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Crossed Lines

February 14, 2008

I just had a very entertaining yet truly weird phone conversation with a little girl (I think) who was convinced we were related.

Her name, she said, is An-An (I’m not sure if I heard her right) who started the conversation asking for Rosie or somebody (the child had a lisp so she spoke names quite unclearly). I told her I knew nobody named Rosie. She insisted, though, saying she is looking for her “Tita”.

Thinking I may be mistaken and she’s a cousin after all (I have a very large extended family and it’s quite possible she’s an obscure cousin I just haven’t heard about), I asked her if the Tita she is looking for is called Ofelia (my mother). She said yes. My mother is in Bicol so I told her she is unavailable. She asked for her “Tito” instead so I asked her if she is looking for Leonides (my father). She said yes again. My father is also in Bicol so I told her that “Tito” is also unavailable. At this point, she asked me for my name and I gave it to her. She said she’ll “make do with me. ”

She then said something that truly scared me, “Jinky, come visit me this afternoon. You see, it’s my birthday today. Bring a gift, will you?” Uh-oh! I’m in a perfect coil now. I have An-An on the line who may or may not be a cousin or a pamangkin. She is inviting me to attend her birthday party this afternoon at her home. I don’t know her address and I can’t really ask her without letting on that I absolutely have no idea who she is and how we have come to be related. I felt like I was playing a part in a macabre version of Alice in Wonderland.

To wiggle myself out of my wabbit-hole, I told her I can’t possibly attend her party since I have work to do. She asked me what I do for a living and I told her I write and teach. She said she wants to be a teacher like me when she grows up.

Then, she told me, “Jinky, wait lang ha? I’m going to tell Mom I’ve invited you to come over.” I could hear her Mom asking her who she was talking to. She told her Mom that she is talking to Jinky and that she’s invited Jinky to her party. Her mom replied, “Who is Jinky? Are you playing with the phone again? What number did you call?”

At this point, I laughed out in great relief. I can breathe easy in the knowledge that I’m not senile yet. An-An or whatever her name is, is truly no relative of mine. It’s perfectly natural that I can’t recall who she is, from what branch of the family she sprung from, who her mother and father are, and where she lives because I can’t know all these things about a total stranger.

An-An got back on the phone then and asked me in a voice that implied I’m getting weird on her, “Why do you keep laughing?” I just told her I’m having a lovely time talking to her on the phone, that’s all. Trying very hard to suppress my mirth, I told her that she talk to her Mom again and quickly hung up.

The phone rang again after a minute. I did not answer. After it stopped ringing, I put the phone on silent ringer mode. I just didn’t want to talk to another relative I can’t recognize.

(Repost from my Yahoo 360 blog)

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