Wednesday, January 31, 2018

looks familiar

Two weeks ago, while I was at the bank one afternoon and was waiting in line to pay for this month's bill, a woman in her early 50s—who was two persons ahead of me in the queue—tried to catch my attention. I had my earphones on, listening to Pharrell Williams and Janelle Monáe being ecstatic about jalapeños, so I wasn't sure if it was actually me she was eyeing at.

But she kept craning her head towards me. It was starting to feel awkward. I removed my earphones, smiled, and acknowledged her presence. “Is your family name Torregosa?” she asked me directly, although in a tone that seemed already certain. “Oh no,” I replied. “Do I look like someone you know, ma’am?” She nodded, and she added that I have these features of a Torregosa. She told the same thing to the lady next to her, who I was very sure she just knew while waiting also in line, as if for reassurance.

I gave her a smile. I put back my earphones on, and scanned mental pictures of any Torregosa that I may have met or known in this lifetime. I couldn't recall a single Torregosa. I have nothing against the Torregosas in this world though. I do get this a lot, anywhere in this country—Metro Manila, Dumaguete, Tagbilaran, Cebu, etc.—being mistaken for someone else.

Before it was my turn at the counter to hand over my cash and payment slip, I fully realized two things: 1) I think it is not wrong to start believing now that I may have an extremely generic face, and 2) I am really bad at small talks.

Pharrell and Janelle continued singing they're hot.