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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Neighbors I

I have three immediate neighbors on the northern, eastern and the western fronts. I share the same street with the the eastern and western neighbors. The northern neighbors rent a house and lot foreclosed by a bank and in turn sublease a portion of the lot to their relatives who built a small makeshift house for six right next to the hollow block fence separating my property from the northern front.

I live a hermit's life in my "future private (read: exclusive) home for the aged (me in a few years' time!)" , meaning, I normally don't make a lot of noise as I do whatever I have to do everyday. As just like the proverbial owl I get to observe a lot of things about these neighbors.

At first, I have to contend with the western wife's habit of feeding her husband and children with a hefty serving of nagging for breakfast - wherewereyoulastnight?didyouvisitthemaidifired?whattimedidyougethome?and didn'titellyouidon'tlikeyourboyfriendcomingheretovisit?whydon'tyoutellyourboys
tohelparoundthehouse?doihavetodoeverythingaroundhere?idon'thavetwobodiesyouknow!

Then when the northern neighbors' relatives moved in, the naggings get served for dinner -
didn'titellyoutocomehomeearlytocookrice?whatdoyoudoinschoolanywayafterdismissal?
isthisallyourtake-home-pay?wheredidtherestofitgo?afterwedeductthetithehowmuchisleftofit?
whatcanwebuywiththatnowadays?stopstaringatusandcookriceNOW!
Punctuated by the howls and cries of their adult mentally-challenged daughter who sounds like a munchkin (not the Dunkin Donuts kind, but the Wizard of Oz type.)

And seven years ago, the eastern neighbors occupied the house built for them by the young wife's mother who won the lot from mahjong. Giving birth successively to four baby girls, the eastern wife finally produced an heir on the fifth year and promptly had her fallopian tubes tied. After that, her inner nosy bitch came to the fore! Her mouth rapid-fired curses and nagging all day!

Kid1,getholdofyoursisters!wherearethey?Tang-ina!where'sthemaiditoldtobuylaundrysoap
fromthestore?Kid3,stoppingpesteringthedog!doyouwanttogetbitten?Kid2,getyourbabybrother's
feedingbottlefrom thebedroom!Pestengyawa!Mgapestengbata!didn'titellyoualltosleepafter
lunch?wholeftthesetoysonthefloor!Shit!

The western hubby is small bald man who is always the reason why his wife fires the maid. She claims he can't keep his hands off the household help. He says the only recipients of his caresses are his fighting cocks.

The northern hubby works for a construction firm as all-around worker. He's the one always puttering around the house; hammering a nail here and there. The wife's 80-year-old father stays with them. I think he has hyperacidity/ulcer. Each morning, the northern makeshift house comes alive with his retching.

The eastern hubby comes and goes on his motorcycle at different hours of the day and usually gets his fair share of the wife's curses and nagging. He and only son are the silent minority of the house.

Somehow I feel I have to shield myself from the noises the wives from all three fronts make everyday. And so in the morning when the western wife serves breakfast and sermon ala carte, I turn up the volume and play Freddie Aguilar's Estudyante Blues:

Ako ang nakikita, ako ang nasisisi Ako ang laging may kasalanan Paggising sa umaga, sermon ang almusal Bago pumasok sa eskwela Kapag nangangatwiran, ako’y pagagalitan Di ko alam ang gagawin Ako’y sunud-sunuran, ayaw man lang pakinggan Nasasaktan ang damdamin Ako’y walang kalayaan Sunod sa utos lamang Paggaling sa eskwela, diretso na ng bahay Wala naman akong aabutan Wala doon si nany, wala doon si tatay Katulong ang naghihintay Pagtawag ng barkada, sa kanila’y sumama Lagot na naman paglarga Kapag nangangatwiran, ako’y pagagalitan Di ko alam ...

At dinner time, when the northern makeshift house starts rocking with the wife's nagging and the mentally-challenged daughter's howls, I play Maria Callas and Dame Kiri te Kanawa's opera arias.

And all throughout the day especially when I'm at home on weekends, as the eastern wife's mouth starts spouting curses, I play nursery rhymes and Disney film soundtracks.

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