MOST Filipino males of my age and temperament consider ogling women as risky as picking your nose in public: the closer you are to your target, the more likely you are to be caught—redhanded, as the case may be.
Nevertheless, checking women out can be—for the lack of a better word—fun.
If undertaken occasionally, without intending to offend sensibilities, solicit unwarranted advances, nor encourage a battery of feminist lawyers urging the judge to make a eunuch out of you, admiring uniquely feminine attributes is a breathtaking experience. Time can literally fly right by if you get the chance to closely examine the color of their eyes, the shade of their hair, the shape of their lips, the cadence of their gait.
This, meanwhile, explains why babe-watching remains popular among men, especially among those who are about to board the train along EDSA, perhaps Asia’s most inefficient.
Besides texting, manipulating their gadgets (digital and otherwise), and fingering their nasal passages (left and right), these unfortunate males have no other choice but to while their time away with any activity available. After all, that squalid, suffocating heap of metal Filipinos call the MRT has been unusually slow for the past week.
Just last Monday, while en route to Ayala from Quezon Avenue, I had to let more than five trains pass me by. Not only were the cars packed, big crowds—mostly composed of sweaty and angry men in a hurry—had already massed up on the platform. (This was repeated later in the week more than once.)
Since I had no intentions of rushing into the throng willy-nilly—the crowd’s collective smell was enough to disabuse me of such an undertaking—I sat on the nearest available bench, fired up the iPod Nano, and listened to Pat Metheny’s It’s Just Talk.
Five Metheny compositions and fifty pretty women later, my patience would be rewarded.
Not only would I be able to occupy a relatively spacious spot on the train—which only meant that the nearest damp armpit (excluding mine) was a meter away from my nose—I also benefited from the car’s powerful airconditioning.
However, these creature comforts—such as they were—would not be thoroughly enjoyed.
As my smelly companions and I approached Guadalupe, just two stations away from where I was supposed to disembark, the train slowly ground into a halt. For more than 20 minutes, the train just stood there, unmoving, impassive, an unlikely receptacle for raindrops, dust, and birdshit.
Meanwhile, for the lack of better things to do, the driver babbled incomprehensively into the public address system, encouraging every passenger to wish they were deaf.
Amid this unjustifiable delay, I was able to send a text message to my editor in chief. Besides informing her that I was going to be delayed for an event which we would both attend, I also gave her an update on my Manic Monday.
To make a long story short, we both arrived half an hour late for a press briefing in a Makati hotel. But then again, she had more than one excuse: not only was she the boss, she also came from the office where she worked on some stories.
As for myself, I only had three words to say: stupid fucking train.
MRT image from the guardian.co.uk