Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Dog for A Child

a dog

I had planned on sleeping off yet another somnolent November afternoon, but realizing I was headed for a complete one-eighty the moment my mother spoke to my father on the phone, I graciously allowed myself a short nap. Like most calls between my parents, it lasted long enough for me to dream about a universe not so different, but more wonderful, than our own. And in the middle of my driving a black Mercedes coupe while talking to a perfect stranger whose face I can no longer illustrate, I was awoken by my mother. Damn, I could practically feel the smooth leather seat of the Benz accommodating my butt. And I could almost see where the passenger and I were headed.

Before I came into my room I went outside to give our dog, Max, some water. No one else in the house ever gives him water after he has eaten. And so, if I were to be cast away to a deserted island for at least three days, I’m sure Max would die of thirst. Never mind that it constantly rains these days. Dogs don’t drink rain water. And I highly doubt Max would spend an iota of his strength licking water off the grass when he’s got better things to do like, oh I don’t know, destroy his house.

This morning as I was giving him a bath, I went on a muttering tirade on how big a pain in the ass he was. And as if he were a child fearing some serious spanking if he’d so much as blink while he was being reprimanded, he stood stoic. It was like giving some stuffed animal a bath; he didn’t move, which was totally unusual. But I was so irate that I continued to cuss at him. At one point, as I was lathering his mane, I imagined that he’d gone off his head and started gnawing on my face. And that I’d retaliate, of course, biting him on the back and pulling out his ears until they bled out. I had to stifle a laugh at my madness.

Having a dog is a responsibility, Especially one like Max who barks even at the leaves that fall from a tree. Imagine his exhilaration when a butterfly came fluttering above him; he barked like a crazed maniac running naked down the street. One time, he ceaselessly barked at the sky, and it was then that I thought of building a mental institution for deranged animals. Of course, reptiles would not be admitted. Never.

I think that people who decide to have a child should get a dog first. That way they experience hell first-hand. Not that having a child is hell, of course. Just that some people obviously think having one is all a bed of roses. Like having a cute little breathing doll sleeping in their arms is some trophy they could show their friends to prove their masculinity or femininity. Or to prove they can actually afford to feed a mouth. Having a child is more than being able to feed him. It’s more than having someone to pass your genes.

Oh fuck, what am I saying?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Memory of A Bubble

memory

Out of boredom, my cousins and I decided to play Jose Mari Chan’s Christmas album this morning. I know— way too early, right? We reckoned it was a perfect time to play Christmas songs since we were also talking about the party we’d be having. We sang along to the songs, poking fun at each other’s weak attempt at a vibrato. And before my mind could drift into a complete holiday overdrive—oh the thoughts of Christmas shopping, gifts, Noche Buena, and the like- track six exploded through the speakers, pulling me, if for a moment, from reality. ‘A Perfect Christmas’ sent me on a trip to memory lane faster than I could eat a whole banana.

I was in my freshman year in college, second semester. And it was my class in Filipino I, and my fifty-something professor could not have been any funnier with her futile effort at sounding like a true-blue Tagalog, stifling a laugh during class was as difficult as getting the highest possible grade in Algebra. So, not wanting to humiliate myself—and the professor—should I be unable to control my amusement, I sat at the back of the class. There, I was able to take no notice of the self-inflicted mess the professor brought upon herself. But it didn’t help that I aced every exam she had given, thereby etching my face and my name into her memory, because she frequently took glances at me as if awaiting for a nod or something. I maintained a poker-face in response, pretending to be all-ears when all the while my mind was wandering on an alternate universe. Ah, college!

The seat I occupied through the rest of the course was next to the door, giving me sufficient distraction from the droning class discussions, and escape from having no choice but hearing my classmates gab about their favourite local celebrities. The horror! I thought I was going to rely on looking out the door to keep myself from falling asleep in the middle of the class, but one day I just found him sitting next to me.

Olsen.

I had noticed him during the first few meetings. He was kind of hard to miss, you see; blame it on the deep-set eyes, floppy hair, cinnamon skin, and great teeth. Of course I immediately fell in-lust, but was quick enough to dismiss it. But then it just happened.

I must have either been daydreaming of yet another random faceless guy or silently singing to myself (like, what else could I have been doing) when he first said ‘hello’. I was not the one to neither complain nor question why he was suddenly beside me—and I don’t think I would have been able or wanted to with palpitations at the sight of him- so I responded with a ‘hi’ and a smile. Before I knew it, the excitement of having him sit next to me—to talk, smile, and laugh with- had changed into familiarity. Count on me to unlike someone once he starts opening up. Weird.

I liked the way he talked; he kept a sincere amount of eye contact, he spoke fluent English (of course!), he seemed to listen sympathetically. He shared about his life in the seminary (he dropped out on his second year, saying he realized he didn’t belong there), his love for songs (he was a fan of the Beetles), political views (like me then, he was politically passive), frustrations and dreams. His openness bowled me over that I felt at-ease in reciprocating.

We were in a bubble.

He had an infectious laugh which he tried to suppress each time I pointed out our professor’s mistakes. And I also found myself laughing at his rather witty remarks. There were times when he’d sing to me his favourite songs, and I would feel little butterflies in my stomach. He asked me to sing, too, but I never did solo; I argued that unlike him, I wasn’t born with a good set of pipes. So he sang with me. One November afternoon, we talked about Christmas songs that we liked, and Jose Mari Chan’s ‘A Perfect Christmas’ sparked some four-minute fireworks between us. What caused the spark? When out of the blue, without any prior agreement, just by looking at each other, we changed the line “In the cool breeze of December” to “In the cool breeze of November”. After finishing the song, we giggled silently, feeling somewhat amazed at the fluke. Since then, when we found ourselves unable to escape the dullness of the class, and we seem to have run out of things to talk about, we sing ‘A Perfect Christmas’.

Olsen and I met outside of class many times. We spent time at the gym, canteen, and practically everywhere we went. We’d text each other and meet at the top floor of the school building, where students rarely stayed to kill the time. There we’d sing our lungs out, talk, laugh, and play. And by play, I meant we’d pull each other’s ears, I’d mess up his hair (which he liked a lot), we’d squeeze other’s nose, and nudge each other’s side. He’d put his arms around my shoulder and I’d pinch him under his arms. I’d feel little butterflies from time to time when we were together, but it was all chummy fun for me. Of course, at the back of my mind I’d ask myself if he ever feels the butterflies, too. But all in all, it was just two guys being very pally.

Then, he started asking me out for dinner at his house. A persistent, although not irritating, invitation which I had to turn down because I knew how dinner-at-home could end, especially with his family not being around that time. And besides, when I asked him why it had to be at his house, when it could be somewhere else, he replied that so we could get to know each other deeper. Like all the time we spent together wasn’t enough.

I kept turning his invite down each time that I thought he’d distance himself from me, but he didn’t. Unfortunately though, when the course ended, our bubble burst. The last time we were together was after our final exam. He hurried after me as I went out of the room, and said we'd be seeing each other the following semester. But we never did see each other again. Just like our bubble, he disappeared. Poof.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Temper Overdrive

temper

Just when I thought I had fully kept my anger management issues securely tucked in a closet, I burst into a silent fit of rage, proving that what once was hidden will eventually come out.

 I thought I was going to implode when I learned that our driver moved the car from the mall’s main parking lot to the parking area outside the mall’s compound—to that side of the street where tricycles were parked rather irresponsibly at the mall entrance. I hated parking at that area during the day, because for someone who’s just started driving for two months (ergo the need for a driver by the passenger seat to keep me ‘company’, especially since my license has yet been released), manoeuvring through the tricycles that were parked before our car was extremely difficult. The drivers just stood there, not moving their tricycles out of the way, as if expecting me to drive with hairline clearances from either side. I cursed beneath my breath as I minded the wheel and the brake. Eventually I got through it without a scratch on the paint.

Seething, I asked our driver why he moved the car. And he replied that it was for me to be able to learn faster. Hell, blood shot through my head for the reason that I had already told him not to force the ‘hairline clearance’ on me, it was just too soon. I mean, come on! It's not fair of him to expect me to be as good of a driver as he is; he basically grew up driving tractors. I, on the other hand, grew up... well, I grew up doing many things but driving!

I didn’t know what came over me, and so I stepped on the pedal, and the car shot like a bullet on the street. Good thing there weren’t many vehicles. As I stopped for the red light, we noticed thick white smoke coming out of the tailpipe. The smoke was so thick it looked like someone was burning dried leaves under the vehicle.

After some checking, research, and with a help from my uncle, I learned that it was probably because I cranked the engine up too soon. Or the ‘dirt’ that the diesel had accumulated. Still, I was worried hell I even posted at Yahoo! Answers. I re-read the manual, visited countless forums, and asked from people. I got the same answers. But just to be safe, we’re taking the car to the dealer tomorrow to have it checked.

I was seething the whole afternoon that I didn’t talk to anyone. My mum, who was with me during the smoke incident surprisingly did not give a lecture but instead told me to have my temper under control.

I was a bit surprised and troubled at how anger got the better of me. It now seems like that ‘volcanic temperament’ I had in college, the one my friends feared, is back. Clearly, I have some self-assessing to do. I can’t let that side of me resurface. I can’t go back to throwing things and yelling at people. I can’t let anger take residence in my core again.

I guess I’ve had too much anger bottled up for months now. I haven’t been able to vent my negativity, and so apparently the lid has been knocked over. Yes, I have always believed that anger is a part of everyday emotions, that it is a vital sensation. I’ve always had anger in me, but the anger that took hold of my consciousness today, that anger I had tried to maim for years… it’s just… I don’t want it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Heart Attack at 25

heart

There are many ways to define quarter-life crisis. There are many ways but experiences vary from one person to another. I would like to copy-paste every definition I’ve found on the Internet, but hell knows it’s going to be a mile long. And I’m not entirely amused at the thought of digressing, so I guess it’s better speaking for myself.

I’ve read numerous articles/blogs of people experiencing this so-called plague. It’s pandemic, you see. It’s part of life. I don’t think there is one single person in the world that has not gone through, or is going through, or will be going through it. There’s just no escaping, so might as well face it. Yes, it’s hard. Hell, that’s an understatement.

So what is quarter-life crisis for me, you ask?

It’s waking up in the morning, realizing that the day will be the same as yesterday. Not having a stable job sure has something to do with it, but my situation is a catch-22 kind wherein I am hindered from getting a permanent job until things are ironed out to my benefit. It doesn’t help that people—especially those who don’t know my situation—hammer me rhetorical questions like, “You still don’t have a job?” with rather belittling stares. I used to retort with something like, “Yeah, the beauty of having a trust fund is I get to enjoy life without having to go through shit like you do,” and some people would either shut up looking uneasy, or give a blank face, which all the time makes me wonder if they even understood what I said. Lately I just plaster a half-baked smile and roll my eyes, which thankfully most people take as a hint to keep their nose out of my case. What people don’t know is that I would, in a snap, trade opulent time watching Discovery Travel and Living for a job, thank you very much.

Whatever time a person needs in a lifetime to think, to contemplate, about his existence, I’m sure I must have used up all of mine—some in advance. Part of the crisis is thinking too much, which is roughly relative to how much free time one has.

It’s questioning every relationship I have, grilling every intention people have concerning me, and re-evaluating people’s worth in my life. Sometimes there’s a sudden and overpowering sense of loneliness that makes me want to just be surrounded by friends. Some days I feel like floating in the middle of the Pacific without a vest to keep me afloat, and those are the days when not a single friend is in reach. I guess it’s being needy, and it is brought about by wanting to feel sympathy especially from people who are going through the same sort of thing.

It’s wanting to go back to school, and take up a course that I actually like and know I can be really good at. It’s like a consuming hunger that weakens me from the inside. My head is itching to take up Psychology. I know, spare me the “then you should’ve taken Psychology back in college” speech. I didn’t know any better, I didn’t know what I wanted.

One attribute of quarter-life crisis is feeling that everyone you know seems to be going somewhere while you’re stuck in that pit hole, regardless of whether you’re sitting behind a desk, facing a computer draining your wits on Excel. Or making inventory. Or holding a scalpel in the operating room. Or, like me, lying in bed contemplating about a possible life in Mars should our planet collapse from tremendous abuse. My friends seem to be having something going on in their life: others have stable jobs, others have already started a family, while some have gone back to school. At barkada events, someone gets to say “I have to go home, got work tomorrow” or “I have to go, boyfriend and I are going out for dinner”. Me, I get to say “OK, I’ll see when I see you.” And most of the time it’s a one-man show for obvious reasons.

Waking up has become a belaboured task; some days I just want to curl up in bed, praying silently for my plaid mattress to swallow me whole. One word: monotonous, that’s how my days are sometimes. Most of the time. And for people who think it’s an easy life to live, they’re badly mistaken.

People look at me and they see that big smile stretched from ear to ear. They take notice of how I am able to see the lighter side of things, finding reasons to laugh at almost anything. They must think I am utterly happy (and yes, happiness is a state of mind), but they don’t really know what goes through my mind. They don’t seem to get that beneath the happy disposition I have these days, I am just a boy looking for his place under the sun.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

It's Not All Ondoy

Ondoy. Now where do I begin?

Those who were ill-fated enough to have suffered from the typhoon Ondoy are probably asking the same thing except that while I am asking myself where to start with this post (which I have obviously answered, thank you), the victims of the typhoon are asking where, or rather ‘how’, to begin with their lives. Again. It’s a question that’s difficult to ask, and even more difficult to answer.

I was not fond of watching news on TV for I have always found it sickening, watching too much depressing reports. At this age, I think roughly 75 per cent of the news being broadcast on prime time—especially on prime time—is ‘bad’ news. But the past week, I found myself waiting for the hourly news update. I just had to know. I felt that it was my responsibility to at least be aware of what some of us Filipinos were going through. It was like hurricane Katrina in New Orleans—Filipino version. I can’t begin to express how sad I was—still am—for all the people who have gone through such an ordeal.

And yes, it was still sickening. It was depressing seeing the damage Ondoy caused. I thought I was going to shed tears watching people fighting for their lives against nature’s wrath. I especially felt extremely awful seeing how miserable the survivors were at the evacuation areas. Aren’t those places supposed to be refuge? I couldn’t help but cringe at the sight of (no, not the dead bodies scattered across an ocean of mud) people blaring and falling in line, waiting for relief goods (some help, if you must) to be given to them. It was too much. It was like watching a grim movie, only that it was real, and the thought of it made me cringe even more.

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The disaster is a wake-up call to us, not just to the victims but to every one of us. I’d like to paraphrase a conclusion that a man in authority pointed out: the typhoon was an act of God, but the damage was an act of man. Yes, indeed. The typhoon was not brewed in some factory and unleashed for some experimentation; it was beyond anyone’s control. The damage, however, could have at least been lessened had we been concerned and willing enough to care for our environment. Ondoy was trying to teach us that no one is invincible. See, even the rich got their share of misfortune; nature’s wrath does not discriminate according to economic or social status.

Filipinos know very well how to laugh amidst crisis, and it was still evident even during Ondoy’s aftermath. But really, I don’t think our buoyancy is enough to save us. It sure helps, but it’s never enough. Is buoyancy helping those who have lost their houses and loved ones? Those who are stuck in classrooms among fourteen other families who don’t have anything to eat? Those who line for hours and hours to get a plastic bag of food? Oh, and I’m sure buoyancy did not help those who died in the flash floods.

We must understand, like everyone else in the world, that our planet is not an eternal place. We must stop abusing nature, and start treating it as if it were some fragile glass that need extra care in handling. And surely it is a fragile planet we have. And why am I ranting this environmental issue? Because we abuse our world too much. Because no one can deny that the rubbish that has clogged up the waterways is one of the reasons why Marikina, among other places, was swamped. Because I hate it when people throw trash everywhere. Hello, garbage bins, anyone?! Because the government can’t find time to resolve the waste control and disposal problem of our country, but was able to find time to discuss some video scandal. It’s been decades and still collected garbage isn’t properly attended to. How about the government spending some time—and budget- informing, creating a system, helping people dispose rubbish properly. What, the government can pay for a pricey dinner but can’t afford a good sewage system and equipment to scoop out trash from rivers?

It’s not just the government. It’s us individuals, too. Is it too much to ask for beachgoers to take their junk home and dispose it there rather than leave it scattered on the shore? Are smokers really that lazy to just throw cigarette butts on the streets? They’re called ‘streets’ not ashtray!

I really think more and more people should start watching global warming specials on Discovery Channel than some stale themed afternoon and prime time TV shows. Or say, rent global warming documentaries from video exchange shops rather than low-budget vampire movies. That way, they will be aware of what exactly is happening to our planet.

We all play a role in the development of our world; we also play a role in its destruction. And at the rate we’re abusing nature, it’s only a matter of time before something like Ondoy happens again.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Am Not My Hair

hair

It’s a Friday. And while I had planned on going out for the night, here I am sitting in a cold room listening to Tori as she sings of a blossoming (and at the same time, unlikely) relationship—something I can very well relate to as of this very moment. While the rest of the household is glued to the boob tube, watching the one-hour series finale of Tayong Dalawa (seriously, when they say the ending is “unpredictable”, trust me, it’s still predictable), I have resigned to drowned myself with songs and the gushing strong wind which I can hear despite the hum of the AC and the sound from the desktop speakers.

I ditched the going-out plan for no apparent reason. Well, okay, maybe there is a reason. Maybe there’s more than one reason. Yes, there probably are reasons why I changed my plan. But I don’t know what those reasons are. Oh, hell, who cares? I already made a choice, and so I must deal with it. And besides, a storm is brewing. I don’t want risk getting wet, and suffer from extreme cold while hailing for a ride. My nose is in no condition to tolerate the bitter cold.

I had my hair buzzed earlier this evening. It’s a fortnightly affair to keep my hair from looking like a complete and utter disappointment. What with the receding hairline and all. It’s frustrating to have a hair of a forty-year old man when you’re just twenty five. I can complain, but it’s not like doing so will grow my hair.

Someone once told me that this ‘receding hairline’ thing is a trend now. And I was like, “Really? ‘Cause the last time I looked around, most of the guys around my age still have virgin forests on their skull.”

But I once saw on TV though that somewhere in Europe (I think), a great number of men have receding hairline. And it’s quite a swell fashion there that they’re actually showing off their buzzed heads. A research (I just don’t know how credible) was also said to have found that women (and some men) find it sexy having little hair. Well, whatever!

It’s in the genes, most probably; it’s not because I wear a cap often. From my father’s side, most of the boys have the family trademark of mane deprivation. And from my mother’s side, well, let’s just say they aren’t exactly the ones with thick hair. It’s in the genes, yes. So the cap thing has nothing to do with it. If it has, well, then it plays an irrelevant part. So spare me, I’m going to wear my cap anytime I want to.

I just find it a tad annoying that some people actually have the audacity to comment—and sometimes even poke fun at—about my hair. Fuck you, I think. Unless I’m shaving your head and using your hair to make a toupee, you have no—and I mean, absofuckinglutely NO—right to ridicule me.

My lack of hair does not make me any less of a man. And in the same way, your having a rather bushy head does not make you, in any way, better than me. Sure you may have a shot at being a shampoo model, so? We’re all going to grow bald anyway; I’m just one of those who are growing bald sooner. And if you have a problem with that, go get yourself a shrink—and a counsel—‘cause you have some serious issues.

I am not my hair. And what I lack in hair, I certainly make up for in brains.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Auditory Bliss

audit

Good music is subjective; what passes as good music to one person may sound awful to others.

I remember listening to my grandparents’ vinyl records of ABBA, The Supremes, and Carpenters when I was seven years old. I was still too small to reach the gramophone then, which was enclosed in a huge—I mean gigantic—cabinet that also held two large wooden speakers, but I remember using every iota of strength I had to climb on a high chair to open the cabinet and play the records. I would listen to them every morning, after my grandmother had given me a shower.

My parents both love music. From them, I heard the likes of Seals and Croft, Eagles, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Bread, America, Simon and Garfunkel, etc. I remember singing along to these artists’ songs in the afternoon when, despite my mother’s efforts, I just couldn’t find the will to nap.

At a pretty young age, I was exposed to music- music that children around my period didn’t know of. So at the time when kids from my neighbourhood sang the theme to Batibot and Sineskwela, I sang “Leader of the Band”, “Skyline Pigeon”, and “Terminal”.

Of course, I’ve been exposed to other genres of music. When I reached my teen years, I listened to what my classmates listened to, if only to be able to sing along with them during recess. And during those times when a great number of music videos’ concept was having the singer’s face on the entire screen for the whole duration of the video, I listened to boy bands, divas, and pop royalties. Like any other kid in the mid-90’s, I enjoyed the types of music which every radio station liked—or were forced—to play.

My penchant for music that was beyond my generation’s usual—and widespread—taste didn’t die, of course; it was simply put on hold, burning dimly but constantly, as I would, although silently most of the time, continue to hum songs like “Starlight Express”, “Yesterday”, and “Imagine” before I went to bed. When I think about it now, my fondness for old (for lack of better word) songs spawned my love for, what someone once described as, “not so common” music. In short, it wasn’t mainstream. Someone even went beyond and called it “unusual”. I have nothing against mainstream music. I listen to it; like I said, I enjoy it. Sometimes. It’s just that I think it lacks a certain depth, a certain ‘personality’. It lacks the capacity to stir me, to exemplify who I am as a person. You see, I believe that a person’s preference in music says a great deal about him. When I want to get to know a person, I usually ask what kind of music he listens to, sort of musical interrogation. And if I’m lucky, it breaks the ice. I judge a person partly by the kind of music he’s into (yes, I judge people!). I see it as an indication whether or not we’d get along.

Some people I know don’t listen to the same types of music I listen to. And I honestly think that my relation towards music—how it influences me, how I allow it to do so—is just different from others. I guess I take songs on a different level. I like ‘dissecting songs’, as I call it. I go through a great effort in getting to know a song- why it was written, what emotion spawned it, how it fits into my personal life.

I think, too, that my sense of exploration regarding music is way bolder than people would expect. I don’t find it remotely surprising that I can sing along to all the songs the radio is playing. And I don’t find it surprising either that when I ask some people if they’ve heard this song from this artist, they shake their heads no.

More than the melody, I find myself drawn to the lyrics, especially the ones that are not pretentious, not candy-coated. I like lyrics that are ‘hardcore’, those that slap you in the face, like Alanis Morisssette’s that aim straight without dragging any sense of dullness. I admit, I am not a love-song fan, although I can sing practically every love song in a karaoke machine (blame it on familiarity); I think it’s too banal, too bubble-gum. And songs of that kind wear me out easily. I listen to basically anything that I can relate to. I don’t dismiss a song until I have heard its last note, and chewed on its lyrics. But there are those songs that I just can’t stand.

In college, I spent my days discovering music from practically everywhere. I listened to as much unheard music I could find, also slipping in critically lauded—albeit in limited brackets of audience—songs in the veins of Radiohead, Alana Davis, R.E.M, Moby, Beth Orton, Nirvana, Semisonic, Sarah McLachlan, Coldplay, Norah Jones, Sting, etc. I also dug backwards, absorbing outstanding works of The Cure, Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin, Fleetwood Mac, Marvin Gaye, and others.

In the past three years, I’ve amassed a diverse digital collection, and of course a hardcore passion, for music that gratifies my craving for remarkable auditory experience. The Killers, Stars, Sean Fournier, The Cardigans, Rufus Wainwright, Sarah Slean, Carolina Liar, Stereophonics, The Flaming Lips, Spiritualized, Mathclub, The Verve, Fiona Apple, Citizen Cope, Damien Rice, Joshua Radin, Placebo, Sia. The list goes on for me. There just too much I can’t miss. With so much music in the entire world, it’s a habit that’s impossible to quit.

I take pride at the fact that my iTunes library does not hold “I’ll Be”, among other cheesy, schmaltzy love songs. I am not reluctant to say that roughly seventy per cent of the songs in my iPod have never been played on local radio. I am proud that some of my friends have come to make me their “music updater”, asking: “What new songs/artists have you discovered lately?” I relish the fact that I can associate every song I like to a certain person, situation, emotion, and thought. Ask me to give a soundtrack for a specific situation or mood, and I can give you a playlist in minutes.

Now, I remember when a houseguest came for a short vacation some years ago, and I was playing Tori Amos on the stereo. He said, “What’s that? You listen to that kind of music?” I wanted to answer his rhetorical queries, but I shut my mouth. Of course he couldn’t appreciate Tori Amos—he listens to Gary Valenciano and Celine Dion. Like I said, good music is subjective.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back At One

bacl

For some reasons, I have not been able to write for the past two months. It was a disease—I could not even start a sentence, let alone a topic. My mind blanked each time I tried, and I was comfortable with it. It did not bother until recently, when I found the urge, the necessity, to write but couldn’t. I thought I’d completely lost it, and I think- well, it’s too soon to tell if I have not, in fact, lost it.

I’ve been maintaining another blog—one which I’d ‘built’ way before this one. I built it to have an outlet for the things that I could not express out loud, for things that even though I’ve already let out still needed some discussing. I found a perfect medium to express myself, and grow in my writing. I’ve met some kind people who followed my blog, and some of them I keep still keep in-touch with through text. It felt ridiculously cathartic, and gratifying, that those people were able to relate to what I had to say, and that they like what I’ve been writing. And that’s when I started to be overwhelmed- suddenly, their praises were beginning to take weight on my shoulders. I knew I was only as good as my last post, which seems to be the case around my blogging network. I started to feel like I was obliged to write to keep those people entertained. I never wanted to entertain, I only wanted to write.

I have decided to keep the other blog, just in case. And it’s just difficult to take it down. It may not be as big as other people’s blogs, but I’ve built a name from it. And I know that some of those ‘blog friends’ are just waiting for me to return.

There’s just too much on my mind lately, and I no longer have control. I just want to go back to the basics of writing—to that point when I didn’t care if people liked my post.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Can't Decide

can't decide
There are a dozen things I suck at—Math (undeniably), writing (what better proof), even in simple things like making a perfect sunny side up for breakfast, or slicing a cake. And that’s just to name a few. One of the things I’m definitely not good at is giving advices—the solicited ones. As for the unsolicited ones, I think I’m good at it. You see, I don’t think one can suck at giving unsolicited advices.

It’s a myth that people who suck at decision-making give good advices (but whoever said that). Because my not being good at giving advices springs from my poor decision-making skill. If only deciding was a simple as selecting. Like when you were a child and you had to choose what ice cream flavour you wanted: chocolate, vanilla, or mango. Vanilla! With selecting, you are given options; with deciding, more often, you are to give yourself the options and later on choose from them. Hair-splitting, I know. As we get older, the decisions we make get bigger and more complex. Or it could just be me. I could be missing a factor here. More likely, from the sky fell millions of copies of manual on decision making while I was drooling in bed.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Harmonica at Eventide

bernard
In your jeans I slept
Another casualty
After I had given you the pleasure
Of my mouth

I crept out of it wet
Tip-toed outside so no one
Could hear me giggle
Gasped for air

I looked back
Another glance at the flesh
Stretched exhausted
Wet

Morning came
At the hall
We exchanged glances
Amongst strangers

You did not speak
I did not smile
We were strangers again
Amongst the crowd

Then night came
In your jeans, once again
Another casualty
Another pleasure

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Had Me A Trick

had me a trick

At a birthday party, while my friends were gathered into a small crowd on the porch getting sloshed, I was sitting in the living room, watching Fairly Odd Parents with Kian, the celebrant’s seven-year old nephew from California. The only sound that filled the room was that of the television—it wasn’t loud enough to have my attention fixed on what I was trying to watch—and the kid’s chuckles which strangely reminded me of Donald Duck. It felt foolish having to bend over close to the TV set to hear the sound. I wondered if the kid was good at lip reading. I’d tried to deliberately disturb him by asking questions and he’d reply without taking his eyes of the boob tube.

Some multitasking skill this child has.

When the cartoon concluded, I finally saw Kian shift his gaze to me, if for a fraction of a second.

”You like Odd Parents, too?” Kian asked with a lisp on ‘parent’, and turned his attention back to the TV.

Adorable, I thought genuinely.

Despite my friends’ pushing, I was adamant not to drink a single bottle of beer. I wanted to drink, but at the risk of having a heavy head in the morning, when I had committed to run a laundry list of errands in preparation for the coming fiesta, I appeased the urge with Coke.

“Well, I, um… no. But I like—”

“ Kian!” a voice cut me.

I turned to where the voice came, and saw Trick standing at the door. He cast a glance at me and nodded. I raised my brows in response and smiled.

“Patrick!” Kian said, excitement in his voice.

“Hey, give me five,” Trick said as he squatted in front of the kid and raised his hand for a high five. Kian gleefully hit Trick’s open hand, giving a swatting sound.

I watched as Trick chatted with Kian animatedly, talking about Spider-man—which I heard the kid say was his favourite superhero. I felt a tinge of admiration watching them, having weakness for guys who had fondness for kids—something I wasn’t born with.

I had met Trick countless times already; Al, the birthday guy, introduced us back in college. We’d sometimes bump into each other in malls, church, and school grounds but we’ve never actually exchanged anything more than ‘hi, hello.’

Trick was of average height. He liked wearing semi-fitted shirt that revealed his lean, albeit not gym-toned, body. Since college, he’s always had a buzz cut, which shows a defined round face adorned with prominent brown eyes and an aquiline nose.


It must have seemed that I was in a trance looking at Trick, and smiling, when I felt a warm breath on my ear.

“You’re salivating like a dog,” Al whispered silently.

“Ugh,” I rolled my eyes. “Shut up,” I ordered. Al was, of course, aware of my crush on Trick but had promised silence.

Al told Kian it was past his bedtime and after a few protests—and Al’s pretending to ignore Kian’s plea, and even threatening not to take him to see the famous Tarsier—the poor kid resigned to be taken to his mom.

Trick sat on Kian’s chair after the latter had left with his uncle, saying “Goodnight!” as they climbed up the stairs. Trick, resting back on the chair, turned to me and smiled. He rolled his eyes as if searching for something to say. I cast sideways glances while pretended to be watching some lame TV commercial that seemed to last longer than advertisements should.

“Why are you here? You’re supposed to be outside, drinking, ” he started with a smile.

I quit the pretending-to-watch-TV charade and shifted my position to a comfortable one where I could stare at him straight.

“It’s quite cold outside, and I'm not supposed to be drinking tonight. Have some things to do tomorrow. The beauty of staying at your parents’ house,” I hinted at the joke, knowing he, too, was still living off with his parents.

“Just a few bottles wouldn’t hurt. I remember you were good at keeping your alcohol,” he winked. We had once been in the same drinking spree back in college, back when I could drink all night and still be sober.

I felt like an arrow shot through my chest. Not wanting to put my foot in my mouth, like I did when I got that tinge in my chest cavity, I tried to shove the feeling away.

“And besides, Al’s told me about your reputation.” There was a hint of jest in his tone.

My curiosity was piqued. Was he trying to play me or did Al actually tell him something? Al had a tendency to be such a big mouth, so I wasn’t sure. “Reputation, huh? What exactly did Mr. Blabbermouth tell you?”

I hadn’t realize we’ve said more than ‘hi, hello’ until we were talking about Switchfoot. Turned out we liked almost the same type of music. The tiny tinge in my chest had faded without my noticing as we talked about music, beer, zombie movies, gadgets, and coffee. It was in the middle of our talking about the movie ‘Red Dragon’ when I finally decided to switch the TV off, not that it was any disturbance whatsoever with its almost inaudible sound, when he dragged the chair, pulling it with all his strength—complaining “Damn, this is heavy”—and sitting just a few inches before me.

He persuaded me to have “at least one bottle” of beer when he stood up to get one for himself. I acquiesced when he swore “only one bottle, nothing more” with a beseeching look on his face. But of course, when someone makes you a promise, there’s a chance his fingers are crossed behind his back.



I remembered the things that I needed to do the next morning when I realized that I’d already drank five or so bottles of beer and we were on the porch with the rest of our friends, although we both cut ourselves from the group to a bamboo bench on a corner. We sat close together that I could feel his warm body, and continued our conversation.We were talking face to face, as if the music from the radio that played a disco track and the voices of our friends were drowning our own voices out. His face was merely a few inches from mine; his breath smelled faintly of cigarette and beer.

One could possibly mistake it for a pot session when everyone else in the group was dancing. And I burst laughing almost out of breath when Trick stood up and started dancing like a macho dancer when a Bob Marley song started playing. I cheered him on, refusing to submit when he motioned me to dance. I could have gotten myself off on the spot when Trick took off his peach coloured shirt and threw it at me. It smelled good; I couldn’t place what scent it was but it smelled like a baby’s cologne. I was in heat, literally. I twirled the shirt above my head, cheering him on.

Trick stopped dancing immediately after ‘Amber’ ended. He couldn’t stop laughing. I threw his shirt back at him, and he wiped his face.

I lauded Trick, screaming some almost incoherent cheer as if i were watching at a real club. He chuckled.

He looked sweltering with sweat trickling down one side of his face, I thought I was going to faint. I could hear my own heart beat. His chuckle slowly lightened when he looked at me. I crossed my brows, ill at ease. He took a bottle from the floor and drank it down.

He put his shirt back on, and I thought that I have been too obvious with my thoughts. But as his head popped out of the shirt, he chuckled once again. I sighed relief.

“You’re spending the night here?” He asked, standing up and getting two bottles from the cooler.

“No, I’m no longer drinking that. ” I said.

He gave a look of surprise mixed with discontent as he handed me the bottle. He winked, and I knew I had to take the bottle from his hand. And so I did, as he sat back next to me.

The guests started to bid good-bye and hugged Al for yet another set of birthday greetings. It was two in the morning. Oh, shit! I talked to one of my friends who had offered to give me a ride home. But he had forgotten about me reasoning that he thought I’d already gone home because he didn’t’ notice I was with Trick on a “dark corner”, as he put it, and had already given my seat to someone else. “You naughty,” he added with a nudge on my chest.

“I’ll drive you home,” Trick spoke from behind me. I had to turn around and ask to be sure he was talking to me. “Come on, it’s on the way,” he winked.

On the way, Trick was silent except when he talked about music, out-of-nowhere, and laughed. He offered we stop by at a 24-hour mart for coffee, and I agreed. We decided to buy some pills, too, to lessen the hangover that was sure to hit us when we woke up. We drove to a nearby bank and drank coffee on its steps. After we took the pills and drank from the same bottle of water, we got in his ash colored KIA Picanto. We drove in silence, which I was then sure was brought by exhaustion when he yawned. When we reached my place, I thanked him a couple of times.


“Do you have keys?”

“Nah, I’ll just ring our help.”

He rolled his window down and looked at our house, then at the clock on the dashboard. It was almost four in the morning.

“Let’s go to my place.” he said, looking at the rear-view mirror.

I didn’t respond. Truth was, I’d been praying like hell inside for something like it to happen but dismissed it on the accounts of delusion.

Silence hung thick between us, until I finally smiled at him. “You don’t snore, do you?” I didn’t know what I was thinking but it was the first thing that came to mind. I felt ridiculous, starting to put a foot in my mouth.

We got into his room quietly, not wanting to wake anyone up. He flicked the switch and a fluorescent bulb illuminated the room. I was trying to grasp details in his room, but what kept echoing in my mind was that I was about to sleep in Trick’s bed. After he had taken off his shoes, he took off his shirt.

He opened a built-in cabinet, pulled out a shirt, and handed it to me. It smelled softly of mothballs. He took a pair of surfing shorts and tossed it over. I said that I was okay with wearing jeans to sleep, and he was surprised, saying he couldn’t sleep with his jeans on. Not much to my surprise, he took his jeans off. Now, it was a sight, it was! He wore low-rise black underwear that I could see his trail of happiness. I handed him the shorts he had offered, and he slipped into them.

He was bare-chested, and I took that he slept without a shirt on when he closed the cabinet. He watched while I took my shirt off and changed into his. When we were ready to go to bed, he flicked off the light and let me go under the thick comforter that was spread on his bed before he laid beside me.

I closed my eyes, but opened them again when I felt his breath on my face. I kept silent, immobilized. Then my muscles tightened, as I’d anticipated, when he lifted his weight to move closer. His nose brushed mine, and it was then that I could practically hear angels from behind me sing in chorus.

I kept my eyes open, to meet his, as he puckered his lips and pressed them into mine.



I woke up to the ringing of my phone. Eyes closed, I reached on the side, and opened my eyes when I couldn’t feel a table. I turned to my left, and there he was, face flat on the pillow, facing my direction. I remembered everything – every detail of what happened; it all seemed surreal. The ringing jerked me from running my eyes from his face down to his back.

I reached for my pocket, but realized I was in my underwear when I felt skin instead of leather. I found my jeans on the floor and fished the phone out of the pocket. I answered to the high pitched voice of my mom, asking me where I was.

I gently shook Trick’s shoulder as soon as the call ended, and gladly he woke up without any more shaking. He sat up and held a hand on his head. “What time is it?”

“I have to get home.” I replied, staring at his chest, remembering how just a couple of hours ago I ran my fingers on it. He looked a bit grouchy. When I was ready, he wore his shorts and led me to the gate. He offered to drive me home, but I refused.

“No headaches?” He opened the gate.

“Nope.” I said.

He yawned, and then smiled. “Told you the pills would work.”

There were things that I wanted to ask, but at the realization that it couldn’t be more than what it was, and at the risk of having my mom chopping my head off, I said goodbye. He said goodbye, and I turned to walk away.

That was two weeks ago.


Four days ago, I was enjoying my lunch at KFC, trying to sink my teeth into a huge chicken burger when I saw him buying a fruit shake at a nearby stand. He looked at my direction and his face lighted up when he saw me.

I could feel my heart race. Took a long sip of drink, as he approached.

“Hi.” He smiled.

“Trick.” I said, not trying to hide the glee in my tone

He wore an apple green shirt, and a pair of cargo shorts. He pulled a seat and we talked. There wasn’t any talk, though, about that night- much to my relief. I wasn’t exactly sure it was the right time to talk about it -if we were ever to talk about it. I invited him to join me, but he declined on the reason that he was going to meet his sister. We chatted for a while before he got a message, and had to leave.

“I’ll see you around.” He winked as he stood up. I wanted to ask for his number, just slightly disappointed that he didn’t ask for mine. But I reckoned we were living in a small city, we’ll certainly be seeing each other.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Samson

samson

 

take this
i swear i can do without
it is like heavy rain on a good day
washing, washing me away
and i swore i would not bite
but starvation has got its knife

as he brought his boxers down
i breathed, sighed relief
his reality strikes big as it hangs
well beyond my expectations
he affirms his thorn is sweet
as a swain's dialect

it must be perfect
i breathe as they breathe down my neck
with croissants and pistols
i knew i had to stand in the middle
as others before have and failed
learned with stain on their hands

while my heart puckers
it too shall gain
i swore i would do without
and i did for a moment as they spectate
throwing roses with thorns
sweet as his popsicles

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Boy, Disappearing

disappear

I’m looking at you, ambivalent. Thinking whether or not to believe you, or at least the philosophies you want me to think you have. Nah, I doubt you really have them in you. It’s easy these days to say things, especially to a boy who fell off his bike and everyone looked at him—no, they didn’t laugh, but their eyes where mocking with amusement, sheer amusement at his falling down, and probably at the fact that he was such a klutz. You said things were meant to happen, like how you were meant to find a missing book that you thought you’d lost when you needed to lend it to him. Oh yes, him. You’d do just about everything to please him, wouldn’t you? Yes, you would. Your mouth says you wouldn’t, but your hands are willing slaves to his every call. You’re trying to insult me in the face, but I can let that pass. I’m a forgiving person. I forgive the insensitive way you hold that cup.

My eyes bounced off a wall. Now, that wall used to be white, but now it’s dirty. But it can’t be dirtier than my thoughts. I have a dirty mind. I think filthy things. If my thoughts reflected themselves into the sky now, it’d be dark. Ebony dark, like it’s going to rain. It would make you think the end of the world is coming. Now, you, you look a bit like someone from my past. And I could go all night about what I can do to you. Yes, smile. You’re paid to smile at me. And after that, why don’t you follow me to the loo. It’s such a slack today, it is. You won’t need to attend to virgins and whores. Yes, look me straight in the eye, and tell me what beautiful teeth I have.

I remember the times we used to drink the hours away. Light beer, sometimes gin. We ran around carrying knives, chased each other like we were on a prairie chasing butterflies. You said you’d slit my throat if you caught me. You even showed to how you’d gladly do it. Sliced the air fiercely. I shouted that you looked loony with the look in your face. You shouted back incoherently, and you laughed. Why on heaven and hell did you laugh? But I laughed anyway. And we continued chasing each other.

Now don’t look at me with disappointment. I washed the dishes, didn’t I? What more did you want me to do? Shave your legs? Nah, you were given hands to do that yourself. After I’m done cleaning my hands, I shall enjoy myself in bed. I’ll dream me a safer place. A place much different from this one, where I don’t have to wash the dishes while you drink beer.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Narrow

bq

The streets are getting narrower- that I realized only recently when I was walking outside BQ Mall, particularly the area fronting the CPG entrance. It used to take me, say, three minutes to get from Mercury Drug to McDonald’s; now it takes me about double the time, sometimes longer.

Of course it has to do with all the street vendors that have, since I-don’t-know-when, claimed their respective spots on the sidewalk; the growing number of vendors who sell quite an assortment of street food—from corn, tempura, peanuts, mangoes and oranges, newspapers, blah blahs—is enough to drive me nuts. What with all the customers stopping to buy, there’s what one could call ‘human traffic’.

And of course, there are those people who don’t seem to care if they’re causing great annoyance, especially to those in hurry, by blocking the way. They just stand in the middle of the way to text, stare at the still-unfinished City Square, or talk to their friends (which annoys me the most). I am not certain if they’re even aware that they are in fact blocking other people’s way, or they just do it to spite those walking. And there are the tricycle drivers who sometimes create not only human traffic but noise pollution as well by shouting at random people, asking them if they’d want a ride.

And as if all the vendors, the thoughtless pedestrians who chat to their friends, and the tricycle drivers aren’t enough to cause a snail’s pace flow of people walking by, we have those who sell Sim Cards. What’s worse: they wave those tiny red and blue packages in front of people’s faces, shouting “Diyes lang, diyes lang. TM, Globe!”

Gawd.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Light Resentment

san mig

So since when did writing under the influence become an art? Since Neil Gaiman introduced it. Well, at least from what I know.

If you’re one of those select few who know me to the bones, you’d probably be a millionaire by now for guessing that I am writing under the influence. And what an influence, indeed!

I don’t want to ask for excuses for any error (grammatical) that this post may have. And hell, whoever said I could not make any errors lived outside this world. I am only human, and everyday I am learning that I am indeed one despite all the things these voices in my head tell me.

Whatever.

This should be deprecating. I like anything that’s deprecating- it makes someone human. Whatever. It proves one thing: nobody’s perfect.

So anyway, trust that this post (like most of the posts in this blog) is raw. Raw. Raw. To hell with errors, and to hell with people I may run over along the way (whatever that means).

I live without excuses. And so I write without excuses. So before my tired body—and my senses—abandon me, I’d like to begin this little (whatever one may call it).

It’s 10.38 on my PC’s clock. Minutes ago, I was knocking on my mom’s window, pretending that I was sober as the president of the Philippines giving a nation address.

Where was I?

So, a friend came home from a place far away—although not ‘oh so far away’—and we had dinner together. (Now the details are starting to escape my consciousness)

Whatever. I already vowed not to drink San Mig Light for it ruins my sanity—and my reputation (believe it, i still have a reputation to uphold!), but I know when to scratch the things I’ve written (so to speak, my friends). And well, honestly, Mike offered me the drink, and when it’s Mike, I wouldn’t dare decline. And yoy know what, good thing Mike doesn’t have a Friendster account (and if he did, I doubt he’d even be reading this- that man’s too busy with business, anyway). Where was I?

So, there. Two bottles became four. And it became five. Was it really five? But who was counting, right? Point is: I hate San mig light! I freaking hate it. But, like I said, I know when to scratch the thing I’ve written.

I don’t know what else to write. Like, I don’t know what else to write.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Moment

moment

 

Lately, I have been feeling quite off and uncharacteristically despondent. It has been eons since I felt this way. And like that memory of a quick flash of interest over something so superficially deceiving, my understanding of why I am feeling this way—and how I’d be able to fight it—escaped me. So now I am back to square one.

 

It’s that feeling when you’re insensately standing still while the world around you moves fast and cheery—if you disregard the effects of the global financial calamity. And it’s not that I am feeling indifferent or without a care, but it’s just that moments come when I feel like I don’t belong—to my family, friends, or the entire world.

 

It’s Saturday, and as tradition, I should be at the coffee shop sipping a cappuccino or an iced latte; but instead, I’m trying to pour my insides out, hoping to figure out why on earth this despondency is knocking at my door.

 

It’s just a moment, I keep telling myself. And of course, it sort of helps to hear Bono utter those words backed with a somewhat heartening, albeit gloomy, melody. It’s just a moment. But it feels like I am being dragged across the street to a dead-end alley, and all happiness is stripped off as the pavement peels off my jeans.

 

I don’t know. I don’t even know why I’m writing this stuff. It should feel cathartic, but it doesn’t, which is odd and causing me to question my coping skills. Maybe part of the reason why I’m even considering of posting this is that it has been a while since I posted something—salutary or not—and I am troubled to my soles that I would eventually lose my catharsis.

 

Whatever. I have to go fix myself a cup of coffee and a sandwich. Should keep my mind off this thing that’s eating me whole.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Bottled Disappointment

bottle
 
This is for that friend who always seems to find ways to make me feel taken-for-granted. Same friend who confessed on not wanting to read my blog for fear of reading anything that might upset her.

I don’t intend to get sympathies here, nor do I intend to speak ill of this friend of mine. Actually, this kind of thing—this issue—has been around for as long as we’ve been really close. You know what they say: the closer you are to your friends, the easier they can disappoint you. Oh, wait, that was just me; I just brewed it up some six seconds ago. So quote me on that one.

So I was saying. This issue has been around for as long as I have been aware of. It never really goes away, it just changes colour. So to others, even to my close friends—those who know how many evil bones I have in my body—this may sound archaic.

This goes to you, my friend, who I love dearly despite reasons not to. Well, friendship knows no bounds, correct? But apparently, friendship knows no tolerance, too. At least as far as you-and-I are concerned.

When friends ask you to commit into a get-together, it’s not enough that you say ‘yes’ to fill the list. It would be really nice if you’d actually show up. Or if you couldn’t really come, it’d be really polite if you inform us you can’t make it—say it straight out. Say ‘I can’t come. Deal with it,’ something like that. It’s a tad annoying when you send those out-of-topic messages. What’s worse? When you act like nothing happened; like we didn’t wait for you to show your skinny white ass, hoping—despite previous, countless incidents of no-show—you might actually be decent enough to send a freaking message. There’s a word called effort, and right now I’m not quite sure you understood it.

I won’t go so much as air out everything here because I really need to get some sleep instead of bitching. But you know, it’s been bottled up since fourteenth of February, when you deliberately ditched our plan—your very own suggestion—and didn’t even apologize for not showing up and instead messaged me something about Pop’s Fernandez’s lips. Like I care if it looked swollen! See that just pissed me off so bad I wished a thunderbolt struck you then and there. You know how cruel I can be when I am enraged. And yes, you know you really have to say what you mean.

I don’t really want to, but I’m sorry for even deciding to write these things. I just don’t want to verbally air it out, not to my other friends and especially not to you. I won’t grovel for your explanation because you owe me one. So if you feel like giving one, go ahead—I’m all ears.

Know that right now, and most probably until we see each other, I skipped past upset; I’m furious. Sometimes I wonder what it would take for you to put your friends on your list of things to do like you do your carnal shenanigans.

Humdrum

hum
 
I stared out the window; the metallic screen that kept insects—especially mosquitoes—from getting into the house was somehow invisible. Clutched with my right hand was a cup of warm coffee that had yet been tasted. In the living room, from where I sat, I could see the sky as it appeared to slowly succumb to darkness; the clouds that matched my disoriented thoughts rolled by in haste. I thought it was going to rain. The wind blew cold, untying the cream coloured drapes that hung at the centre of the huge window in the living room. The drapes fluttered furiously; I heard them whistle, as if pleased by the presence of the wind. For a moment it sounded eerie, and goose bumps started to crawl up my skin.

I stood up, tied the drapes back into place and finished it with a tough knot. Facing the window, I took a sip of my coffee; it was just right—not too sweet, not too bitter. It was warm enough to fight the cold that I was beginning to feel in my stomach.

Not long after, it rained. The sound of water trickling down against the roof grew louder by the second that it held my consciousness deaf to the voice in my head. The voice amplified by the silence earlier had been subdued.

Sitting back on the couch, still watching the rain, the smell of grass flooded my nose. I stood silent for a brief moment, and then sighed.

Just one of those days.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pretty Good Year

prett
 
Each time a year draws to an end, I get that pathological need to give a bow to it, sort of chronicle the whole year down and enclose it in a nutshell—symbolically speaking, of course. It’s like an unwritten responsibility for a self-proclaimed writer like me, and even for those who are writers by profession—I think.
 
I have no idea as to why others do it, unless of course it’s their job. But as for me, it’s a matter of evaluating (on paper) my growth—or lack thereof—in that year. And okay, over the years that I’ve been doing it, I realized that some years I do it because when a new year begins, my mind is wrapped in a sheet of dullness. What better way to fight boredom, right?
 
As I’m struggling to think of a catchy intro—one unlike the typical Rolling Stone magazine or Philippine Daily Inquirer-column kind—I realized that I’m risking yet another case of digression. Now that’s one thing that doesn’t seem to change each year. And there is no other way of doing it, so—
 
2008 was like any other year I’ve had. So it seemed. Of course I cannot disavow that I have grown yet stayed unchanged compared to the years before, like they say: the more things change, the more they stay the same. How confusing can that be?
 
Last year, I have learned a great deal of things about myself and other people. Similarly, I have sort of unlearned a few things—as rhetoric and absurd as it may sound. But not to throw anyone off with such hazy account (in which case, I really don’t give a fig if I did), I shall try to swerve from being too cryptic by trying as much to factor each experience as possible.
 
I faced, yet again, another string of mistrusting some of my friends, and in turn, I questioned once more if I have been the best possible friend to them. Not that I am washing my hands clean of being faultless, but one cannot blame if I felt that way. If you knew me, you’d probably know how thin-skinned I am towards being taken for granted , and like I’ve said probably a dozen times, what shakes me is not the things that my friends do or say, but rather the things that they don’t. The past year, however, the issue had somehow been diminished. It helped that I had a full-time job to take my mind off the matter, but I guess I had also accepted that our priorities differ. I tried to fully rest my trust on all of my friends, and it was hard at first but it was also liberating. Now, the issue still nudges me on the elbow, but it’s not as niggling as it used to be—and not as frequent, too.
 
My passion for words deepened as I held my teaching job stable, at least for that time. It delighted me that I was learning while I worked. I found myself drowning in idioms, in a good way; I have been more fascinated by how the British spoke that I spent way too much time watching BBC News, and it started my genuine annoyance to people who gallingly try to speak like the Brits, thinking it’s all about the curving of the tongue when in fact it isn’t. And another benefit I got from my job was better patience—say, two or three inches.
 
The past year has been flagged with myriad moments of insobriety. Debauchery at its finest, dare I claim. One thing’s for certain, I drank for the company—and in good company—not just for the heck of getting wasted. There were times when I’ve exceeded my intake limit, and needless to say, I have done and said things that have thrown some people off. But most times, I drank with my brain in my head.
 
Disappointments rang many times last year. Disappointment mostly in people, unrealized plans, and in myself. But probably one of the biggest disappointments that had me sullen for days was that David Archuleta lost the American Idol title to David Cook. I was like, what the fuck?! I really expected Archuleta to win since his range was way broader than Cook’s. I never liked Cook one bit even from the beginning, but it had nothing to do with why I wanted Archuleta to win, and Archuleta’s ‘puppy eyes’, according to Simon Cowell, had nothing to do with it either. So anyway, I was left stunned upon hearing the result. It was one of those moments that clearly proved life isn’t fair.
 
Like every year that preceded the last, I was still, as what love-sick puppies call, loveless. I’d call it being ‘single’, but in our age that would only give people different—and sometimes ridiculous—connotations. Not that I care.
 
I have given justice to the word ‘bitch’ more than three-hundred sixty-five times in 2008. When you were born to be a bitch, you can’t help it. Especially when there are people to be a bitch at, and there are things to be a bitch about. I do feel sorry for those who were unfortunate enough to bear the brunt of my being a grand bitch.
 
And like drinking, good conversations, some of which were over coffee, were like peanuts on the counter of a drinking pub. It’s funny how one good conversation can soothe an aching soul, and gladly my soul was comforted with enough good talks, and laughter, that kept me sane through the year.
 
I bade farewell to my five students last year. Five because the other one was a monster, she was impossible to teach, and even more impossible to deal with. Good thing she was only here for a short period. So yeah, it was sad that my students had to leave. Not only was their departure a loss in my income, it was also a loss in terms of, say, fun, albeit sometimes peculiar, people that I know. One was notably intellectual and surprisingly amiable; I had absolutely no problem with her.
 
No year would ever be complete without my walking sessions; it’s a vital part of my sanity. Yes, I did countless walking in past year, along with some self-assessing in the process. It was hard to let go of some things, hard to make decisions. Walking aided me with the difficulties I had to face. It was too difficult to guarantee myself of an unadulterated kinship with someone, and walking helped a lot to deal with it. I could really betray myself sometimes. But it all came down to freedom from confusion. Just because the light is on doesn’t always mean the room is bright!
 
As the year went, I realized that I really didn’t need more than I had, so I was contented—and it made a difference. A huge difference. I was tempted, couple of times, to abandon myself in order to please other people, and it was ridiculous, I know. Good thing I didn’t cave. What I badly needed, though, was a new portable music player, err mp3 player. My phone had been serving as a communication gadget and an audio box, and I thought it was abusive to my phone, and way too inconvenient for me. So came Snowflake!
 
Another thing I badly needed was to pull down my old account in Blogspot. What can I say, I can get pretty pernickety when it comes to my blog. I had to let the whole thing crash. Well, most of it. I created a new account and built a new blog. So came Badly Drowned Boy! I found new online friends, and it was cathartic and at the same time exciting to be able to hear strangers’ remarks. It was amazing that other people could relate to what I had to say. It was a great relief in so many ways.
 
So all in all, 2008 was not such a bad year. In fact, it was a pretty good one. Things may not have worked out exactly the way I wanted, but it was all well. With everything that happened, I am grateful to the people who were responsible for my growth the past year. You may not have been necessarily good to me, but I appreciate what I have learned. And well, if you have been good to me, thank you muchly!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January Clusterfuck

january
I bewail the fact that my first post for the year 2009 is not the one I had planned on posting. I had already written a draft for what was to be the first entry, which is a bow to the year that was, but sadly my computer has inconveniently decided to stop working just when my juices have squeezed themselves out of hiding. This is far from what I had written. It is anything but a bow to the past year, which when I come to think of isn’t that at all bad—in fact, it was quite good. Soon, I hope to post that entry. But in the mean time, I should get back to the issue at hand: real-time bitching.

Yes, I thought this year would start great. I mean, it sure seemed like the year was kicking off well until my life started to spiral down—yes, I dare call it—a clusterfuck. Well, life may seem a bit exaggerated, and it actually is since only some parts of my waking days are fucked up. But—oh well, you should get what I am trying to say.

Computer Meltdown
Like I said, my computer has decided to demonstrate the most unforgivable act any machine could do—to stop working. And as if things could not get worse, I was unable to back up a huge volume of my files. To give you a clear picture: my computer has not completely lost its ability to function—but it might as well have. You turn the darn thing on and it refuses to load the Windows profile, thereby refusing access to the system. All I get is a desktop with five ultimately useless icons.

The only thought that gives me hope and keeps me from bashing the useless piece of machine is that my cousin would be able to salvage what he can from the hard disk.

The thought of losing all the pictures makes my nape itch. And the thought of eventually having to download all the songs that I have in the old system makes me want to cry. But the thought that breaks my heart—and in turn, makes me want to run my nails down my neck—is that of losing my poems and short stories. I mean, gawd! There must be a way to recover all those files.

It should be a lesson for me, I take it, to not rely on computers when saving my poems. Because whatever happened to old-school writing-it-on-paper, right? Lazy me, yes. Damn it! I don’t want to think about it anymore.

And how you ask am I writing this when my computer’s on the fritz? Inquiring minds want to know, yes? Well, thanks to a need for file transfer. My godmother lent her laptop. So, thank you!


Dreadful Feet
Obviously, the other thing that drives me nuts is my feet. Gawd, they look dreadful. Beyond dreadful, to me.

I had my toes cleaned on 27th December 2008. And there is no other way to say this—although I hope I could make up a story to somewhat give colour to what happened—but that stubborn manicurist did it again. Well it happens almost every time she cleans my feet—I tell her not to remove the cuticle on my toes but she doesn’t listen, instead she digs deep and removes the cuticle. I had thought I have had immunity to the consequence of her folly, until I felt like a nerve on my feet had been cut. I was enjoying my chat with friend C and friend T too much to monitor her hands. It was too painful I thought I’d collapse then and there. But I thought things would be okay, like usual—that my feet would somehow miraculously heal quickly and be free from any serious harm.

But days after, my halluces were swollen, and before I knew it the rest of my toes were itching. Vesicles were appearing, and the itch intensified. I had my feet checked but the doctor was not the slightest bit thorough with the check-up. He just looked at my toes from a distance and concluded that they were infected. Well surely they were infected—no other way to explain it—but he could have examined my feet closer, you know. I was prescribed two ointments, and I think they worked because the vesicles started popping. Ugh, thinking back about it gives me goose bumps.

The rest of the household, along with my aunt, thought it must be some sort of supernatural matter so I had my cousin accompany me to a ’spiritual healer’ of kind. I have always believed in the existence of the supernatural so I gave it a try. I’d like to believe the medical and spiritual/supernatural aids worked well together because not long after, the vesicles had completely dried up, and the itching had ceased.

But until now, my halluces are still swollen up. And it seems, technically and without question, that my halluces both have ingrowing nails which causes the swelling. It eats me up during the day, and it’s pissing me off- big time.

I’ve been wearing bandages on my halluces for two weeks now, and I wear them to work to avoid any further infection, whatsoever. Tomorrow I am scheduled to meet with another doctor (hopefully this one is unlike the previous doctor I met), and I hope, with all sincerity and faith, that my feet would heal soon.

Transportation Trouble, and others
Since the year started, catching a ride to work has been extremely irksome. I have to stand at a corner of the street, with my dreadful feet—halluces in bandage—and all, and wait for the darn transportation. And as if having people staring at my feet wasn’t bad enough, I have to wait beside college students who blabber loudly about their supposed ‘challenging subjects’. And to think their school has a questionable reputation. I don’t mean to be a scholastic chauvinist but- Okay, I’ll stop myself before I say anything derogatory.

And you know that bloody thing when you’re already seething and little things like a bee buzzing in your face makes your day worse? That happens. And how can I possibly fail to mention how galling it is when my student starts the morning with a tired, retarded look matched with a rather retarded brain that just makes me want the ground to open up and swallow me whole.