Her voice was earnest, almost pleading. “Kung mamatay mo, madala na ninyo inyo sakyanan? Ang inyong balay? Ang kwarta?” (When you die, will you be able to take your car, house, or money with you?)
“Unya ang basil?” I thought to myself. (What about the basil?)
I was waiting at the border controls in Barangay Cabancalan in Mandaue City for a plant seller doing the rounds in Cebu City. I bought 4 basil seedlings and we were to exchange it, like soldiers swapping hostages, at the border of Cebu City and Mandaue City.
The thought gave me pause. Did I just comment-troll in real life?
In real life or as Internet culture puts it, IRL, that’s what we do. We keep things to ourselves. We may think it but we don’t speak it.
We don’t go around saying “bahoa nimo uy” (you stink). We don’t say “bogo-a nimo, basaha gud na tarong” (You’re stupid, read that again). Unless you’re Michael Dino, then you can say, “mga bogo silang tanan.”
And yet many of us do that on Facebook. We get into vociferous arguments over such silly things online.
I know of people who are reserved IRL but are out flaunting their beautiful bodies on Facebook and more often, on Instagram. I follow them. Closely.
But with most of our interactions today happening online, do our online personas now define us?
Am I now my Facebook projection – bugal bugalon, bigaon? What about the offline me – aloof?
They often diverge, these personalities, but are we ready when they do converge?
Technologies like augmented reality allow you to have an information layer on real life. What if we go around seeing social media updates as overlay on the people we meet?
What would happen if I attend a press conference by Mayor Edgar Labella and all my previous bugal bugal posts flash as an info overlay on me through his AR glass? Will he say, “naa man lagi ning giatay dinhi sa akong press con?”
“Ang importante ang imong kalag dili ang kwarta o ang balay,” she was truly underway in her proselytizing.
“Ang importante mabuhi ang basil,” I commented in my mind. I never had a plant survive my care. The seller was taking long. He said he was still at the Family Park.
I told Marlen, what if I text him, “Dugay pa ka? Makig lalis sa ko dinhi.”
It was a good thing he arrived a few minutes later and we completed the exchange.
I quickly drove home to LapuLapu, going straight instead of turning right, where the lady with a megaphone was, where she said the only way to heaven lay.
Max is a journalist and blogger based in Cebu. He has written and edited for such publications as The Freeman, The Independent Post, Today, Sun.Star Cebu, Cebu Daily News, Philstar Life, and Rappler.
He is also a mobile app and web developer and co-founded InnoPub Media with his wife Marlen.
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