While we were having a round table discussion in NKTI on some kind of cancer I… wasn’t listening. My mind was a blur of so many things, such as: how I could make my way through those people cramped sitting together in front of the buffet table so I could get more fried chicken. Or what time the discussion would end. Or what comic book I would read upon getting home. Until I realized… it’s the last day of UP Fair and how convenient that I’m already in QC! I immediately texted my insta-kaladkarin friends Smoketh and Frichmond. Frichmond had to attend mass that day and wasn’t sure she could come, so I texted her: THIS COULD BE THE LAST TIME WE WOULD BE ATTENDING THE UP FAIR! AFTER THIS, WE WOULD BE SWAMPED BY REAL LIFE CONCERNS… SUCH AS EARNING MONEY!
In less than an hour Frichmond and Smoketh were driving around QC hunting for me as I decided to walk around QC in the middle of the night. Smoketh dragged us to a restaurant (Black Pea Soup? Black Pea? Black Soup? Black Pasta?) aka Kuya Bodjie’s restaurant. The first thing we asked the waitress: Asan po si Kuya Bodjie? We wanted a picture with a celebrity. The last time we had a brush in with celebrities was when some demented fan asked me to take her picture with Bamboo 10 years ago in Powerbooks ATC, and when Smoketh had a picture with Tiya Pusit in the isawan in UP Diliman. I still regret not telling that girl, “kami muna kunan mo ng picture”. Bitch.
The last time I’ve been to a UP Fair was in 2004, and before that was in 1998. So of course we decided to conduct ourselves with the “it wasn’t like this before it was so much better back then when things were crazier and people were fucking on the ground”-complex. The first thing we noticed of course was the ticket—it was nicely printed by Ticketworld. All together now: it wasn’t like this before, it was so much better back then when the ticket was just a pinunit-punit na bluebook!
I went to the back areas looking for those cheap, colorful alcoholic drinks that once opened our eyes to unexpected delights in the late 90’s. Those drinks which had once knocked Joni to stupor and caused Groin to put it upon herself to drag him all the way back to Molave Dormitory. Those drinks are no longer in existence. Instead there are support groups and free water, which I took and turned out to be… really water. We wanted to lurlurlur but there was no one lurring. “Pano kung mahuli tayo?” I asked Smoketh. “Ano gagawin nila, miminusan tayo sa Math 17?” We lurred. Everyone ignored us.
It wasn’t the hippie 60’s, but…. nung panahon namin… people were lying on the ground and talking crazy stuff, with the Eraserheads or the resident singer UP Diliman singer Jeffrey Hidalgo singing on stage, someone would scream somewhere and everyone would gather around for more screaming. Now the fare looked like a version of Bonifacio Global City. There were no alcoholic drinks or anything that would qualify as a vice, so for more mall-ness Smoketh bought a Red Velvet Cupcake.
After fifteen minutes we decided it’s time to retire. We went to a nearby Army Navy where Smoketh and Frichmond looked sleepy as hell. It was only 11:30. Sign of the times.