One night, I met with a lesbian girl friend for a really late dinner. We were joined by a straight guy friend.
The evening traffic was horrible. After some indecision on where to eat, we decided to go to a fashionable restaurant owned by another guy friend. Girl friend drove us there. There was quite a crowd inside. I was enjoying my meal while talking with my friends when the restaurant owner called my attention from several tables away.
“How is it outside?” he asked. At first, I didn’t understand what was he about. After asking what he meant, I began answering about how bad the evening traffic was and how we decided to have dinner at his place.
Restaurant owner cut me off, talked to the crowd, and started shaming my girl friend. Apparently, he didn’t know she was gay until she dumped him; he was sharing that to the other diners, and how he felt being taken advantage of. Girl friend indignantly talked back and started arguing with the restaurant owner; straight guy friend who was with us tried reasoning with both of them.
I was only halfway done with my dinner but I curtly told the restaurant owner that we were leaving. I stood up from our table but girl friend stormed out of the place. Me and guy friend, calling her name which she ignored, ran after her to her car which was parked some distance away while it was raining.
Right now is the proper Manila rainy season: torrential rains, sudden floods and horrible traffic. Oh wait. Horrible traffic doesn’t really pick any season; it just happens.
But the flood. Dear god, the flood.
Even places where one might think it’s illogical to find floods are flooded with a few inches of water. Sometimes I suspect this city’s building philosophy is to make every exposed surface one could walk on shaped slightly like a basin.
People complain about the flooding during rainy season, forget about it during the dry months, then get surprised about flooding the following rainy season as if the same thing has not happened the year before. Sometimes I suspect Filipinos have a collective memory comparable to that of a goldfish.
Even before I reached the office, my shoes and socks were thoroughly soaked. Good thing I keep a pair of flip-flops at work which I could wear instead of walking around barefoot. I passed by a drug store and bought a bottle of ethyl alcohol to disinfect my feet.
There wasn’t a dipper in the office toilets so I had to use an empty mineral water bottle to collect water so I could wash my feet. I then rinsed my socks and Bern’s sneaker so they won’t end up smelly because of the floodwater.
The thing about rainy weather that I don’t like, however, isn’t the hassle of cleaning after flood-soaked shoes. It’s the fact that I can’t enjoy it while wrapped in blankets at home, sipping hot soup.
I did buy instant noodles from the drug store. Maybe later during my break, I’ll sit next to the pantry’s windows, looking at the rain-drenched street while sipping bulalo-flavored instant noodles.