It’s easy to lose yourself in a city of 11 million people and I find it a pleasant surprise when I recognize a stranger in the crowd. Now I’m not one to romanticize something as casual and insignificant as realizing the girl going down the subway (lol) stairs in front of me happens to be the same girl who stood right next to me on the platform some days ago. I knew it was her without having to look at her face because she was holding a battered copy of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club on both occasions. …Why do I feel like I’m the only one who ever notices these things?
It really cheers me up when I come across people who carry books with them while making their way through the city. The other day, I was on the train en route to work and the girl next to me was so absorbed in the book she was reading that I couldn’t resist being nosy. I leaned in a bit to get a look, haughtily expecting her to be reading some Mitch Albom or Mary Jo Putney kind of hogwash. So I was a bit impressed when I caught a glimpse of the cover: Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain. You don’t expect that from your garden variety Filipino.
Anyways. I realize that I’ve come to enjoy taking the train to work because there’s something addicting about shamelessly watching people, and rush hour provides just the perfect setting for gawking. After more than a month of silently observing my fellow countrywomen, I have come to the conclusion that the general Filipina public is an…interesting bunch. It’s a curious thing, the way some of them smile sheepishly at no one in particular because someone beat them to a spot on the train bench. Or the way this one woman took out her handkerchief and ever-so-casually wiped at her sweaty armpits, as if it were the most natural thing to do in a train full of people. Or how some girls can lay out all their make-up on their laps and (for the lack of a better term) preen themselves in public. What Odds.
I’m suffering from reading ADD again. Last week, I was reading Peter S Beagle’s The Last Unicorn. Over the weekend, I started Neil Gaiman’s Don’t Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Yesterday morning, I came home to find the best friend’s copy of Candace Bushnell’s Lipstick Jungle on the bedroom floor. And I’m still not done with Marvin Harris’s Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddles of Culture, and Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much Is True (which I started reading MONTHS ago and sort of forgot about when we moved into the condo).
And I’m behind my crossword puzzles.
Today’s “This Gave Me The Happies!” conversation is with Mr Supervisor:
Helga: Why are you here? Aren’t you off today?
Mr Supervisor: I don’t know, because I’m stalking you? HAHAHAHAHA!
(Seriously, though, he came from Bible study.)