I was on my way to Espana Boulevard hurrying to catch an FX or jeepney going to Cubao when I inadvertently blocked the way of a red Toyota Innova. I passed the van without realizing that I almost caused an accident when I shortly heard a malicious horn from the car. The owner then opened the window of her car and shouted a crisp:
Gago ka! Putang ina mo!
(The first statement is untranslatable to English; the second one can be literally translated as “Your mother is a whore.”)
She was a middle-aged, middle-class, professional-looking woman. She looked like somebody I did not expect to say those words.(She was almost the age of my mother whom I cannot imagine to be capable of uttering such statements).
Money may allow some of us to have the opportunity to ride an expensive car, buy signature clothes, or live in an opulent house but unfortunately it will never buy proper breeding, taste, and manners.
It was the first time I heard these cuss statements meant for me said in a very dead-serious tone. It utterly disturbed me; not that I took her statements personally, but it was more of an unpleasant and disappointing amazement.
I did not know how to respond. I was about to give her a dirty finger or an expletive as malicious if not more than what she hurled at me as my reply; however, just in time I opted to remain civil and instead coyly gave her a smile. I knew that the encounter I had with her would ruin the rest of the day, and indeed my day was consumed with thoughts of the woman’s face, the intensity of her words, the flaky make-up she covered her face with.
Thoughts of her kept haunting me. Thoughts of her words caused me to cringe and squinch. I’ll never get used hearing curses and swears. Staying in a big, alienating, tough city like Manila will never, ever, be an excuse to be rude and to forget about proper demeanor.