15 April 2011

Crap! It’s My Brother!

“Sabi ko na!” This morning when I went for breakfast, I took one look at the guy walking with a tray to where I was coming from at the cafeteria and I immediately recognized him as the guy I could not quite place in my head during my ride home yesterday evening. He looked my way then quickly looked away; so I walked on to the counter to order breakfast.

I went to Manila with an officemate yesterday to attend a meeting; and, typically, was something between an eggplant and a slice of raw tofu by the time we arrived in school. Hungry, I sped off to the mall for a hasty dinner.

Afterwards, I took my ride right in front of the mall as I often do weekdays. A guy got on right behind me and headed for the seat right behind the driver. He apparently knew the woman opposite him because the two briefly exchanged pleasantries.



I handed my fare over to the guy with a paki-suyô; when he looked my way, I caught his eye briefly and immediately thought the guy looked familiar. Sa totoo lang, even the young woman opposite him looked familiar as well.

I politely thanked him after he took my coins so I turned my attention to my phone. I already had my earphones on and so I went about the business of selecting an appropriate play-list from the hundreds of mp3s I have in my phone.

From the corner of my eye, I could see… Aba’y tingin nang tingin

When I turned my head his way, indeed he was looking at me like he was waiting for me to greet him. Try as I would, though, I could not quite recall if I actually knew him from somewhere – despite him looking familiar. For all I knew, baka naman napapangitan la-ang sa akin.



So in my head I was thinking, if you know me at all, you have until you get off to talk to me. Eh kakausapin ko naman kung kilala ngâ n’ya ako. Meanwhile, I was tired and feeling anti-social so I returned my attention to my play-lists.

And, of course, it was not until this morning when I finally realized why the guy looked familiar… I also realized that the girl he was talking was also one of the cafeteria personnel.

There is a name for this type of short term memory failure; and just in keeping with the theme of this story, I cannot recall what the name is because I read about it so long ago in a Reader’s Digest article.

Supposedly, the memory failure is triggered when you see a person you are so used to seeing in a familiar environment sporting a typical look – such as when that person wears the same uniform day in and day out – suddenly looking completely different in another environment.

Take yesterday’s encounter. Had the guy been wearing his white polo shirt and black pants, I probably would have recognized him immediately. Last night, he wore a plain sky-blue t-shirt above faded denim pants. To begin with, while I would see him everyday around the canteen, I actually had never even engaged in a conversation with him.

Yesterday’s encounter was by no means unique. There was this one time when there was this dark complexioned guy who greeted me as I was about to enter one of the restaurants near the front gate of the neighbouring mall.

“Sir!” he called to me. “Uy!” I replied with a smile, “Kakain ka rin?” But of course, in that instance, walâ akong kamuang-muang kung sino ang kapulong ko.

“Hindî Sir,” he explained, “susundô…”

“Ah, sigue,” I grinned at him as I bade him goodbye. I was well into my dinner when it suddenly came to me that the dark gentleman was one of the school’s security personnel. Unlike the canteen staff member I encountered yesterday evening, this security guard was somebody I had occasionally chatted with when I used to walk around school.

Of course, outside the restaurant, he was in jeans and t-shirt instead of his usual uniform while on duty.

The short term memory failure – or, as what I recall from that article I read long ago – may also be triggered by being taken completely by surprise. In other words, a person may even fail to recognize another person that he or she is very familiar with if the encounter takes place in a totally unexpected manner in a place where the person is not at all expected to be.

If you think this is baloney, wait till I tell you this anecdote. The story is so ridiculous I will forgive you if you think it is a complete fib. This is a true story, nonetheless; pex man!



It was back in 1993 and – as we used to do after a RIFA match – my players and I would eat our lunch at the most convenient mall on the way back and then spend half an hour or so window shopping.

We must have played either at Colegio San Agustin or Don Bosco because I remember we went to Landmark for lunch. After eating hastily at the fast food center, I walked the aisles of the mall to scout for something to buy or something to save up for.

I was looking intently at the products on sale atop one of the shelves and was so engrossed with what I was looking at that when somebody called out, “Rexie!” – that is how I am called my members of the clan and close friends – I looked around, saw this tall gentleman approaching me, and for all of three seconds had absolutely no idea who I was looking at.

My lips broke into an instant grin – but that was reflex because the person was also grinning at me – and then my brain after what seemed like an eternity overcame its sudden stall.

“Huy!” I called back finally. Oo ngâ palaSi Roy… Kapatid ko








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