Dodging People

It seems that i've been dodging people all my life. On the way to the North Avenue MRT Station, i walked opposing a horde of people that are probably on their way home. I walked up, climbing up two steps at a time, avoiding unnecessary steps. Near the top, though, i had to decide whether to take three steps or to take two steps, then step up just one more. I decided to take it slow but sure.

It was still crowded, probably with people rushing their holiday shopping so they won't need to go out tomorrow. After a few minutes, i got into the first car. This, i've done purposely so it'll be close to the stairs that leads to the shops full of pirated CD's in EDSA Central. I asked around if they have VCD's or DVD's of Nightmare Before Christmas or Super-Size Me. They don't have any of those, but they offered me Surviving Christmas, which i haven't even heard of 'til now and i don't think i'd have any interested in watching. I entered Shang, not interested in buying anything there. That mall never fails to disorient me no matter how many times i've been there. It must be their shops with overpriced products, then again, it might just be me, i'm not sure.

A few floors down, and several turns later, i found the exit that's closest to SM Megamall. I went out and headed in the general direction of that great big obstruction. Behind Building B, bodies bounced beside bodies. It's a big crowded mess of people burdened with shopping bags & other stuff that emerge from malls. I turned right and walked thru San Miguel Ave to get to Robinson's Galleria. From the time i set foot in Galleria, i've been thinking twice about watching 2046, but their management already decided for me, by changing 2046 into something else (i can't really remember at the moment). I would've liked to watch it again in that cold movie house, but it's too late now, i have to wait for a VCD/DVD of that. Having lost one purpose of going out, i just looked for Super-size Me and The Nightmare Before Christmas, having checked the shops that sell videos, i lost hope of finding it there and decided to go back to Megamall to look for it.

Just outside the back exit, where Erika drank coffee & Niña gave me iced tea, i decided not to go back from where i came. So i turned left to Ortigas, and saw the front of Gasoline Alley, where Niña and i sat and talk for hours postulating that there's probably a factory that makes people for the sole purpose of delaying her. Seeing that, i decided to go to a place where freedom is given the value it deserves. A place where people hardly respects the restrictions given by the law. A place where love and fear coexists, and are often inseperable. Yes. I decided to go to Virramall.

However, i didn't realize that going there required more effort. Crossing EDSA, i had planned on crossing Ortigas & riding a jeep or a bus from there, but owing it to my poor memory, this plan was sure to fail. There was no place to get across Ortigas for more than a kilometer away. It was too late when i realized this. I've been walking and have been seeing signs that said, "WALANG TAWIRAN NAKAMAMATAY" (this means "no crossing" in a Florante & Laura type of Tagalog). Having seen an overpass made me smile unnecessarily and inexplicably -- since i'd still have to walk to Virramall, given that all public transpo there are full. Having this in mind, i still looked forward to going up and getting across, since the other side seemed to have more lights. To my dismay & puzzlement, the overpass is locked. So i had to walk to the place of freedom on the dim part of the street. A few meters from that depressing event, however, the lights on the other side were also out. I trudged the street knowing that if it weren't for the vehicles passing by, it would've been pitch black, and eventhough it's only a two days before a full moon, i couldn't count on it because of the cloudy sky.

Seeing the green light, my heart pumped as fast as it did when i saw clouds reflecting silver rays of the sun. This was probably because i was so tired, but at that time, it seemed like a good analogy. I went up the overpass where a stream of people flowed against me, probably to get the heck away from that extremely crowded place. It's as crowded as a sardine can stuffed with twice its contents. Despite this fact, i was still determined to look for those two videos. I asked two stalls, which resulted again to the negative. I was then beginning to wonder why those two are so hard to find. After a few minutes, i decided that i didn't care why it is, as long as i find it. I also realized something else: that i didn't know how i could get to Virramall from that part of the shopping center. Rather than going in circles again, i decided to go out and head for Virramall's entrance. On the way, i saw the cinema and checked, just in case they're showing 2046 there, which of course, they're not. That, having wasted my time, made me get to Virramall's entrance more than a few moments since it closed. It wouldn't have mattered anyway, since most of the pirates leave at least half an hour before the mall closes, which led me to wonder what stupid thought came into my mind that implored me to go there in the first place.

Fretting over something that's already done is useless, i know, so i decided to solve my problem by making a time-machine. However, i had more urgent problems to deal with -- such as getting home -- so i decided to set aside that endeavor and get going. I turned right from the gate of Green Hills Shopping Center to Annapolis. After that i decided to walk to Cubao, just for kicks. Of course, i had to nourish my poor body before another torturous activity, so i grabbed a Pork Asado Crunch-pao (like Kung-pow, only crunchier) and some juice at a MiniStop near a condo named Atlanta Center. I continued where i left off with Poppy Z. Brite while eating. Going out of that store, i turned left. After a few meters, i drew a map in my head. I realized my walk would've been shorter if i turned right instead, and go thru Eisenhower then Rd 1 & Rd2. I wouldn't know where to go from there, but i'm certain it'll get me to Aurora faster. Thinking that i could always do that again next time, i continued to EDSA.

Seeing that the MRT cars are jam-packed, i said to myself that i'm doing the right thing by walking. In front of PNP's white gate that are as tall as three humans on top of eahc other, i saw a couple apparently arguing who gets the next piece of fishball, or at least that's what i thought. Just before getting to Serrano Avenue, i saw two groups of guys, which looked like people who are out to get my non-existent cellphone, but they didn't even noticed me, so it's just paranoia in my part.

Away from the Bagong Crame area, i discovered the land that MMDA forgot. It's probably covered in a mile radius from Bangbangali. From there, i could see the Cubao MRT station. Going up two steps at a time, i recalled that my ticket only has 10.50 PhP loaded in it. At the ticketing booth, i verified that it'll take me 10.50 PhP to get to the North Ave station from there. With a mild stroke of senselessness, i came up with an idea that'll attempt to justify the absurdity of my current situation. I decided to go to the next station (GMA Kamuning) and explain to people that i walked all the way there to get a bonus ride worth 50 centavos -- because, with a stored value ticket, the last ride wouldn't account how much was left on your card. Also, i decided to explain thinking this way because i'm of Ilokano (who are considered kuripot -- to put it nicely: extremely thrifty -- all over the country) origin. However, the fact that i'm writing this on a public web log made this decision nonsensical.

I took the first car of the MRT again because the other two were full. I didn't want a seat tho, just more place to move around.

I staggered down, one or two steps at a time, invariably, at the North Avenue Station. When i got to the foot bridge, i took one tiring step at a time, then walked very slowly on top, then down a step at a time. After a few minutes of regaining my strength, i got down two steps at a time like before.

It was surprising to see SM North still open after 10pm, so i got in and tried for one last time to look for The Nightmare Before Christmas & Super-size Me, but the video shops are closed. Passing by, i bought a brownie & iced tea, or "number one" as they called it, at some store. Eating while walking, i saw a music store and decided to buy a bass pick. To my dismay, the store was also closed.

I walked thru the parking lot and crossed the street at a part where nobody else would probably cross. I found a trash can near the back exit of Supersales club, threw my garbage and continued to walking my almost-daily path. After a few hours of senseless torture, here i am, with nothing gained but another look at a small portion of the world. Still the same, more or less. Still climbing up and down flights of stairs two steps at a time. Still dodging people.

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