Posted by: theboyfromsmallville | December 1, 2006

Humor has it

NEW YORK City’s subterranean railways are daily facts of life for people who live in the city that never sleeps.
 “Your visit here will not be complete without a trip in the subways,” said my brother, Dominic (not the actor. Not even resembling the actor. Not even within the neighborhood of resembling the actor).
 And so I added my presence to the endless stream of people who use the New York subways. I always thought that the subway would be how it is depicted in movies: dark, graffiti-decorated and full of shadowed corners from where sinister characters lay in wait.
 Well surprise, surprise.

 The subway stations were scrubbed, well lighted and airy. There was no hint of the insidiousness that it has become associated with. Although some corners still stank of either piss (yes! I did pass one that did!) or something rotten, the subway in general smelled of something anticepticized regularly.
 My grandfather, a sturdy old man whose body is the only thing that age has managed to bend, has woven his name into subway lore already.
 My brother, he with no frills and with a natural aversion to exaggeration, told me the story in its barest details.
 To lay down the foundation of the story, you have to know the following: That my grandfather, though one of the hardest working men alive, had lately developed this penchant for falling asleep anytime his back finds some place to lean on. And that my grandmother is a proud and dignified woman who will suffer people’s shortcomings except those that prick her pride.
 One time, my brother said, our grandparents decided to take a trip to the city to shop. At her age, my grandmother is still a fashionable shopaholic.
 On their way home, my grandfather fell asleep on my grandmother, who didn’t notice and continued talking to him as if he were awake. When gramps wasn’t responding, gramms took a look at him and found him with eyes closed. According to my gramms, she tried to rouse gramps but he wouldn’t budge.
 “I thought something had happened to him,” she said.
 She did what anyone would do in that situation. She panicked.
 And that’s when all hell broke loose. Passengers in the train managed to get the message to the driver that someone had passed out. The train pulled over in a station that it wasn’t supposed to stop in and within 15 or so minutes, sirens could be heard from the street above and members of an emergency response team loaded my gramps, now conscious and wondering WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING HERE, into a stretcher.
 He was brought to the nearest hospital, given a clean bill of health and driven home. Up until now, gramps insists on one thing only.
 “I was asleep, that’s all,” he said.
 Gramms only grunts every time people reach that part of the story’s retelling. She insists that she feared for gramps’ safety, that’s why she panicked like she did.
 Me? I tend to believe gramps.
 I think what really happened was gramms’ pride was pricked when she saw the gramps had fallen asleep on her, mid-conversation. Rather than people mistaking her for boring company, she chose to convey that message that HEY IF MY HUSBAND WERE ALL RIGHT THERE’S NO WAY HE WOULD HAVE SLEPT ON ME WHILE I WAS TALKING.
 There is an interesting postscript to this story.
 Days after the incident, the hospital sent a bill to my grandfather. It wasn’t a substantial amount, just enough to cover the ambulance trip and the hospital check-up.
 My grandfather refused to pay it.
 “I told them ‘I’m old and I have no work. Where in the world will I get the money to pay you?’” he told me, laughing hard at the recollection of his conversation with a hospital official.
 “What’re they going to do? Send me to prison? Like I said, I’m already old,” he said.
 The hospital never followed up on that bill.
 “Besides,” gramps added with a tone of defiance. “I was only sleeping.”



  1. Kiko kailan ka uwi?

    I dream of visiting NYC soon. As in. Kainggit.

    I hope you’re having a blast with your mom. (-:

  2. Kat!
    Andito na ako actually. ni transcribe ko lang mga sinulat ko sa notebook na dala ko during my travel.
    Had a blast with my mom. Kulang lang talaga ang three days.
    Starbucks na!

  3. Wowww. Patingin ng pictures from your trip! Dalawin mo na ako sa store, hehe.

  4. okay…
    Thursday no? Try ko ah, day off ko yun eh. Konti pa yung pictures because I left my camera with my mom tas nagrerely lang ako sa mga kuha ng friends ko eh di pa sila nagpapaprint ng madami.

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