I don’t know why we even bother, but going to the UP Fair these days seems not so much as a way to have fun or even be nostalgic, but a way to be hit by several realizations on how old you’re getting. Alam mo yun, yung tipong you begin sentences with, “Nung panahon natin di yan ganyan di ba?” Then after a while you yearn to be sitting at a Starbucks somewhere instead of on the Sunken Garden grass peppered with litter and various non-student pankistas. I don’t mean to be a some sort of fascist about this but the nostalgia trip sort of gets ruined when you see that the UP students are probably a minority in the crowd. My friend Phoebe was going, “What happened to our fair?” and was seriously considering going up to the organizers to tell them than they should have a separate entrance for UP people. I would have been content with a separate entrance for alumni para siguradong maikli ang pila, he he. Seriously, I’ve never seen a line that long at a UP Fair. Nung panahon ko, ahem, you have a couple of lines stretching a few meters from the entrace. The line at between 9 and 10 PM last Monday, however, snaked around the base of the Sunken Garden for a while before going up to the sidewalk and then stretching from the area between the old Registrar building and Educ until Vinzons Hall. But then again, nung panahon ko hindi pa uso ang strict bag inspection bago ka papasukin.
We began to contemplate whether it’s all worth the trouble, but Phoebe said we can just make singit so we went and got tickets anyway. I followed Phoebe on the way to the line and watched as she seamlessly melded into it only a few feet from the entrance. I was left with Ross (no, I’m not making these names up, I was with friends that night who are really named Phoebe and Ross), and we were both clueless on the art of making singit. We wandered up and down the line, going, “Have you ever done this before?” “No, not really.” I mean, who knew who we could have tangled with out there, we’d be lucky with some hapless freshman but well, you can never can tell sabi nga nila. Plus, we really lacked the necessary bravado. So we spent a few minutes walking up and down the line wondering where to make the attempt, and I was asking Ross, “So Ross, are we an Abalos or a Lozada?” Finally we gave up and decided to queue up legitimately, only when we got near the end we found that the line was being divided from a single line to three lines, and we took advantage of the confusion to join one of the new lines. So technically we did make singit, but as Lozada would have put it, we were nowhere near the league of Phoebe, who by that time was already gabbing with some friends she found inside. When we told all this to Phoebe later, she said, “well, you’re worse than Abalos, you’re opportunists!” and we all talked about the ZTE controversy for a while, the kind of talk, you know, that really belonged in a Starbucks somewhere.
And oh, another sign that you’re growing old, or at least not in college anymore: you get a kick out of eating at Rodic’s again you have to have a picture taken.
My favorite at the fair, however, was that contraption where you test your strength by hammering at some lever and seeing how high you can make the thing go (sorry for the super vague terms, he he). I loved the labels at the different levels. At the lowest one, it said “Pinalo mo ba?” the next one “Kumain ka na ba?” then “Kumain ka ngunit kulang” before being properly impressed, saying the “Macho!” at the very top. The guys at the booth let us try it for free, and I wasn’t interested in dislocating my shoulder so I made Ross try it. True enough, he got “Pinalo mo ba?” at first try but at least got to “Kumain ka ngunit kulang” after a couple more attempts. Work out, work out.
And yes, I do know why be bothered coming to the fair this year. It was because of the impression that we got that the centennial planners are going to be sold at the fair. Which turned out to be totally false, apparently another printer screw-up. At least I ordered in advance, and so can get my planner if I go to Vinzon’s this week, but Phoebe and Ross didn’t and were hoping to take advantage of the direct selling opportunity. All in all, though, I don’t think we regretted showing up. We’re that loyal, he he. At the end of the day, the Iskolar ng Bayan card still trumps everything else.