With Murphy out of commission because of a shorted electrical system (shorted by a leak in the fuel tank, which is, all things considered, a bigger problem), I have had to commute home from work most nights.
That in itself is nothing to write about because millions of Filipinos do that every day. Doing it past midnight, though, makes it a more interesting proposition.
Because I have been the only source of income for my family for the past couple of months, there have been times when I had to walk home, stomach grumbling from hunger, myself grumbling at the fact that I am hungry and walking home.
The best route for walking home is down Kamias Road, home of the rudest and worst drivers by day, and home of the homeless at night.
It is a relatively pleasant 45-minute walk that involves making sure not to step on people sleeping on the sidewalks, ignoring cat calls from a. girls working at the bars and KTV joints that line the road and b. touts who shout at you from across the road offering a relaxing massage.
Every now and then, you pass a funeral parlor. That is pretty much what Kamias has to offer, I think: girlie bars, massage parlors, and funeral homes.
When I’m feeling like a high roller, I walk to Cubao instead to catch a jeep down Aurora Avenue to Katipunan. Sometimes, I take a bus to Cubao and feel guilty for being such a spendthrift.
The Cubao route is the easiest way home, but it is also the most harrowing. To get to Aurora, I have to cross a pedestrian overpass that is also where Cubao’s pimps and prostitutes hang out to offer passersby a good time.
Passersby who are not interested get a bad time, which usually involves uninvited touches and, a few times, being chased down the overpass by a zealous lady pimp saying “Pogi, chicks?” over and over again. Sometimes, they will offer their services for free, which is somehow scarier.
It is probably a little like how women who get catcalled by truck drivers and construction workers feel, but slightly different in that I am objectified not for my body (which is an okay body) but for my money.
Of course, one could also say that their existence on that footbridge is the greater objectification and that I am somehow perpetuating by walking there. It’s a bad situation for everyone., basically.