There is this private road which had become a common road to motorists, in search for easy routes, and to avoid traffic. I usually traverse this road to get to work. The area has a part where factories were built side by side. In between are small areas for residence. This is probably where most of the workers in these factories reside or lodge. There is also a part that is mostly
and unlawfully residential.
Most of the journeys along the road are spent in a tricycle or in a car and from it you can see people trekking the road to their respective work, forklift trucks hauling up raw materials for these factories, ten-wheeler (most of them) trucks parked alongside the road, and carts pushed by individuals selling fruits and vegetables, and the like. Along the residential area, children (as young as one year old) and adults swarm the streets. One can observe that they are not afraid of the vehicles. It is the other way around.
What is also observable in this part of the road is the number of mentally ill individuals hovering. One of them, at one time, raced with a car while chattering indistinct sounds. You can see him hopping, running, or walking without direction, clad in oversized shorts or pants fastened with a string, or pulled up with one of his hands. There is also this girl, about 18-20 years old, who had a bloated belly when I first saw her (at present the bloat’s gone), walking along the road, with no footwear. You can see her holding a piece of bread, or playing with the kids. An adult, on the other hand, can be seen talking to herself, or silently watching people pass by. She has this big-beaded rosary on her neck. At first glance, you would not know that she is mentally ill.
There was this scrawny man in this part of the road that caught my attention one morning. His wheelchair is parked alongside the road and waves to passers-by every now and then, saying “Good morning, ma’am (sir)! He does this with a salute and a (
innocent) grin. It was this last Mother’s Day when I saw him again. To my surprise, he greeted me, “Happy mother’s day, ‘te!” Smiling, I said thank you. I thought that was sweet. For some stranger (who obviously looks older than me) to greet , though he seems to be a happy, mentally ill man, that was really surprising and touching. I know that being emotional is uncalled-for but I was really moved. Some people I know did not even care greeting me on that special day.
This morning, I saw him parked again on the usual location. I nearly burst laughing when he said, “‘Te, baka naman me barya ka d’yan (‘Te, you must have some coins).” So I gave him a coin and he willingly said thank you with that small amount I gave him. But what boggles me is why he was left alone in that part of the road unattended. Since the time I first saw him, I had never seen anyone with him. Where are the relatives? Where is everybody who should have been taking care of him? He could be accidentally sideswiped by a car. He could even be a prey to raucous individuals.
My thoughts will be interrupted afterwards by the sour-and-pungent-smelling new street food that is becoming a trend nowadays on the roads and streets. The squid rings (the main ingredients) are dipped into a basin of flour before dip-fried. Customers pick one by one the squid rings with a (wooden) stick then dip them into a concoction of vinegar, soy sauce, diced onions, garlic and siling labuyo. The aroma is quite annoying. I cannot stand it even with the sight of those seemingly satisfied customers.
The road ends where the main road lies, which is currently under construction, and which is causing very, very heavy traffic (Thanks to them, ‘good’ and ‘venerable’ government officials for the timing!). This is the portion of my everyday affair on my way to work that I hate most. Can you imagine how I cross the main road and jump into the excavated portion and then jump out again to finally get over the other end of the road? And I am dressed in uniform. 😦 Pretty sight, eh?
Nexus: Sa Araw-araw Bago Pumasok