Brian's bathroom question made me remember this 7-year-old story. This is too good to keep to myself. May my Tito Ver forgive me 1,000 times over for sharing this with the world (and thus rekindling the embarrassment he suffered at the hands of friends and relatives for months afterward).
Amongst my relatives scattered through Makati, Mandaluyong, Cavite City, and Baliuag, Bulacan, we refer to The Restroom as CR, short for "Comfort Room." I suspect this is how Filipinos in general (well, okay, perhaps just the Tagalogs, not sure if this is true outside of that one sphere of influence) refer to that room.
Flashback to March, 2001. My Tito El (mother's eldest brother) was in the hospital and was not in very good shape. My mum and her two younger siblings (Tito Ver and Tita Mercy) were summoned back to Makati as Tito El's health had deteriorated. (In the meantime, back in the States, my cousin Kuya Sonny, and Tito El's eldest son, was keeping tabs on the situation, and we were making plans to basically drop everything and fly to Makati ... just in case ...)
Not long after they stepped off the plane after a long 12+ hour flight from California, my mum, uncle, and aunt were keeping vigil at Tito El's bedside. My uncle, Tito Ver, was so exhausted, he was just sitting outside the room, dozing off, when someone approached him, asking him where the restroom was.
Person: "Hey Boss, nasaan (ng) CR?" (Hey, Boss, where is the restroom?)
(Note: to my sleep-deprived uncle, that came out in his mind without the ng, which kind of changes the meaning of the sentence.)
Muzzy with sleep Tito Ver: "Excuse me?" (He believed he answered back in English.)
Person: "Nasaan (ng) CR?"
Tito Ver was still rather muzzy with sleep, so he asked the man to repeat, but this time, in Tagalog.
Person, who was probably wondering what was wrong with the moron sitting in front of him, repeated his question slowly, as if speaking to an ignorant child.
Tito Ver: "R? Sinong R? Wala akong kilalang R." (R? Who is R? I don't know any R.)
Person probably thought my uncle was stark raving mad and left. Sleepy Uncle didn't even realise what was going on ... until he cleared his mind and realised, much to his chagrin, that he thought that guy was asking him where some guy named R was! In Tagalog, that would come out like: Nasaan si R? (Where is R?)
As this happened several days before I arrived in Makati, my cousin Bong related this story to me (and I insisted he tell it to me in Tagalog as I figured it would have been funnier in Tagalog rather than being translated in his halting English), and I was rolling on the floor, laughing! Tito Ver, on the other hand, slunk lower in his chair, trying his level best to hide behind the day's newspaper ...
So I realise this one was probably lost in translation, and my non-Tagalog speaking friends hadn't understood why this story has me ROTFL every time I hear it. It's just the cute play on words type of joke that Filipinos tend to favour. It's cute and corny at the same time.
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