in Travels with my angst

That’s what rich friends are for

(From the Blast From The Past Dept. This piece was first published by the Manila Times in August 2004 when a 33.6 kbps dial-up connection was considered high-tech. Picture of Ding Dong from Philam Food’s website. No transaction, financial or otherwise, has been entered upon by Philam Food and the website’s owner and manager, then and now.)

Just last Saturday, I grudgingly agreed to leave for Tagaytay together with my wife and two other couples; friends whom, for better or worse, we never got around to hang out with that much.

This is because of the six people in that group, almost everyone had work schedules that were tighter than a rusted nut: three were high-powered professionals, two were very active in the academe, while one puttered about in the apartment all day, wearing silly polka-dotted boxers and looking for snacks, preferably Ding-Dong Mixed Nuts. (Which, by the way, is one of the many fine quality Filipino products that go very well with beer. Cigarettes also go well with beer but you can t eat them.)

Anyway, I looked forward to the whole trip with the enthusiasm of former president Estrada awaiting impeachment proceedings.

As a loyal follower of the Dave Barry School of Journalism (Motto: Never leave the house), it was and still is my journalistic responsibility to stay indoors as much as humanly possible, come hell or high water, whether on weekends or weekdays, despite invitations to press conferences and events held outside my apartment.

And so far, I have been successful.

But last Saturday, I relented. Easily, if I might add.

According to Couple A, who had planned the whole Ta?gaytay excursion a month ago, Couple B and my wife and I would not incur any expense at all during the course of the whole trip. Not a centavo, they said.

The Tagaytay invitation therefore proved interesting.

If there is anything that would make me want to step out of the apartment in case of fire, an inspection from my landlord, a surprise visit from my in-laws, or an emergency beer shortage it is always the prospect of a freebie.

This explains why it is always a financially sound decision to have rich friends, as any highly paid financial consultant will tell you. Hanging out with rich friends makes mooching off a lot easier than it sounds.

For instance, rich friends offer to pick you up at your convenience, pay for expensive dinner and drinks, and take you home safely, even after you’ve become rude and drunk.

After all, what else can they expect? You’re poor. You’re supposed to be rude and drunk.

Aside from being the butt of coño kids’ corny jokes, the inability to hang out at Rockwell and drink expensive coffee at Starbucks, what else are you supposed to be? A moocher, that’s what.

And so, early Saturday morning, my wife and I were fetched by a van, which fortunately, was not driven by Vandolph.

As soon as we were cruising along the highway, I saw that half of Metro Manila also had decided to spend the weekend at Tagaytay City. Apparently, a lot of them also had rich friends.

A couple of hours later, we finally arrived in a posh Tagaytay subdivision where we spent the night drinking beer, playing some board games, and watching DVDs, at no cost to us.

Indeed, it was a typical weekend getaway made possible by having rich friends.

Thank God for poverty.

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