It’s a fact that I hate to admit, but in Katipunan, tricycle drivers are kings. Those shitheads own not just the roads, but a huge chunk of your everyday Katipunan existence as well. And on days like today, I wish I were God (like, truly truly God) armed with an AK-47 and the legal right to open fire and headshot their sneering smirking heads to bits.

Today, I left the apartment at half past two in the afternoon with 21 Christmas cards in my bag. I took a jeep to get to the UP Post Office. Now UP is only SUPPOSED to be ten minutes away from Katipunan, but no thanks to the traffic, my plans of sending out those cards were foiled. The post office closes at 3. It doesn’t help that I haven’t been to the Diliman campus in MONTHS— I had this wild look in my eyes that screamed “I DON’T BELONG HERE!” and I just had to leave my cigarettes at home. I could be naked and fat in the middle of EDSA during rush hour, but hand me a lit cigarette and I can fucking strut the highway and make naked and fat look cool. Or the new black.

So anyway. I passed by Shoppersville to get some boxes and wrappers because ’tis the season for that. After dilly-dallying for half an hour, I leave the place and approach a parked tricycle. I give the driver my street name and my exact compound, he pauses and then asks how much I normally pay. 12 pesos, I say. Asshat starts reasoning out and for the nth time that day, I wish I had my cigarettes with me so I could’ve blown smoke into his face before I walked away. This cretin (a tricycle driver, too) who was sitting on the sidewalk next to his tricycle scoffed at my back: “12 pesos? For a pedicab, maybe!” Fucking idiot. You’re a trike driver, I live on lower, not upper Abada. KNOW THE FARE DIFFERENCE.

So off I walk to the tricycle terminal outside the dorm where I used to live. I stopped by the bank, drew out some cash, and as I walked past Rustan’s (the grocery), I hear someone calling my name. Not just one “Helga!” but many many Helgas. “Helga! Helga! HELGA!

I turn my head and what do I see? A group of tricycle drivers sitting on a concrete stump with silly smiles pasted on their grimy city-tanned faces. My mind seriously froze. Like. Seriously. Froze. I was holding my phone because I had a message from Chuchubells and the words were a blur and for a few seconds, it was like my brain had forgotten how to string letters and words together. I approached a waiting trike, stared at the driver (who stared back) before I was able to go “Abada. *pause* Family Montessori. *pause*” And then I realized I actually had to get in, to get home.

I texted Chuchubells about the incident and he said that’s what I get for always walking along and around Katipunan. IT’S NOT LIKE I DO SO WEARING A FUCKING NAME TAG (while waving around Davidoff cigars)!

“Maybe I should change my name”, I told Allah when I got home. So from now on, my Katipunan screen name is MARY-KATE, okay? In front of tricycle drivers and tambays, I am NOT Helga; I am Mary-Kate.

Also, I’d just like to point out how much I hate office gossip. D texted me last Tuesday night, out of the blue, to say that he’s disappointed that he’s heard I’ve been talking trash about him. I replied with a “Don’t talk about you. Don’t even THINK about you.”

So last night, I was drunk, pissed off at Chuchubells, had downed three Vis, and had the brilliant idea to bitch at D. Don’t ask me what happened because my memory’s a bit fuzzy. Why are the Alabang people even talking about me, damn it.