1/10/2008
Park bench theories

If there's one radio listening habit that actually changed as I pursued my college studies, aside from almost entirely shunning pop music - ironically - it's Chris Tsuper and Nicole Hyala. Before I'd go through Mo Twister's show and chuckle once or twice, with the preconception that anything that the station he's in exudes the culture of cool. Now I spend my mornings listening to either The Big Breakfast Show on Jam or Trish on NU, but once it's half past seven, off I go to the radio station which most of the upper classes wouldn't ever want to listen to, or God forbid, discuss.

But that's why I'm a semi-regular listener. Never mind the two encounters I've had with the pair - I find the program interesting, simply put. It also helps that, as communication arts students, we've discussed their programming and tried to decipher their appeal, and now I've gone beyond understanding that. If you find me in school at this time, with earphones on, and very quiet - unless I'm laughing - then blame these two.

I was walking across Gokongwei when the show finally began. "Yup yup yup!" Chris - otherwise Adrian Policena, a name we'd know, especially considering they were on one Media Speakers Series talk - would begin the show, and you'd see a tight-lipped me finding a seat. I found myself on one bench at SJ Walk, on an fairly empty campus, and it's just the three of us, and the anecdotes they'll share with the world.

But that's beyond the point.

They're almost halfway through the show, talking about another one of the many "escabeche" problems - Tambalan-speak for concubinage - when I heard footsteps, quick footsteps, going straight at me. To my right, it's a very excited Piyar. We have finally met.

We both realized that, during the first day of classes, we wouldn't be classmates anywhere. Not that we really planned to - I enroll with only myself in mind, and somehow it worked out fine in the end - but during the last days of the term break, we were talking about meeting up with our newly-forged nicknames on our sleeves and discussing our randomness. By yesterday, to put it harshly, she was all but a forgotten detail. But I broke into a smile when I realized that she literally ran towards me - whatever happened next has escaped me, to be honest. But I knew I had to take off my earphones.

There she was, bubbliness and all, surprisingly (rather than obviously) happy, maybe relieved, to see me after weeks of puto bumbong conversations. I'd admit I got pretty hyperactive too, which has become a loose term for anything affectionate as time passed. She didn't call me "labo" but I did call her "sabaw" - the one thing that I find special between us lately - and that was it. The last thing I know, she'd tell me that she has classes in ten minutes, not in Miguel, but elsewhere. In other words, she went against her way for roughly three minutes of us seated on a bench, being random telekinetically.

Back to the show. If it's a defining quality of theirs, it's the actual ability to make us laugh by means of their stories alone. That, of course, and their adlibs. Asked about their mission, they answered simply: to make people laugh. No wonder I get myself a parallel universe for roughly an hour a weekday, and I was slowly getting there, even if sooner or later I'd forget the stories they're telling me.

Jackie was next to pass by. They also had a class in fifteen minutes - at least it's in Miguel - and greeted me a happy birthday, one of the few belated greetings I got today. And, if I'm allowed to be honest, I was half-surprised by this - for some reason, a mix of my innate extra-competitiveness and insecurity has led to a change of image on Jackie herself. It's something I don't usually understand, but merely find myself in, and if it meant feeling uncomfortable when she was following up my progress during our own talk last term, then I guess it speaks a lot.

It was a fleeting thing, however, just as quick as she walked by. Merely armed with a thumb on the volume down button, I managed to say a "thank you" before I went back to my parallel universe. Yet I manage to set myself to anticipating anybody else that could possibly pass by for the next few minutes or so. The next one to pass by was - of course, you know who, by now.

I'm being more honest here - I thought that, after the end of last term, I'd finally manage to avoid Misha's ubiquity. For more than a year or so, I somehow acquired the ability to train my ears - just my ears - to the direction where her voice is. But for the past three days, I've seen her where I least expected her to be: everywhere - adjusting one day, in post-production class the next, and today, giving me her usual "good morning" greetings. It was that quick, but fairly inescapable.

My ears have gotten used to different stories from the duo I am, thankfully, still hearing when all these happened. It's either a broken heart, or a confused heart, or some petty complaint about work. I have personally also gotten used to our incessant romantic tendencies, on how frequent our heart and minds battle, from what to believe to what to see. Insert ubiquity - I'll never go there. I only managed to wave back, about a foot's difference.

Mirielle was the last to pass by. For some reason we still call each other "coffee beans" - in no way a reference to anything physical. We've used that nickname since the first year, when a conversation about how coffee is harvested, ground, and brought to our cupboards. Even Abby has used that nickname, too, and that has basically become a pet name between me and my female OSDM friends (and one thing Jan hasn't really taken on, despite being on the pioneering conversation). "So, happy new year," she began. "Happy new term." Nothing else.

I don't remember anything, either. At this moment I've gotten half-swoony over everything else that happened before, and of course, I was slowly losing grasp of the radio show. It's almost eight in the morning, and their segment's almost over, and we've been dallying on a different kind of randomness complete with hand gestures. She also had a class, and left quickly.

"...mula sa bagong 90.7 Love Radio," Nicole - Emmy Lou Gaite to others - said. It's the end of the show, and with it, another batch of pre-determined liners that has firmly established the identity, and the message, of the show.

"Kung lunod ka na sa problema, daanin mo lang sa tawa. Pero kung lunod ka na sa utang, bayaran mo na, para hindi ka tamaan ng lintik na karma - yuuuun!"

I might have too many problems to share with these two - arguably more popular than Mo Twister himself - but never mind. I forget about it in my parallel universe, chuckling at bad drivers and undecided lovers, although today I was pretty much reflecting on four people showing up, for some extraordinary reason. And then I remembered that the Cybernook opens at eight in the morning, and it's ten minutes past it already. At least I got a seat and wasted my time away there.

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