Thursday, June 03, 2004

Eighties Schmeighties

***Originally written May 1999. This is the slightly updated version***

Monday, a big business deal crumbles to bits. Tuesday, your stocks take a nosedive. Wednesday, the bathroom sink backs up and regurgitates a year's worth of tangled hair and dark sticky goo. Thursday, the kids get bored with being cute and turn your hard-to-find CD's into Frisbees. Friday, the police find you on a park bench gazing emptily into space while mumbling "Take me back to 1986. Take me back to 1986..."

When things turn from crazy to helter skelter, don't you just wish you could step out of the rat race and back into that fabled era when you had no bigger worries apart from "Bagay kaya itong fuschia na medyas dito sa tangerine na undershirt?" or "Oh my God! I'm out of Dippity Doo Gel!"

More importantly, don't you just wish you could to go back to the time when that size 28 pants had plenty of room to spare?

I'd like to know, why is it that despite the 90's having given us creature comforts like email, cellphone, Palm Pilot, malls, fast food restaurants, cable TV, Hed Kandi; many people still cling to the hoary 80's like barnacles to ship bottoms.

Is this some sick obsession? Or does everybody from our generation share the same fetish for the 80's and its artifacts? As for me,
I'd take the following anyway:

• P-mail. When e-mail was still a glimmer in some geeky
programmer's eyes, we had something called p-mail or
"paki-abot" mail.

Remember? It had taken you two weeks and five pads of scented
Hello Kitty stationery (stolen from your kid sister, of course) to write that love letter for that cute girl from 3B Girls. But as you're dotting the last "i", you find that courage has deserted you.
You could not hand it over to the girl. You could not
even sign the darned letter. Panicking, you plead and cajole
your best buddy to be the "tulay."

You beg him to deliver the mail to cutegirl@3BGirls'Room
room by hook or by crook! So grudgingly, he marches over to the gym and hands over the letter.

Oh God!, she seems "kilig to the bones!" You write another letter.
The "tulay" delivers again.
Oh yes, she's mine, mine, mine!
You write another one.
The "tulay" delivers it once more.
Oh no!
The "tulay" gets the girl.

• Aranda's.
Remember that quaint diner fronting the
school parking lot? Before there were Teriyaki Boy, Cibo, Superbowl of China; Aranda's was THE dining place.
Make no mistake, the food here ain't at all bad.
Yun nga lang, you had to fork over your whole allowance
for hobbit-sized portions of rice and even smaller servings of mechado. Plus, you had to endure getting microwaved
alive by the stifling heat.
If your gang, however, was scrimping for a weekend
romp (''gimik'' was 15 years away from being coined) or was simply ravenous after five hours of battling
monsters with scary names like Logarithms, Abscissas, and
Quadratic Root Equations, you all made a beeline to
Salvador's, an eatery run by Abet's family.
Never mind that the dark & dank interior reminded you of
Egyptian catacombs (you half expect to bump into a grinning Tutankhamen).

Never mind that it was cramped with layers upon layers of
hungry, sweaty boys (I swear, no girl had EVER been sighted
within a twenty kilometer radius of this place).
You didn't go to Salvador's for ambience.
You went to Salvador's for the man-sized
portions of tasty food which you could have
for a song. I swear (na naman), I have seen
some boys lining up for second, third, even fourth
servings of rice while only paying for the first one.

• FEN (Far East Network)
In those medieval days before cable TV, our gang's
link to the outside world was Michael Gabat's FEN connection
which emanated from Subic.
While the rest of the country had to wait to read it on the
papers, we got to see the NBA Finals live flickering on
Mike's humongous Zenith TV. Snowy, hissy, it was difficult to even make out the players on the court.

Live naman.

• Manuela Department Store. While today's mallrats cool their heels inside the uber-posh GB2, GB3, ATC, G4, and Rockwell, our generation
had Manuela, considered to be coolest thing to hit town. In fact, Jasper, who lived in nearby PhilAm, was known to spend entire days prowling the labyrinthine nooks and crannies of this "mall mall-an" looking for Haruta Penny Loafers at bargain basement prices.

And who could ever forget SkateFun?

Not that we could skate with any degree of facility, but we hung out at SkateFun just the same, trying (very unsuccessfully)
to get lucky.

• New Wave Music. Fun Boy Three. Cactus World News.
Orange Juice. The Jesus and Mary Chain. The Church.
The Sisters of Mercy. Strawberry Switchblade. Talking Heads.
Joy Division. New Order. Mobile ni Eric. Party sa bahay ni Eileen!!!

Need I say more?

• Rumors Disco. Think John Robinson. Think Timex Social Club.
Think baston pants.

Alright. Maybe not that last one.