I love fishballs. In spite of the hepatitis scare back when I was in school In spite of the danger of “dirty food.”
I even remember on occasion gobbling up the lot when a piece cost .10c each.
I won’t go into the nerd stuff of its whys and wherefores, but sometimes, it isn’t soley the fishballs I enjoy when I pluck them out with barbecue sticks from the kawali. Sometimes listening in to the conversations – hey, how can you not hear what people talk about – around the cart, are every bit .50c nuggets of wisdom and insight.
My first stick – I usually get two pieces at a time then make sawsaw in the jar with the most onions.
Barber: “Erap. Not guilty.” (alluding to a tabloid headline from a paper that a driver was reading) “Pare-pareho lang mga yan nasa gobyerno… guilty at puro magnanakaw…” (man’s dripping with venom)
Man who works at neighboring meat shop: “O, masyado kang galit. Kumain ka muna. Isawsaw mo na lang galit mo sa maanghang.” (everyone laughs)
Female student: “OMG! Nalagyan ng soows (sauce) my N95!”
Male friend (possibly boyfriend): “Careful. Mahal yung sarsa ng fishball.”
Female student: “Hindi nakakatawa yan, ha?”
Fishball Cart vendor: “Cellphone. Hindi na pwede na mabuhay na walang cellphone.”
Man who works at neighboring meat shop: “O, Manny (the barber). Palitan mo na yang cellphone mo. Lumang luma na yan (Nokia 3310).”
Barber: “Okey naman ‘to. Pang text lang naman.”
Fishball Cart Vendor: “Sino naman tine-text mo? Customer? Chicks?”
Man who works at neighboring meat shop: “Si Manny pa! Chicks. Selos si boss niyan (turns out the owner of the barber shop is a closet gay).
Sixth stick (six pesos total now and I can feel the onions begin to alter my breath)
Guy: “O, Gelo. Nakita kita sa FHM -- na interview ka.”
Gelo (locking the doors to his Beemer): “Wala yun. Pero bola lang yun. Kailangan lang ng interview so tinawagan sister ko. Pinasa sa akin yun pero puro bola lang yun.”
Guy: “Wala naman nagbabasa ng articles. Yung mga babes lang tinitignan sa FHM.”
Gelo: “Of course, sex sells.”
Guy: “Eh, bakit hindi ka naghubad?” (laughter)
Seventh stick (had to wait kasi naubos yung fishballs sa dami ng tao)
Guard from nearby church walks over
Guard: “Pa-utang ha? Apat na piraso lang.”
Fishball Cart Vendor: “Sige lang. Sa koleksyon ng misa mo naman kukunin ang pambayad, di ba?” (laughter)
Guard: “Masama ‘yan sinasabi mo.” (jokingly)
Fishball Cart Vendor: “Iba sinasamba ng tao ngayon… pera.”
Guard: “At fishballs.”
CHECK THIS OUT:
Under the masthead, there's a header that reads: Good News: Inspiring news and views that make you proud to be a Filipino.
Then directly under that is this headline: 14 Marines killed. 10 were beheaded.
Great news. I'm inspired.