Became my dad’s bantay in Medical City, and in true bantay fashion I decided to not take a bath, brush my teeth, wash my face, or sleep well. Being comfortable and well-kempt is just not being true to the spirit of being a bantay. Walking around I noted that the walls were shiny. The floors were clean. The light was soft, soft light, to make the ugly ones look pretty, soft light, to prevent shadow casting that will engulf whoever the shadow reaches into a blackhole. The restrooms smelled nice, there was liquid soap in each dispenser, and the bowls actually had a functioning flush. All the doctors wore pristine long-sleeved blazers over well-pressed, expensive looking clothes, and they all seemed to smell nice. The staff was nice. The nurses all wore thick make up. Everyone said ma’am, sir, thank you, and welcome. There was hardly any queue–because there were tons of cashiers. There were no strange hand-written reminders posted everywhere (ie, “Bawal Magtapon ng Ihi Dito” on a washing sink, or “Dun Po Magtanong (arrow)”). Everything was so bourgeois-y it begged me to approach whoever was on sight and ask, “Nasan po ang kubeta?!?!”
I, on the other hand, went on ER duty the other day in my oldest UP Diliman T-shirt and jeans. Before the twenty-four hours were up, I smelled like crap tossed in a vinegar bath in a gasoline station toilet bowl. And at night some of us even wear–this is so obscene– tsinelas! Hear that, admin? Collar-less t-shirt, jeans, and tsinelas! Send us that memo!