Maybe you got time sometime to spare from your daily labor?
You do. Then cool your heels, be you in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) or Region 1, lounge at little corners of public places and ogle for a while at the tide of human beings passing.
Find a place to stand or sit, loiter along the sidewalk or simply rest your back on a building wall while in the midst of this busy and passing human traffic.
That’s what Ah Kong, a strange specimen of the human race and worst student in the fine art of observing humans, did, last Sunday very early morning, just as Mr. Sun, the punctual servant of all work had just risen.
Having done an early morning run, Ah bought a cup of coffee from a nearby eatery that had earlier opened, went straight at Malcolm Square, Baguio City, slurped his coffee to the amusement of some passers-by and consternation of others who voiced, “walang modo,” while Ah unobtrusively eyed human traffic.
Now, Mr. Joseph Manzano, general manager of Herald Express, only knows too well that every Sunday, Ah can be spotted running crazily round and round at Burnham Park Lake with no apparent, clear and justified reason, forcing Manzano to wonder if Ah is normal like any in a passing crowd.
In the hurry of the passing crowd along sidewalks, you’ll be quite surprised to discover that the converging and dispersing humanity is none other than you – yourself.
In the hurry of the passing show, you see a parade of unknown faces; as always is the case, we regard those not known to us with detached look.
Detachedly, too, you wonder if persons in the passing human tide are sparked by a motivation of going somewhere to do something, talk with someone, or simply just loiter around.
A lot of persons you see walking the streets of CAR and Region 1, for that matter, would gain anyone’s admiration by the worth they have displayed in their winding paths through life.
Or, you might spot someone you know who some time ago went under suffering – suffering borne meekly and well – and more, for the sake of others.
For that person you spotted would just as well represent many others with stories of human woes and wounds, of shame and of honor; these beings, whom in passing the streets, just want to be anonymous.
Anonymous they would be; you can’t help wondering how many among them repose the affections of magnanimous hearts that they would not even seek earthly compensation for helping others.
Very probable, too, that each of these persons walking on the sidewalks retains in his/her bosom cherished recollection of early childhood which can never be forgotten, or recollections far detached from the heart, to be just as well forgotten.
Or these passing persons may cherish in their bosoms memories of loved ones or friends that are never to be given up by the heart.
For every one of these individuals have earnest attachments in life that only the recesses of feeling can absorb.
Oy! As Ah sat looking at the moving throng, it suddenly came to him that maybe all these individuals, in all probability, nurse in the deep recesses of their “dibdib,” a chapter of romance developed in the heyday of youth but now gone like the will-o-the-wisp and only remembrance to sustain it.
Or, there are those in the crowd, beneath the gloss of this world, suffering from untruth that renders life below ordinary standards.
Thinking about romance, truth, untruth or honesty in life among the crowd, Ah was forced to recall somebody who said, “Not every day is a good day; live anyway. Not all you love will love you back; love anyway. Not everyone will tell you the truth; be honest anyway. Not all deals are fair; play fair anyway.”
For, though all the passers-by may seem hunting for worldly objects, the greater majority of such individuals can, at the proper time, cast aside all earthly thoughts, and turn to the idea that whatever one does to the least of a fellowman, you do just as well to mankind’s Maker.
Ah then tried to fix his gaze on the faces of persons in the walking crowd. Two things struck Ah’s attention: one, of persons still using T-shirts given by candidates during the past election, and, two, the noses of persons of the passing crowd.
We dwell first on the T-shirts. For example, he saw many in the crowd still sporting T-shirt emblazoned with the word Poe.
It forced Ah to fantasize that now Poe being voted as senator, could it be possible for the good senator to introduce a bill in the Senate to change some things like Pambansang isda, will be Sug-Poe? Pambansang laro will be – Trum-Poe? Pambansang gulay will be O-poe? Pambansang ibon will be Poe-go? Pambansang prutas will be Poe-melo? Pambansang bayani will be La-poe-la-Poe? Pambansang hayup will be Poe-sa? Pambansang pagkain will be Poe-to? Pambansang kulay will be Poe-la Pambansang sugal will be Poe-ker? And Pambansang awit will be Poe-song bato? Just fantasizing.
Now, the second, on noses. Now, readers, bear in your thought that the importance of the human nose is the fact that if a woman pulls the nose of another woman, it will automatically degenerate into the pulling of hairs, to include the scratching out of the eyes and faces in a fair fight.
Or maybe you wanted to pull somebody’s nose because you’re jealous that someone has a Roman nose. Now, a Roman nose, like you all know, has a ridge. In short, a Roman nose is a long nose.
Now, the long, sharp pointed nose is asserted by many as always thrusting into every-body’s business and speculating in the affairs of others, “kung baga isinasawsaw daw ang ilong sa hindi nya naman dapat pakialaman.”
Ah was forced to distinguish persons in the crowd with what he called the “long nose, pointed nose, disappointed nose and flat nose.”
Looking at the noses of the walking public, Ah murmured to himself, saying, “Naimbag pay diay tool box ti mekaniko ta adda karga na a pliers nga maawagan a long nose. Kumpara daytoy madama nga agbasbasa ittatta ti Daily Laborer Column nga ti nose na ket disappointed nose – nga kapadpada met diay disappointed nose ni Ah Kong.”
As the study of noses is a branch of science which is somewhat new, Ah couldn’t present to the readers for now a complete picture of all noses in CAR and Region 1, but this subject should be included in high school and in college.
Returning his concentration on the passing throng, Ah amused himself by believing that maybe so Bong Cayabyab, assigned at the Public Information Office (PIO) of Baguio City Hall, if ever Bong would pause to see a passing multitude, may perhaps explain that if the barrier were removed from these unknown persons, it’s probable we could all be friends and interchange sympathies with each other.
Or, Dexter See, the head of PIO, City Hall may also offer that if we take a passing crowd seriously, we will find out that there are worthy and well-directed feelings in such a crowd, which parallels our own bosoms.
Because even beneath the harried faces of many in the passing crowd, there are also aspirations or dreams unfulfilled that hard fate had denied them, and the very wish to obtain it still burns in their bosoms although old age had finally caught up with them.
Thinking that, Ah rose from his seat at Malcolm Square, joined the flow of the passing crowd and reason to himself one mustn’t look with indifference upon any masses of moving men and women with whom it may be our lot to mingle with.