traffic analysis

Friday, June 11, 2010


Last night was supposed to be a light, relaxing evening with friends in the bar we frequent in Malate. I had walked from my apartment in Makati all the way to Orosa St. corner Nakpil St. via Vito Cruz and Leon Guinto which takes me an hour of brisk walking. I enjoy the long walk not only for its cardio benefits but more importantly, it allows me time to be one with my thoughts. Walking for me is no longer just exercise, it also presents the opportunity to connect with my inner feelings and of course, walking is a means to get from one point to another.

I like my Makati to Malate route because it is free from jeepneys. The streets are clean (well cleaner compared to other Metro Manila streets) after a downpour, there are no clogged drains leading to pools of water by the sidewalk. So far it has been a safe walk to date. The breeze is invigorating.

And so it was of this clear mindset that I arrive in Malate. I was the first to reach the bar at 10:15 pm as most habitues in the area prefer to arrive past midnight and party till dawn. In two minutes time, my two friends arrive in tow. We order our preferred drinks (San Mig Strong Ice for me, Vodka for the other two),  exchange pleasantries, do the perfunctory air kisses, and play and sing along to our favorite CDs.

Enter Monsieur R, a recent addition to the pack of gays in their midlife that frequent the bar. The younger generation of gays in the district have given the bar the moniker "Home For The Aged" due to the demographics of the majority of customers that frequent it. I met Monsieur R  only a few months back through common friends. He is an Ilonggo and frequents Manila occasionally. At the onset Mr. R had shown little reverence for other people's personal space. At first I had attributed this fact to him being from the South where people are more demonstrative and malambing. I had however, from the start shown my preference for observance of my space by crossing my arms over my chest and shrugging off his touchy-feely actions.

Last night, Mr. R arrived and was obviously inebriated and/or under the influence of a mood-altering substance. (My guess is valium as he was irritatingly slow and kept uttering the same statements over and over and over and over again... ad infinitum. He was also dancing out of beat. A much slower beat than the music that was being played.) After a few tiring minutes of trying to 'dig' his trip, we all settle by the bar. While enjoying my third bottle of beer, Mr R then playfully pinches me on the side of my waist and I automatically recoil from it. It is the spot where I am very ticklish. I tell him straight that I don't like being touched there, more so being pinched there and told him not to do it again. At this point I had gotten tired and irritable from his pesky manners and empty utterances. Some ten minutes pass and Mr. R pinches me there again. In one deft motion, I raise my right hand, swing it with full force, and slap him on his arm. I then said: "YOU DON'T DO THAT TO ME! EVER! Let that be a fair warning. It's the second warning actually." And then I turn to face the bartender.

There is silence. My two other friends must've been shocked at what transpired. It was after all the first time I had shown anger. The bartender was equally surprised. Most times I prefer to keep to myself and with close friends. I was never the type to go and mingle around the bar. I usually pick a stool by the same place in the bar and stick there all night until I go home. I was seething with anger, partly also because I do not like flaring up to begin with. It upsets me to be upset.

Mr. R apologizes and I said: "It's okay, pasensya, just don't do it again". It took quite some time for the black cloud to lift from the bar. I felt bad that I had ruined the evening for my two friends as well. However, I felt I had the right to hit Mr. R because I had told him earlier about my dislike for such behavior. He apologizes repeatedly then retreats to a far corner away from me. Other friends arrive and naturally go towards where we were at the bar. The night goes on. Drinks are ordered. I try to forget what just happened. We all try to forget what just happened. Mr. R exchanges banter with the newcomers, but he had definitely calmed down. It took him all of an hour to realize, I think, that he had crossed the line with me.

Now I don't care if someone drinks a whole truck of beer or whatever alcohol he prefers. It's his liver not mine. I don't particularly care either if someone takes drugs. It's his body and brain he's frying not mine. But what gets me is when that someone starts making a total ass of himself and just gets too pesky! Your happy trip should never be at the expense of the bad trip of others.

Now Dear Mr. R -- I don't care if you are a scion of some sugar baron down south, you don't know how to party. You are a burden with your endless nonsense utterances. Your encroaching into other people's personal spaces is rude. And please do some effort to change your clothes when you party on two consecutive nights. We, your friends in Malate prefer good music, light but engaging banter, and fun repartee. If you take drugs to fit in, please hang out in Embassy at the Fort or those Makati bars notorious for drug users. That is precisely why we prefer to hang out in Malate instead. Good, clean fun that is laced with alcohol.

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