Friday, June 6, 2008

On The Road Again...

As I write this, I am back sitting in what I call the “bus-desperately-trying-to-act-like-an-airplane (complete with ersatz stewardess to boot).” I left my cap in the car when the wifey drove me over, and I’m now wondering whether or not it was foolish to turn down her offer to bring me back the cap or risk getting my skull frozen by the airconditioning.

It’s a Friday night and business is brisk in the Cubao terminal of Victory Liner. Throngs of people buzzing about the station. Either waiting for their ride, or hoping to catch a few vacant seats. Fat chance of that with the regular buses. Although the deluxe bus that I’m in (a.k.a. the “bus-desperately-trying-to-act-like-an-airplane”) isn’t filled to the aisles. Probably because they upped the ticket price to P700 from P600. Can’t say I blame them. Fuel prices are through the roof.

But it still isn’t too bad a deal. For P295 more than the usual aircon bus fare, you get airline-style seats (couch, of course), a charming female bus conductor (who refers to herself as “stewardess,” complete with the body-hugging uniform and official-sounding PA system ‘we hope you enjoyed your travel with us’ announcements), a bottle of drinking water, your choice of crackers, and a built-in restroom (but imagine taking a leak in a moving bus running over bumpy roads and desperately, and sometimes vainly, trying to properly aim for the toilet seat, and you get an idea about what it’s like to walk in there…). All that in a neat, non-stop 5-hour ride to Baguio City.

Even better, you can drop by the Victory Liner terminal and buy your tickets (with specific seat numbers) way in advance. Thus, eliminating the hassle and horror of waiting at the bus terminal while inhaling all that sweet-smelling carbon monoxide from the buses that come in and out. Just arrive at the station at least 20 minutes from your scheduled departure time, hop into your comfy airline-style seats, and stare at the losers choking themselves to death through the humongous windows, while you wait for the bus to hit the road.

It’s also that last night of the wake of the former Julius Chua, who I will now refer to fondly as the “Pillar of What Was Montage.” He’s scheduled to be buried tomorrow morning (June 7, 2008), and somehow I can’t shake the feeling that I should have dropped by the Paz for one last time. But being the popular guy that Julius was, I’m expecting a record crowd tonight at the Paz. And I hate crowds. Ironically, the deluge I expect to happen tonight will bring me even more mixed feelings about my late friend. There will be the joy of seeing that he will live on in the vivid memories of many, but also really bring home the magnitude of the loss his death brings to the many people he knew and knew him.

Too late to change my mind and turn back now. Besides, I am grateful to him for too many things. Thus, I have a sinking feeling I will mourn him long after tonight anyways. But now, with the bus lights dimmed and I am truly alone for the first time in a while, I finally allow myself to shed that tear for him I’ve held back for a week.
(end of segueway)

I’m on my way to Baguio yet again for a week and a day. Alone again. Last time, the wifey was preggers. This time, we deemed little Marge still not ready for such a long ride. So I take the bus. Bought my ticket four nights ago to avoid the crush. (see Figure A to see said “crush”)

I’m on my way back up to the mountain city for a wee bit over a week to keep my promise to keep learning the ropes of the family store/s. To be honest, I enjoy the rides and am actually getting the hang of being involved in the family business. Of course, this doesn’t mean in any measure that my love for Maverick has diminished. Interestingly enough, God has been relatively kind. Business at Maverick seems to be looking up despite the hard times hitting practically any industry. Not good enough, but definitely looking up. Referrals have been happening yet again, together with the odd unexpected call backs from clients from a couple years ago or so. And better still, the “Mavericks” seem to have been weaned and are growing up.

Not sure about what will happen next given the two jobs I’ve taken on. But I’ve literally made my choice between them. Literally. my choice is to be between. I need both for very different reasons so I will take this double life as far as I can. The wife understands this and has been supportive. Let’s hope everyone else will be, too.

As for what will be left of me sooner or later, only time will tell.