I’ve lived in Nakpil all my five years as a medical student. Every weekend night the street was always peppered with partying people, and in between studying for exams (ie, coloring the transcriptions to total wetness) I would walk out of my room in my pambahay and tsinelas, traverse the noisy street of Nakpil, and buy fishballs. Everyone always looked boozed up, pumped, and ready to dance at the slightest provocation. When people watching you never dare make eye contact—the slightest eye contact with any girl, boy, or tranny will elicit an invitation. Not an invitation to play Scrabble, you prude, but an invitation to sex. Maybe I just imagined it, always being coked-up and all, but they all had that salacious-pervy-lecherous look combo. OK so maybe I imagined it. But when you get a wink or a tongue sticking out it is definitely an invitation to something the Canossian sisters would vehemently disapprove of. And you would never dare walk alone licking a popsicle you just bought from Mini-Stop—you can only imagine the unsolicited attention the seemingly innocuous act drew. What, it’s now some secret code to fuck?
In my five years surrounded by expensive restaurants and bars I only got to go to one of them—during the last day of internship. It was with Ditz the Titz, Netty Jao, Eych, and other blockmates in The Blue Room, where we toasted to having survived our last rotation, Internal Medicine. I distinctly remember vowing then: I would never, ever step foot in that department again, ever! And where am I now?! I am hanging my head in surrender, you can laugh now. I recently walked by Nakpil, and saw that The Blue Room is the only bar I knew still existing.
My apartment was the one beside Jazz Rhythms and in front of Common Ground, both of which later morphed into some other new bar, which then morphed many, many times. At one point Jazz Rhythms became a bar that had Marvel action figures behind the glass door, and a few months later it morphed into a bar that had atop the glass door the statue of a huge silver guy with batwings, tight briefs, and a huge hard-on. In the Orosa-Nakpil corner was the restaurant Bargo, which later became Gerry’s Grill, which is now an empty building. Across it was a bar called Red Banana, which you could not mistake for anything else because it had in front of it a huge neon-lit red banana. Whenever I would hurriedly walk out of the house at 7:15 am, afraid my name would get crossed out in the attendance sheet (unless Smoketh intervened with her, er, attendance-proxying skills), I would cross paths with an old guy who would always greet me and seek consult for something, like his chronic cough or his sebaceous cyst. And at night when I get terribly hungry I would run out at 11 pm and buy the local version of Cheetos in the Mini-Stop by the corner. This was after my neighbors Abe and company decided to move to a more posh apartment, rendering my bat signal calls for free rice useless. In my five-year stay in the apartment Leif, Coe, and I only got to clean the house once. It was when Jazz decided that she would celebrate her birthday there. Jazz and Tayns were fixtures in the apartment.
Very few of these things were actually meaningful or dear to me, but that is the power of nostalgia and current unhappiness—you remember quaint things and old scenarios, some of which didn’t even mean much at all, and you feel like you were much, much happier then even if you weren’t. Current unhappiness, of course, being that I feel totally ennuic and not in the proper state of mind to chart patients tomorrow. Damn it.