic around the nameless rotonda beside my office, I figured maybe the crazy old woman was mad because of heat on the brain or something. Who knows?

Then it's another rush down the other half of the highway and back to the office for me.

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