the MRT ambush interview

During the past twenty-three (insert adjective here) years of my life, I was never put on the spot just like that. It felt like I was on an informal job interview. You’re thinking so what’s the big deal?! Well, it was during a ride on public transportation. Just like the picture, it was that full, so imagine me

Yes, it was that full.

Yes, it was that full.

there, minding my business, playing with my cube while waiting for my stop. I think there was about 5-6 terminals before I reach my destination and I was so stupid not to bring my iPod Classic. Again, so there I was, at the third stop, I decided to play with my cube. I was used to play with it whenever I travel: on a bus, jeep, bike (?!)… But this time, one-handed cubing was my trip since my right index finger just got injured this morning while I was cleaning the bathroom. (Don’t ask me how.) There’s a little gash in between the first joint right above the knuckle so I can’t turn it quite well.

Going back, I had two decent OH solves, not quite fast considering my cramped sitting. Then I said to myself, “What the hell, let’s solve normally.” Then it began. The first regular solve was kinda ok, a little bothered by the pain on my finger. Then at the middle of my solve, an old guy to my left (right beside me), started asking me questions. He doesn’t look weird though, about 50-60 years old, balding and dressed like a business man. Then the younger guy beside him, about 30-45 years-old, with a full head of hair,with suttle signs of aging on his face joined in. Soon, people were all eyes on us three while they were “interrogating” me. The conversation went on like this:

Old Man: How fast do you solve? (quite loudly)

Me: Err… about 30 seconds? (surprised)

Old Man:  Oh really? How long did it take you to get that fast? (still loud)

Me: Uhmmm… About 3 mos? It’s really not that hard. You can learn in about a day.

Middle Aged Man: Really? What’s the world record for Rubik’s cube?

Me: (still cubing, now more slowly coz they were watching intently) 7 seconds.

M A M: Stop kidding me! He’s Japanese huh? How about the Philippine Record?

Me: Nope, I think he’s from the Netherlands. (I was thinking about Erik A.)

Old Man: That’s the Guiness Record?

Me: Uh.. yeah. (didn’t want to elaborate)

Old Man: (here’s the good part) I think he was just undoing the moves he was making while solving the damn thing. (he was talking to the other guy!)

M A M: (nodding but not quite agreeing maybe because I was looking. LOL!)

Old Man: Because when he solved it, he was looking at the cube while he was scrambling it again! He’s just undoing the moves later.

Me: Uhmmmm………… Not really. There’s a method to do it actually. (showing them)

Old Man: (obviously still not convinced) Magaling ka magmemorize noh? / You’re good at memorizing huh?

Me: No, no, I ‘m quite bad at memorizing, really.  (scrambling)

Old Man: Nakatingin ka pag ginugulo mo eh! You’re looking while you’re scrambling it!

Me: (Handing them my cube, silent for a few moments) You can scramble it if you want. I’ll solve it for you.

M A M: No, no! (quite embarrased and convinced)

Old Man: (looking at my cube for a while then decided to decline anyway.)

M A M: (changing the subject) There’s a blindfold competition right?

Me: Yeah, there is.

Old Man: Nakasali ka na ba sa mga contest? sa TV? Have you ever joined any contests?

Me: Not yet.

Old Man: Why isn’t there any contests?! (dunno what he was thinking)

M A M: Yeah, why not?

Me: There so many more cubers faster than me.. (smiling sheepishly)

Old Man and M A M: Really?! (quite shocked)

There you go, it was quite longer than that actually. So long that they weren’t finished asking me stuff when we were about to alight the train. (Incidentally, we had the same stop.) They thought my “KYUBER” (CUBER) shirt was just for show… It was kinda funny, looking back now. How people think that solving the thing is very hard or reserved for geniuses. I hope I changed the way they looked at cubing a bit.

It was like this on the way back when I cubed.

It was like this on the way back when I cubed.

On the way home, I only did two solves. On the terminal right before I go down. LOL. Ambush interviews, no more! I’m quite shy. (I think no one would believe it though.)

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