Choki-Choki, Smoketh, Joshua

Choki-Choki and Smoketh tried to have a good lunch in Tagaytay. They tried. But as they have so whined in every stop they’ve made: “Andaming tao!” Our standard for “madami” has drastically changed. Finally they found a bulalo place where the tables were more than one vigorous spit away from each other. After having driven for over two hours they were quite famished, so they did not appreciate that the waiter brought the bowl of bulalo to the group in the next table. Choki-Choki would have none of this.

“Nauna kami!” she sternly told the waiter, which made the waiter make a quick U-turn to give them their rightful bowl of bulalo instead. While aggressively sucking on the bone marrow Choki-Choki and Smoketh saw a crowd gathering around that table. They watched in horror as the guy dropped to his knees and made a marriage proposal.

“A very public marriage proposal does not justify getting a bowl of bulalo first!” I later exclaimed in support. “Unless the ring is in the bowl.”

Well I should speak. Had I been in that position, being a total wuss, I would have just kept quiet and ruminated on the injustices of life until we got our very own bowl of bulalo. In a very crowded restaurant in a Chicago airport five years ago I saw a strand of hair on my food. The process of complaining and getting a new dish would take long, so I decided I would remove the hair and eat the damn thing. This infuriated my friend Gay, who grabbed my dish and walked all the way to the kitchen to have it replaced. I need a personalized human rights advocate.

Back in high school I wanted to be like some of my friends who may be considered as the predecessors of the current “Karen” archetype. A corner Dunkin’ Donuts was the only existing hangout place at that time, and it was always full of people because there was airconditioning. The crew started getting annoyed that we were hanging out in the very cramped place long after we have consumed our token donuts. The cashier started making faces. Mina later claimed that the cashier called her ugly. An altercation ensued.

Joshua, who was our CAT Battalion Commander at the time, felt that it was incumbent upon him to fight for our rights. He placed himself between the cashier and Mina, who were, at that point, screaming invectives at each other. Joshua spread out his arms, and with authority said, “WE CAME HERE AS YOUR CUSTOMERS!” As our revered Batt Comm we expected everyone to just shut up and ask for forgiveness.

“Pa-english english ka pa dyan!” Cashier screamed. A second round of screaming quickly followed.

To Joshua’s credit, he was able to deliver that iconic line with gusto, confidence, and enough dramatic flair. He has perfected the art of being articulate in the most harrowing circumstances after a few mishaps during CAT. While baking under the afternoon sun during one such CAT exercises, Joshua ordered all of us lowly privates to drop our tickler notebooks. He screamed, “Drop.. your… TICKLES!” Everyone burst out laughing.

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