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The Electric Journal of Adel Gabot



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It's another word for coincidence, but the nice kind. I'm not sure what the word is for the bad kind. I'm not quite sure how to categorize this one I just had, but just the same, serendipity was the word that popped into my head.

During dinner at home Sunday night, the TV was blaring in the living room, tuned to Sharon on ABS-CBN by the maids. They were doing a musical feature on the Metropop on the show, and my ears perked up because once upon a time I was a finalist; otherwise it's usually pink noise to me. They got some of the original singers to do the songs they originally did for the Metropop, and one of them was Hajji Alejandro, the original Kilabot ng Mga Colegiala from the 70s, doing his old classic Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika.

My attention was diverted from the chicken because Hajji was singing spectacularly off-key, and I took notice even more closely. I can't sing to save my life, but I can tell if someone was pitchy, even if he was off by just an eighth of a note. He was struggling with his own song, and I remarked to my wife, "Listen, Sweetie, he can't even sing his own song anymore. Either he's lost it, or he doesn't care anymore. They should've gotten someone else to do it. Tsk tsk," and went back to munching on my chicken.

Fast forward to two hours later. We were at our usual weekend evening haunt in Eastwood, coffee and surfing at Coffee Bean, with Rico, Mano and a couple of our friends. Mano and the girls chat up a storm over this and that, so I plop myself at a separate table with Rico so I can surf on the T43 in peace.

The wifi was flaky and I had trouble getting online and staying on; the signal dropped often, and it was a struggle getting it back. So my mind wandered and among my idle thoughts I thought about listening to Hajji Alejandro on TV back home earlier and wondered about how he felt about how he's turned out, what he's become today compared to how he was in the seventies. If he's unhappy doing these retro things on TV shows and singing the stuff that he's probably sick of doing all his life. And then I thought about myself and what I've done with my own life, that sort of thing. Then the wifi came back and I promptly forgot all about Hajji.

Close to midnight, the place is almost empty, and in walks a couple.

The guy walks over to the counter to order, and the girl comes and sits down at a table near us. She looks familiar but I couldn't quite place her.

Rico, friendly dog that he is, saunters over and starts being his friendly self. The girl is delighted and pets him, gushing. She starts to chat me up and talks about how Rico is probably smelling her dogs on her which is why he's overly friendly. They have two big dogs, she says, and five poodles, blah blah blah. Pleasant pet owner talk.

The guy finishes ordering and goes to her table. The girl introduces him to Rico, and then to me. "This is my husband, Hajji."

I am momentarily speechless. I mean, what were the chances? Man.

I mumble pleasantries, still flustered at the coincidence. We chat a little, and then Mano and the girls motion to us that it was time to go home. Rico, who understands human speech more than I give him credit for, runs to the door; he'd been wanting to go home for a while already.

So I say goodbye to the couple, nice meeting you, and leave. Walking away I wonder if I should've talked to Hajji somehow. But about what, exactly? I wondered what I would said: "Hey, you'll never believe this, I was just thinking about you thirty minutes ago, and in you walk through the door. What is that about?" Or maybe, "Caught you on TV tonight. Did you know you were spectacularly sintonado?" Hmm, I don't think so.

It's baffling - you never think of the guy, you practically forget about him, you've never met him before in your life, you're even indifferent about his music, and then the one day you hear him on TV and make a snide comment, he shows up on that very day, hours later, to meet you, apparently apropo of nothing at all. Baffling but true, and totally useless. Couldn't I have just won the lotto?

I don't know what this was supposed to have meant, but you'll have to agree it was a hell of a coincidence.
  • Creepy! In a good way creepy!

    If it were me though, it would be "spectacularly sintonado" ringing in my head the entire time the pleasantries were exchanged. As i "Sintonado ka man! Sintonado kaaaaaaaaaa".

    So he has a wife na pala. I mean I know he's one one before. But a current one.
  • Wow, I grew up on a steady diet of Hajji Alejandro in the 70s. My mom loved his stuff and we listened to cassette tapes (quaint at this point—doesn't it make you want to die?!) of his albums constantly. You know what? They really hold up. Several of his songs were Tagalog versions of American hits, with lyrics by Rolando Tinio even. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" = "Tulayin Ako."

    Too bad he was sintonado on TV recently. I usually find myself with the opposite experience.

    Metropop yielded so much good stuff. What song did you write?

    Next time, can you think about, say, Hugh Laurie or Jeremy Piven or Roger Federer so they can appear at a Coffee Bean too? :-)
    • "Out In The Open", sung by Zebedee Zuniga and Angelica, from the first next-gen reconstituted MetroPop in the mid-90s. It's on the CD. Co-wrote it with Tux's Bob Serrano. Jaya won that year.

      I'm thinking hard about Jessica Alba, actually.
      • Speaking of Jessica Alba....

        ....do you watch American Idol? You would have caught her in the audience last night. Her new movie Fantastic Four is opening in the US next month.
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