One night as I was walking past a gas station in Calauan, Laguna, to catch a jeepney ride to San Pablo, I caught sight of a familiar face: the jeepney dispatcher (barker), refilling oil on his new motorbike. I immediately thought, “Wow, asensado na si Kuya.”
I was about to dismiss him from my thoughts when he reappeared on the corner where people usually waited for a ride. His motor blaring, he sped up toward a standing tricycle driver near me; it was as if he was about to run the poor guy over.
When he was near, he quickly swerved the motor, then laughed at the unflinching man who only smiled back at him. By the way it all looked, I could tell they were good friends and it was only for a laugh.
The dispatcher/rider stayed on for a minute or two, as if waiting for someone. Engine turned off, one leg resting on his two-wheeled machine, and one foot on the ground, he was looking around, craning his neck and gauging the number of people who were witnessing the silent conquest of his life.
In the old area where he used to holler at commuters for a living, there he was now on his own ride—on his high and mighty motorbike. I was playing the image of a haughty lord on his stallion, jeering at the envious and admiring commoners who once mocked him and saying to them, “This time, laugh’s on you, people! Laugh’s on you!”
It was strange that, after many years, we were still sharing the same corner of the street, only this time he was no longer calling passengers for a ride; he had his own ride. Meanwhile, I was there, same as usual, still a passenger waiting for mine.
Kevin A. Amante, 24, is taking up Master of Arts in Communication Arts at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños.
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