Friday, February 27, 2009

Bottled Disappointment

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.


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

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!