Sira-sira store: Boy, interrupted

I BECAME the male version of Girl, Interrupted, a movie in the ‘90s, but only as far the title is concerned (mine has a small “i”). A little boy kept interrupting me this week. Here’s my story.

u201cUncle, no one won the election,” Pannon, my nephew, interrupted me in the middle of my afternnon snack of chicken sandwich.

u201cWhy is that, Pannon?”

u201cBecause the losers say they really won but they were just cheated. They accuse the winners of cheating, and the winners also accuse the losers of cheating. So the winners really lost, I think, and the losers lost more terribly.”

u201cI think you will make a good political analyst someday, Pannon.”

u201cWhat’s a political analyst, uncle?”

u201cSomeone who knows the answers to everything even if no question was asked.”

The boy left me then and I was left with my chicken sandwich and espresso. I read the news—“City files case vs. Bato folks.” There was no mention about people throwing rocks or banging their heads on rocks. That’s good news.

A question was posed: “Why is P580M loan for port on hold?” I don’t know. All I know, based on the news, is that the loan processing started in 2010. Wow, 2010 has two zeroes.

I was about to take another bite of my sandwich when Pannon came back. “Uncle, why did the boy throw the alarm clock out of the window?”

u201cUh, to see if time really flies?”

u201cHa, ha, ha, no! Because the clock wouldn’t stop ringing. What made you think he wanted to see time fly?”

u201cYou got me.”

u201cSo why did he throw it out of the window?”

u201cIt wouldn’t stop ringing—you just told me.”

u201cHa, ha, ha, no! Because if he threw it out of the door, he would have hit his dad who was coming in from work.”

He left me again and I turned to another matter. I went over my small store’s balance sheet and discovered I didn’t earn anything from selling minor artifacts of life, useless opinions and dated information. I was toying with the idea of transferring my business to the mall—to catch the teen crowd—when Pannon came back.

u201cUncle!”

u201cYes?”

u201cWhy is sandalwood called sandalwood?”

u201cI don’t know. Do you? You always ask me things you already know.”

u201cNo, I don’t know this time.”

Again he left and I finished off my chicken sandwich, while I mulled the problem about sandalwood.

Maybe the fragrant wood was once used to make sandals for the royal family. Or maybe it comes from the scientific name, Santalum album. In which case it should have been called sanalum or santalbum. My head ached. I needed another sandwich because my energy was zapped by too many interruptions and questions. Then I heard the footsteps of Pannon getting closer and I wanted to hide, but too late. He asked, “Uncle, what is the Cebuano for sandalwood?”

u201cSandalya.”

u201cMaybe. It’s kahoy nga sandalwood. Lolo Gustav told me so.”

I puckered my lips and then said, “Oh, OK. But why are you suddenly so engrossed with sandalwood?”

u201cI learned in school about ‘the fragrance of success’ and then Lola Blitte showed me her sandalwood fan. I just made the connection.”

He run off again. And I run out of the house. I didn’t want my sandwich interrupted again.

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