DURING the summer of my sophomore year in college, I joined a group of students who sold books and magazines in order to avail of scholarships and tuition discounts for the coming school opening.
Unlike my older sister who was born with an indubitable knack in marketing, I was reluctant to join the group and anticipated days of hunger as our daily meals would have to be taken from the deposits we would get from our daily orders.
I arrived very late on the day the group were to assemble in our area of assignment in Cotabato City so the leader just paired me off to another late comer, one named "Inday", who at that time was assigned to go to the market and buy the group's supper.
The rest of the group, a mixture of males and females from different schools were just lounging around getting acquainted with each other.
Tired from the trip, I immediately went to sleep without waiting for supper, thus missing the briefing which was very important especially for beginners. I was later informed that my partner Inday, like me is also a beginner in selling books.
The next day I woke up late and was alarmed that some of the group had already left for an early start. Rushing to the kitchen, I served myself some breakfast and wondered where Inday was, silently berating her for not waking me up early when she was supposed to be my partner. Another group member named Allen who was left behind said Inday was in the bathroom in answer to my query.
Wrapping a towel around myself, I proceeded to the bathroom
to take a bath but Allen blocked my way and told me Inday was still in the bathroom. I just shrugged my shoulders and went on.
When Inday did not answer my knock, I pushed open the main door and decided to take a bath in the outer portion of the bathroom since Inday was in the shower. I quickly stripped off my underwears and took a bath using the pail under the faucet.
I was covered in soapsuds when the door of the shower room opened, indicating that Inday was through. Opening one eye to catch a glimpse of my would-be partner, I paled and froze in shock and gave a shout when I saw a big burly man with a small towel wrapped around his middle emerged from the door. Grabbing the towel, I hastily covered myself.
"Who are you?" both of us fired the question at the same time.
"I'm Inday, and you are...?" he seemed to have recovered from the shock first.
I did not answer his question but practically pushed him out of the door to continue with my bath.
A flustered Allen tried to explain amidst hysterical laughter that she did try to stop me from entering the bathroom but that I insisted.
Who would have ever thought that somebody named Inday would turn out to be somebody big and tall and very male?
Despite what happened, we still ventured out on our first day of selling books. On the very first house we visited, a portly woman clad in a checkered duster entertained us and showed obvious interest in our books. We were still halfway through our amateur's salestalk when she placed an order for a set of our children's books worth P1,800 and she wanted it delivered the very next day.
Needless to say, we were shocked and overjoyed to have such luck because we're both beginners. Although she did not give us deposits, we were still glad because its such a short term order.
Our leader congratulated us for our luck as we went out the following day to deliver the set of books to our customer. No one answered our knock for a long time but we were sure somebody was inside the house.
Upon our persistent knocks, the door suddenly opened and we were taken aback as our customer, the woman who ordered books the day before stared at us and through us as though she was seeing something else. Then she laughed hysterically and tore at her already unkempt hair. We stepped back, alarmed when a man whom we pressumed to be her husband came out and dragged her back into the house, shrugging his shoulders apologetically at us, silently sending us the message that the woman was not right in the head.
We went back to our headquarters laughing our head off at the unusual experience which remained unequalled all throughout the summer by anyone.