By ANDREA PAULA BORJA
IF you want to get gross about it, here’s what I found swimming in my beer-induced puke: six undigested nuts, sisig, a cell phone, a cat, laxatives, duct tape, PhP45 in coins, a copy of “Catcher in the Rye,” and a guy who said his name is Gary and wanted to know how to get back to Pier Dos.
My English-speaking friend Theo pulled back my hair from my face and motioned for the other beer drinkers to give us some room. He asked the guy at the next table, “How do you say ‘GET DOWN! SHE’S GONNA BLOW!’ in Cebuano?”
At 7:15 PM EDT, cars trying to cross Colon Street through a sea of people’s legs makes this sidewalk bar very inconvenient; but it was open, and that always counts for something when you really want a beer and you don’t want to step into something like Vudu or Loft.
Theo found a parking spot that would not get him towed in the three hours that he would be away from his car, and we stepped into the florescent ugliness of this bar, one of several places throughout the city where they serve Red Horse in glasses that say “Tanduay” and the women serving it call you “langga.”
At any hour in Colon, you are a third-class citizen, next to jeepneys or taxi cabs and then pedestrians, who are not likely to be quick on their feet or aware of the boundaries of sidewalks, so you really need to be sober when you attempt what we did last night.
Underneath the playful exterior that Theo and I display in public, there is a razor-sharp competitive edge to our friendship. I want to do everything better. I want to find everything that’s lost and fix everything that’s broken before he does. I want to speak louder, sleep later, jump higher. If he wasn’t afraid to get herpes or lose a body part at ghetto bars like this, then neither was I. By God, I’d take it like a man!
Theo says he doesn’t feel the same way about this competitive dynamic in our friendship. And there is nothing that drives me crazier than competing against someone who doesn’t think he’s competing.
This is a strategy employed by the most arrogant of competitors, a positioning subterfuge that is meant to show one’s opponent that he is so supremely confident in his ability to win that the woman he’s up against doesn’t even show up on his radar. It’s a mind game. And I see right through it.
Believe me when I tell you that I never win. I repeatedly challenge him and I am repeatedly smacked down, humiliated and confronted with the cold, hard reality: he’s better than me. At everything. Drinking. Driving. Farting. All of it.