i was on my way out to go to gym last night. as i opened the door of our gate to step out, i noticed that there was a group of children playing outside our house, rather our gate. i didn't really bother myself to know what game they were playing, maybe "touch base" since a few of them were holding onto the door when i opened it, one even almost fell in. since our gate was part of their game and the kids were just flocking there, blocking my way out, i couldn't really get myself through. normally, me by just standing there, huge that i am, the kids would often move away to let me through, my presence like moses the parting of the red sea. however, last night, they treated my looming figure like i was imaginary, as if i was not even there. i was to them, part of the gate and when i did show my intentions of moving through them by putting my foot over the gate's threshold, one even tried pushing me back in (i say tried because, honestly.... when i said i'm huge, i really mean i'm HUGE.)
living in tondo, our house being situated in front of a "bustling" squatter complex, i have been used to loosing myself in a sea of people, more so, children. lots of children. they run around, zigzagging their way in and out of their shacks, play around the loitering drunks, climb onto cars and trucks parked by the road and just use the street as their playground and the oncoming traffic as their obstacle course. i have probably desensitized myself to the fact that my life in my neighborhood, for the sake of keeping my sanity, will always be a compromise of my personal space. though i have often found myself feeling very uncomfortable whenever i am in cramp situations, living here made me accept the fact that being claustrophobic was a trait i had to manage if i wanted to survive. i had to get used to walking like a chess piece, taking steps left and right around people, as if doing the square dance (yeee-haw!) instead of full strides forward like how normal people do. i have to honk my horn as i slowly back up my car from the garage, lest i run over a child who for some odd reason does not recognize the fact that a backing up AUV cannot see him, more so, can crush him like a bug. i have to get used to walking without too much arm swinging, since to do so would run the risk of smacking the head of a by standing child and suffer the ire of his or her drunken parent just a few feet away (mamma bear MAD!!!) i had to relinquish the comfort of seeing a foot of empty space around me as i think all my neighbors (and their lovely, lovely children) suffer a serious form of horror vacui.
as i was finally able to wade through the kids playing by our gate, i then found myself blocked again, this time by a girl who practically walked into me as she was looking the opposite direction. instead of walking around me like how they would always do, this little girl decided it would be easier if she pushed me aside and continued on walking along her original course. aside from her "attitude", what got me a little bit more surprised by this girl was that since she was small and short and was only to my waist in height, let us just say, of all the places she could place here tiny hands on my body to push me away with, she had to choose THAT spot. talk about pressing the right "buttons". as she walked away rather nonchalantly, i recall following her with my stare as i too walked away in almost utter disbelief.
in my stroll, i started to think, isn't it human nature to have a sense of space? to have a conscious appreciation of people needing their own personal empty space? i recall once my cousin told me of an exercise their teacher in kindergarten had them do. they walked around inside holla hoops which represented their territorial bubble. it gave them a clear idea that people need their personal comfort zones and that to encroach onto this space can not only cause some discomfort to people, but can also be construed as rude. children, have no idea yet of this since i guess their objective as they grow is primarily to explore and learn about the world around them. how could they if they would distance themselves from the objects of their curiosity. yet as they grow older, the begin to recognize, more so, should be able to learn the value of keeping ones' own space. however, and this is just my thinking, shanty living may have contributed to a shift in this rule, for considering the very cramped environs these children live in, it could be for their own sanity as to give up the idea of having any space to call their own. an even more radical idea, what if they roam the streets since the street offer them the space they crave for and my presence in the street is them seeing me as intruding in their territory? if that's the case then... dammit, i need to get me a holla hoop NOW!!!!!
huhuhuhu... i want my space back!!!!!!!