Self Interviews Dearest Mum’s Maid

For a story, of course. Delicately she hears the phone ringing — tinkle, tinkle — in a house she already knows is empty. But, of course, the maid will pick up. Self knows this.

The maid tells self that her mother is “out.” She is always out. Self doesn’t care to ask where. Instead, she asks the maid, “Who are you?” And the maid answers, “The maid.”

Self then says, “I know you’re the maid. But what’s your name?”

And the maid says, “Nena.” Which is so funny, because that is in fact Dearest Mum’s name as well. So there are two Nenas in the house there, in Manila.

Then self tells this Nena that she’s doing research for a story, and needs to know what shampoo she uses.

Ano???” says Dear Nena.

“The shampoo. The shampoo you use to wash your hair. What do you use? Just soap or what?”

“Anything,” the maid says. “I use anything.”

“Yes, where do you buy it?” self persists.

Kahit saan,” says Nena. Which means: Anywhere.

“Yes, but is there a supermarket near the house?”

Opo,” says Nena.

“Name of supermarket?”


“Hmm,” self says, nibbling the tip of her pen as she writes this down. “Alphaland. Can you spell it?”

The maid says, “Sandali lang,” and is gone a long, long, loooong time. Finally, she comes back and recites, as if reading from a piece of paper: E, El, Pe, Etch, E, El …

So self writes that down. Then she asks, “So, is this Alphaland on Pasong Tamo?”

“Yes, ma’am,” says poor Nena.

“Thanks so much, Nena!” self gushes. “You’ve been such a big help! Can I call you again with more questions? You see, I’m a writer. And I am doing research. Baaah!”

And before the maid can say anything else, self ends the call. Whew! Hope the maid doesn’t say anything to Dearest Mum when she gets home later!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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