Monday, September 26, 2016

Keying In

   This afternoon, I came out of a building and tried to key into my car.  The key didn’t work so I flipped the key, thinking I put it in wrong.  It still didn’t work.  I started to get worried.  I took a hard look at the car.  The tires didn’t have hubcaps.  The door looked too big.  I realized it was khaki colored.  My car, Trixie, is dark gray.  I walked away to find Trixie.  

   A police car was parked right behind the car with two policemen observing what I was going to do next.  Apparently, the car I tried my keys in had an alarm that silently alerted authorities.  I thought the presence of the police had nothing to do with me.  I went into my car and drove on.  At the first red light I saw the police car following me.  That’s when I realized I was a suspect.  When I turned left, the police car went on its way.

   This is what happened a year ago.  I found my dark gray Toyota Matrix parked right in front of our gate.  I started washing it.  I tried my key on the passenger side door but it didn’t work.  I found some dents at the back.  Dents have been known to mess up door locks.  When I got to the front of the car I noticed more scratches.  Then I saw the plate has been changed!  

   “Someone has vandalized my car and stole my plate.  I am getting ready to call the police.”  I told my daughter after I finished washing.  My daughter ran out to check it out.

   “Mom, this is not your car!  That one is!” She said, as she pointed to another gray Toyota Matrix with my plate on it, parked just two cars away.

   All those mistakes would not have happened if I had a red car like Slick.

See also:
Parting with a Saturn Named Slick 

PS Dec. 29, 2016:  
   Oooops, I did it again!  I keyed into my car and it's not mine.  As before, I flipped my key and it didn't work.  I was going to keep trying till I heard my friend yell "That's not your car!"  I need to stop doing this or I might one day actually drive off in someone else's vehicle and land in jail.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Tricycle Driver

   I was raised by old school women, my mother and grandmother, who knew how to handle money.  They were thrifty to a fault.  Between their generation and mine, I developed a unique way of managing finances.

Game and Watch
   In the 80’s, when medical attention was required, I took my children to Medical Center Manila (MCM).  When I needed medical attention, I drove to Philippine General Hospital (PGH), left my kids in the car playing with their Game and Watch while I suffered the long line for free diagnosis.  Afterwards, we spent the amount I would have spent on a private hospital in Pizza Hut.

   In the 90’s my sons had families of their own.  I took my daughter on package tours paid by credit card.  I called it “5 day millionaire-2 years poor”.  I scrimped to pay the card and make ends meet for 2 years.  Then, we’re ready to go touring again.  We went to Hong Kong, then Bangkok, Thailand, then Cebu on board Superferry.
Hong Kong

   At that time, my daughter lived in a Ladies Dorm inside University of the Philippines, Los Baños campus.  I was living in another Ladies Dorm in Makati City where I worked.  There was a tricycle lined up at the corner two blocks from the main street where I take a jeep to my office.  I skipped the tricycle ride to save money since it was only a two block walk.

   On a nice day, nobody noticed my choosing to walk.  However, one rainy night, I walked in the rain past the tricycle lined up as usual.  It was a clear day till it started to rain so I didn’t have an umbrella.

Tricycle line
   The last tricycle driver on the line saw me walking in the rain.  He broke line to chase me.  Then he slowed when he caught up with me.

   “Mother, I’ll take you where you’re going.  You don’t have to pay,” the driver said to me.  (Mother is sometimes used to address an elderly woman of no relation.)

   “Thank you, you’re very kind but I’m almost home.  I’m fine,” I replied.

   The tricycle fare was loose change but my twisted penny-pinching made me choose to walk in the rain after working all day.  I told myself I can dry up when I get in my room.

   To this day, I remember that split second exchange and still appreciate the consideration that tricycle driver showed me.  He was working in the rain for nickel and dime, yet he offered me a free ride out of the goodness of his heart. 

See also: 
The Standbys of Makati 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Wisdom of Birds

   The Bible says “Observe intently the birds of heaven; they do not sow seed or reap or gather into storehouses, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they are?” (Matthew 6:26)  We have all heard this before.  However, a deeper analysis shows that heavenly Father Jehovah, provides the birds more than food.

   The Watchtower magazine, dated July 2016, says “Jesus did not mention providing shelter for the birds of heaven, Jehovah has provided them with the instincts, skills, and materials needed to make nests for themselves.”  Indeed, the birds have been given the wisdom to find safe location and materials to build their nests.  Here’s one example of the resourcefulness of birds:

   At the Daly City BART station, there is a flock of birds that made the place their own.  Bird deterrent spikes were installed in specific spots to prevent them from perching and pooping on train commuters and information posters.  The birds, in the wisdom given them, built their nest  in the center of the spikes.  They made use of the deterrent spikes as protection for their nest.  This man made spikes’ function has been expanded to suit the God made birds’ purpose.  

If the birds can speak, they’re probably saying to man:

“Sweet justice!”
“Outwitted by a little bird brain, hah!”
“Hey, did you guys really went to college to invent these spikes?  It took me a minute to find use for it!”
“Actually, I wanted a picket fence for my nest but these spikes will do.”

   Birds don’t read the Bible but I bet they’re thinking, “Jehovah provides!  We got the safest nest in Daly City!”

See also:

Saturday, September 3, 2016

My Mother's Generosity

Mely, my mom
   Mely, my mother was a woman of few words.  She was not like other women in our Pasay City neighborhood.  She hardly went out except to church or to the market.  She didn’t listen to or forward gossip.  She was not judgmental but was always conscious of what others might say.

   Once a month she took me to visit her in-laws, my father’s family in their home in Makati City.  My mom whispered the same instructions to me each time.  I was in grade school and she wanted to be sure I remember and practice it.  Here’s what she said to me:

   “When you get married, you have to support your husband’s parents financially.  After all, you won’t have that husband if they didn’t give life to him.  Whether they ask of it or not, give them a monthly share from your budget.”

   During Christmas season, before the 13th Month Pay became a law, my mother had an envelope with gift cash ready for each, to the mailman, the electric meter reader and bill collector, the water meter reader and bill collector, the beautician who does her hair, two housekeepers/nanny, and the dressmaker, (this was before the malls were built.)  For the men on that list, I was assigned to hand the envelope, for modesty’s sake.  If any indigent came knocking at our door, my mother never said “no”.  

   When relatives came for a loan or any financial help, she gave as far as she can afford.  On those times, she said to me, “You have to be generous so that when you have children of your own, people will return the favor to them.”  Or she said, “You have to be supportive to your brothers’ wives, so they will make your brothers happy, the same applies to your children’s spouses.”

   My mother treated the housekeepers as family.  She refused to make them wear uniforms because she thought it put them down.  When I needed a chaperone going to dance parties, my mom insisted I took one of them with me.  Tina (in the photo), became like a sister to me.  I taught her the prevailing dance craze and introduced her to my friends as part of the family.

   I am just now realizing how my mother’s generosity affected my character.  It developed in me the social consciousness that guided my journey in this life.

See also: