For a change, let's post something socially relevant, or something related to current events.
I've read in the news yesterday that 17 bodies were already found in connection with the lost Air France passenger plane. It's good that they already know the exact area where the plane actually disappeared, crashed or plummeted. And I think it's also good that families and loved ones of the lost passengers already know for sure that there's absolutely no chance of anyone surviving, unless a miracle happens. Don't take me wrong, I sympathize with the victims' families, and I think losing people you love in such a way is a really horrible and tragic experience. I just think that all the uncertainty surrounding the plane's disappearance last week makes the torture even more unbearable. And I know that the feeling of waiting for something you're not sure would come is one of the worst feelings there is. At least with the bodies being discovered one by one, families can now start the process of grieving and mourning for their loss.
According to the news item I read, Air Force Col. Henry Munhoz declined to comment regarding the condition of the recovered bodies, saying that information would be too emotionally painful for relatives. Moreover, he also refused to identify the personal belongings they found as doing so may cause additional emotional distress.
Uhm... I don't question his intention of trying to shield families and relatives from emotional pain. But I really don't get the point. What's wrong with disclosing the fact that the bodies recovered are in an advanced state of decomposition and far beyond recognition or whatever? What's wrong with disclosing that they found something like a blue laptop with the owner's name engraved on it in big letters? Okay, let's say that detailing every recovered personal stuff to reporters would be rather indiscreet, but I hope the stuff are there for relatives to inspect. And I hope they stop saying this kind of information is confidential for the sole purpose of avoiding distress and sorrow and tears. Why try to heighten the level of suspense the relatives are already feeling? I mean, the bodies being bloated and rotten and smelling terrible is probably what the relatives are already expecting. The sooner the bodies are identified by families while they are still identifiable, the better it would be for everybody. I'm not sure if Munhoz is trying to cultivate false hope among relatives, but that's what I think he seems to be doing. Give the relatives the facts they need and are desperate to have right now. The more they know of the progress of the investigation and of the search and retrieval operations, the sooner they can process their emotions. Besides, some families and relatives may not have the means to fly 1,000km north-east of Brazil's Fernando de Noronha islands or wherever the relatives are stationed right now, awaiting for their loved ones' bodies and may be merely relying on the media for news of their loved ones. Give it to them straight because they are desperate for every piece of information. I think no amount of depressing detail you withhold would take away the pain of losing a family member. I dunno but I really try to put myself in their place and these are things I would really want to be told.
Anyway, enough of this sappy, sentimental entry. I hope I can write something jolly soon.
Ang manic-depressive na si *Shiela. 35 days in a month yata kung ma-depress ang lola. Epekto yata ito ng sobrang green tea (Oo, panay green tea lang ang iniinom nya, at public enemy nya talaga ang softdrinks). Tsaka halos twice a week, may LQ sila ng syota nyang architect. Madalas kasi yang pumapasok na parang nakapaghilamos ng sili sa sobrang maga at pula ng mga mata. May mga panahon ring nagkukulong sya sa CR, kaya tuloy ang ibang gustong gumamit, tumatawid na lang sa kabilang building para makapagbanyo. Pero hindi ibig sabihin panay iyak at simangot lang ang alam nya. Malakas din tumawa ang manang, at pag tinotopak, sumasayaw at kumakanta, minsan naman tumutula pa yan. In fairness ha, memoryado nya ang "Oh Captain, My Captain" ni Mr. Walt Witman at tsaka yung "Trees"... ni Joyce Kilmer ba yun? Pero ayun nga, ilang segundo lang, magshi-shift na naman ang mood nya, bigla na namang tumatahimik at magmumokmok sa isang tabi. Hay naku, sabi nga ng iba naming kasama, baka Coke lang kulang sa buhay nya. As the Coke ad says "Mag Coke araw-araw"... or something like that.
Si *Marcus na accident-prone. Ewan ko ba sa taong ito at kadikit yata ang malas. Minsan ay pumasok sya sa trabaho na sobrang baho, tila nagpagulong-gulong muna sa tambakan ng basura sa Payatas bago nya naalalang may trabaho sya ng araw na yun. Ang kwento nya, sumuka ang batang katabi nya sa jeepney at sa polo nya tumama lahat. Buti na lang at may dalang extra t-shirt yung isang kasamahan namin at napahiram sya. May isang araw din na ginulantang nya kaming lahat nang pumasok syang wala ng buhok. Yun pala, sinapian ng masamang espirito ang barbero habang ginugupitan siya't na-shave ang buhok sa likod ng kanyang ulo. Kaya naman nakapagpakalbo sya ng wala sa plano. Minsan din, lumabas sya ng banyo at pawis na pawis. Apparently, pagkatapos ang transaction no. 2 nya sa loob at habang inaabot na nya ang flush, nahulog ang cellphone nya. Ayun, nag impromtu fishing ang pobre sa Ilog Pasig. Hahaha, kadiri no? Pero buti na lang sa kanya ang dumi at hindi sa ibang tao. (Toinks. Tama ba namang gawing consolation yun? hahaha..)
Si Maam *Tess na isang Korean wannabe. Mabuti na lang at siya'y ubod ng puti (este, ubod ng putla) at kahit papaanoy napapatawad sya sa kanyang efforts na i-imitate ang Korean fashion. Kasi sabi ng karamihan, ang mga Korean ay maypagka-baduy sa pananamit, pero dahil silay mapuputi, nagiging okay at hip sila tingnan. Si Maam Tess ay tahimik at medyo mahiyain, pero may mga araw na tila siya ay inspired at nagiging daring sa kanyang mga attire. Minsan ay pumasok sya sa opisina na naka-mini skirt at naka boots. At dahil hindi ako well-versed sa female fashion, hindi ko alam kung ano talaga ang exact boot type na iyon, pero for sure hindi yung tipong leather na okay isuot kapag naka-jeans or naka-slacks ka. What I mean is yung tipo ng boots na medyo furry at bulky... alam mo yung boots na sinusuot ng mga Eskimos sa Alaska para labanan ang sobrang lamig? Yun, yun nga. Isang araw rin, pumasok sya sa office na naka yellow jacket at naka black leggings, with matching leather bracelet na may spikes (yung nakikita natin sa cartoons na ginagawang collar ng mga bulldogs? Woof, woof!). Hanep talaga sa seasonal guts si idol!
Si *Bruno. Si Bruno ay isang malaking tao, with matching balbas at bigote. May tattoo ng isang kalansay din sya braso. Astig at barumbado. Pero si Bruno ay isang brooha. In other words, bading sya and "proud of it!" "Pero Bruno, bakit ayaw mong magpaahit para at least man lang magmukha ka talagang bakla?" "I love my beardy, 'nuff said."
Ang suki ng bayan na si *Lydia. Itong si Lydia ay hindi yata mabubuhay ng isang araw na hindi nakapagtinda. Halos nga lahat ng bagay na pwede nyang maisip ay inilako na nya sa opisina. Okay lang yung mga pangkaraniwang bagay na tinitinda nya gaya ng junk foods, baked goodies, at ibang pagkain na talaga namang hinahanaphanap talaga namin tuwing meryenda. Okay rin yung mga kikay things gaya ng Avon products, at tsaka immitation Victoria's Secret perfumes, bags at ibang RTWs. Pero minsan ay nagiging out-of-the-ordinary na yung mga binibenta nya o di kayay nire-request ng mga officemates namin na itinda nya. Minsan dumating siya sa opisina na may bitbit na malaking basket na may pink ribbon. Akala ko pastries ang laman. Ngunit pag bukas ko sa nakatakip na tela, isang puting kuneho ang bumulaga sa akin. Pabirong tanong ko nga sa aming resident Bread/Snack/RTW/AVON Lady ay kung pati pagma-magic ay pinasukan na ba nya. Yun pala, isa sa mga officemates namin ay naghahanap ng rabbit at ito naman si Lydia ay talagang ubod ng listo at nag-offer agad. Hindi lang ito ang mga naisipang ibenta ng businesswoman extraordinaire. Pati pirated DVDs, bibles, noni juice, MP3 players, cellphones, school supplies, kandila, longganisa, torotot tuwing palapit na ang New Year, toothpaste, halaman, at iba pa, ay naibenta na nya sa opisina. Kulang na lang yata magdala sya ng uling at magtayo ng barbecue stand sa tabi ng cubicle nya.
May iba pa kaming weirdo personalities dito. Nandyan si *Terri na epitome ng isang taong may excessive paranoia, at feeling nya lahat yata ng lalaki ay gustong halayin sya; si *Phoebe na talagang Obsessive-Compulsive (yung tipong Jack Nicholson sa "As Good as It Gets") at palaging bitbit ang sariling kutsara at tinidor, sariling sabon, isang higanteng bote ng alcohol, hand sanitizer at wet wipes, isang handy container ng Lysol, gloves, disposable mask, at sa tingin koy magbibitbit na rin sya ng sariling arinola one of these days pag hindi na talaga nakatiis; si *Van na hinala namiy isang professional macho dancer tuwing gabi dahil sa dami ng kakilalang chicks; at ang caveman na si *Julius, na tilay nanggaling pa sa lugar na malayo sa kabihasnan at kung saan wala pa yatang stove at inuumpog lang nila ang dalawang bato para makagawa ng apoy.
* real names changed
I was out of the loop for a few days. Or has it been weeks? This was because I had to go home to the province and grant a dying grandmother's request to see her favorite apo -- and pressure him for the last time to get hitched and settle down. This was then followed by my joining the family in its moment of grief over the loss of its matriarch and helping with the burial preparations, and then reading and processing her last will and testament (Just kidding about the last one, although it really would have completed the picture in your head. Romanticism, I know. Or should I say soap operaish? No, my lola wasn't exactly a filthy rich haciendera and I think whatever piece of land she used to own had already been divided and distributed among her heirs years ago).
Anyway, Lola Meding (for Remedios), was a woman with an iron fist and admirable intelligence. She was also extremely beautiful in her younger days, judging from those brittle and yellowed photographs taken ages ago. She was the "belle of the ball" during her time, my mother -- who took after my granfather in terms of looks -- used to tell us.
I'm not the eldest grandchild, but I have reasons to believe I was her favorite and that she doted on me in her own strict ways. My older cousins went to live in Canada and Australia, and my older sisters and younger brother preffered tugging at my mother's skirt, so I was the only one who really grew up with La Meding. That should go without saying that I was also the one who playfully slammed on the keys of her precious piano and broke it. Sure, I got the scolding of my life, but the fact that La Meding didn't get the thing fixed made me think she wanted it to remain broken as a reminder of my youthful mischief. I also did crayon hieroglyphics on her white living room walls, and earned myself a special one-hour alone-time at a corner, where the antique grandfather's clock stood, as punishment. But Lola refused to repaint those walls some years after, even when there already was a major renovation going on in the house. She wouldn't dare say it, but I know she loved my art.
I was also the one who sat (and stood, sat and stood) on her rocking chair and sent it swinging so hard, it tumbled over and hit her gigantic porcelain vase (while I fell and had an injured arm). Add to that my catching a tiny toad and trying to dissect it alive using her bread knife (good thing my aunt caught me before things got really messy), and then drinking half of whatever's inside those miniature gin and wine decorative bottles displayed on her shelves.
And once, when I was around four years old, I went to church with her. She and her old lady-friends were talking after the service at the parsonage. I was holding her hand and listening to them. Their topic was about the moles on their bodies. (Uh-huh.) One of the ladies discreetly raised her skirt and revealed a huge mole on her inner thigh. I don't know what got to me, but a few minutes later, I raised that lady's skirt (and revealed her beige panties!) and said "Where's your mole again? Lemme see!" Imagine my grandmother's horror! Not only did I get the well-deserved spanking for that very ill behavior, but I was reprimanded by every adult member of the family as soon as they heard about it. Lessons learned: Moles on intimate parts of your body is not a good after-church topic. Don't discuss, much more show, titillating body parts in the presence of a male, regardless of his age. Raising women's skirts without her persmission is impolite.
Yeah, I have a handful of fond memories with La Meding. These were usually connected with things I did that caused me a welt, or a red ear, and tear-filled face, but when I look back, it now makes me smile. I had a very great childhood, thanks to her.
Rest well in heaven, La Meding. Don't worry, I'll marry Althea when she comes back. (So don't go about appearing in her dreams and spoiling the secret, okay?)
My first reaction: What on earth made you think I'd know of someone who'd do that? Second: Goodness, gracious, this is one of those things you should classify as a girl thingy. Go get your sister, your room mate, the old lady who does your nails, or whoever it is that loves pink and glitters. Good thing it's through SMS and not in person, or you'd be amazed to find out how fast I can gulp down my coffee and bolt out the door.
Let me just clarify. I love her and she knows that. And I'd do things for her. But I truly hope she sent the same message to others close to her. Otherwise, I'd take offense at various different angles (Angles. I love that word :) ).
One of that has something to do with this thing called "machismo," and a respect thereof. No, feminists, don't raise your bolos just yet. I know how the word sends a signal for battle to your brains. I'm merely talking about the recognition of the certain things most guys are never comfortable discussing, and the fact that we feel awkward about these things. Things you reserve for your gay confidantes. Things like missing your period.
Another is more on the moral side. Do I look like a lust-driven rapist, a serial killer, or a perennial playboy who has produced countless spawns -- many of them masterfully terminated? Do you consider me a person who would consent to whatever it is you are contemplating to do even if I think you are not emotionally ready to handle the consequences of taking an innocent life, much more the consequences of an unsuccessful attempt at it?
But before I got carried further away... she texted again:
"It's yeast infection. Damn you."
Still... Still. It's a girl thingy. Go get Darna. Damn you.
I asked the condominium guard kung may napansin siya. He told me that he did notice something, sabay tawa na may kasamang kantyaw. Mang Gus also indicated that he knew who was bringing me the flowers, but when I pressed him for more information, he just laughed again, and winked. He wouldn't tell me kahit anong pagmamakaawa ang gawin ko.
This is driving me nuts.
I think this is the fourth bouquet of roses left outside my door. The other time, it included a box of chocolates. Parang nililigawan ako, pero ayokong mag-assume.
And palagi, the only indication that the flowers are for me is the card with the typewritten name. I tried to ask the administrator to allow me to install a camera outside my door. I reasoned that it was a security move on my part. Di ako pinayagan.
The first time, I called my girlfriend and thanked her for the flowers. Wrong move. Laking away noon. She thought I was fooling around, and even after repeated assurances that I wasn't, ayaw talaga maniwala. Di ko rin maconnect; if I was fooling around, e di dapat I wouldn't mention it to her and I wouldn't call to thank her for the flowers if I knew she did not send them. Pero akala ko siya talaga.
The third time, natawa na lang kami. She teased me na buti pa ako may flowers, samantalang siya hindi man lang maalalang padalhan ng bagoong at tuyo ng boyfriend niya. I sent her a package of dried mangoes -- kasi baka di pwede ang bagoong at tuyo because of their nasty smell -- and when she received it, inaway pa rin ako kasi daw walang flowers!
I called her and seriously asked if she's not putting one on me. She swore na hindi siya.
May list of suspects ako. Sayang naman yung deductive reasoning na natutunan ko nung college kung di ko gagamitin di ba. Number 1, whoever is sending these flowers has to be a tenant in the building, or else di sila papapasukin ni Mang Gus. Number 2, she has to be from my floor, kasi bihira naman akong may makasabay sa elevator na hindi ko ka-floor. Kung meron man, I doubt kung may lasting impression.
So, ang suspect ko is Ms. G, yung flirty executive ng isang malaking company dito. Or it could be Mrs. H, matandang matrona na mahilig mag-ballroom. Sana si Ms. G., kasi hassle si Mrs. H. War freak yung asawa niyang hapon eh. Pero si Ms. G. naman kasi, deadma lang kung makasabay ko siya sa elevator. Our exchanges are limited to Hi, Hello, anong floor? Minsan nga walang kibuan, smile lang.
Sana hindi si Mrs. H. kasi yung huling lalake na nalink sa kanya, balita ko pinutulan ng daliri at binugbog in one night, that was after ninakawan yung bahay niya at pinagpupukpok yung kotse niya. Walang exaj!
Yung iba dito, either di ko kilala, or lalake, or may asawa, or sobrang bata, I mean, hindi pa tumutungtong ng high school.
* * *
Honest lang ako ha, but these flowers are boosting my male ego. May kiliti rin, baga. It makes me think that somehow, somewhere, someone is uplifted by seeing me smile. Hahaha. May mga natutunaw din pala sa looks ko? And these flowers seem expensive, so talagang malakas ang tama sa akin ng admirer ko. Hehe.
But not knowing who it is is driving me crazy. I mean, it's not that may mangyayari more than this between us, but still, it's nice to know your fans. Para din may peace of mind ka, di ba. Besides, sa dami ng mga psycho-thrillers na napapanood ko, medyo natatakot na akong buksan yung pinto ko sa gabi, or lumabas ng elevator without first checking kung may ibang tao sa floor.
Minsan din, I find myself trying to catch the giver. Umuuwi ako ng maaga, tapos I take the stairs, baka sakali. Almost always, wala ang flowers. Lalo nang wala rin yung nagiiwan.
It's raining outside. A typhoon is drenching the city, Frank daw pangalan. Same name as my first girlfriend. Francesca, pero ayaw patawag ng Iska. Frank. Upak ang isasagot sa iyo pag tinawag mo siyang Iska, Francesca, or Frances.
Why do I find myself like this when it rains? Nostalgia brings on a flood of memories that in the past would have made me smile. Now it just makes me want to hole up in the sofa and watch some Indian Bollywood film. Ganun katindi ang tripping ko pag depressed.
I miss Althea. I think her absence from this apartment makes the rainy nights more unbearable.
Dati, we'd find ourselves in bed or reading novels together pag umuulan. Pa-deliver lang ng food, tapos balik to whatever we were doing. Minsan, usap about anything and everything. Minsan, scrabble, or chess. Umuulan din nun nung pinagusapan namin yung pagpunta niya sa States.
In between thinking about my current life, and my history, lagi andoon si Althea. Siguro, yun yung curse of loving someone you grew up with. Walang part ng buhay mo na wala siya, walang time na hindi siya kasali. Lahat napagawayan niyo na, napagusapan niyo na. Which made her leaving even more difficult, kasi for the first time, gagawa ako ng memories na hindi siya kasama, except as a postscript at the end of the day when you email or call her to tell her about all the wonderful things na nagawa mo that day, or nangyari that day. Yun lang. Whereas before, lahat ng plano mo kasali siya. Kung wala siya, buti pa icancel mo na lang.
Ito ang problema sa Pilipinas. Kung di ka namamatay sa init ng panahon, namamatay ka sa depression.
most people would find my situation incredible. i live in one of the poshest condominiums in one of the most upscale addresses in the city. i am a lawyer. but, i am what you'd call a public defender. i do court time, write hundreds of pages of legal brief, day in and day out, and i accept live chickens as payments. i work for the poor and accused, yet at the end of month, all i have to show for it is a measly check, and some bundles of vegetables.
you ask how, then, do i get to live in a pad that's obviously worth more than what my bosses would rake in, even with those extra perks that would make their lifestyle checks all the more dubious? simple. a successful girlfriend.
i have absolutely no qualms about saying that my girlfriend pays for much of the monthly rent at our place. i pay for the utilities, the maintenance, and the monthly groceries. we rented this place two years ago, when we were both in the same company: i was a corporate junior lawyer (even without passing the bar yet), and she was a property consultant.
two years passed, and she's in new york, while i ply my trade in a rundown government office with no centralized airconditioning and with barely adequate plumbing (well, most of the time, at least).
about a year ago, almost defeated by depression and questions of machismo and egoism, i offered to let the place go. she flatly refused, saying that a place like ours would be hard to come by. i told her i couldn't afford even half of the rent, and she offered to pay for it. so basically, i'm just bumming around her place, service as its katiwala while she's abroad.
so there, i think i've humiliated myself enough. it's raining outside, and my place is warm. i love this place, if only for the centralized air conditioning that proved to be my daily perk during the last summer. the friendly guards help you out too, they're actually fun to talk to late at night. it would be perfect, if only i could figure out where to put those damned chickens without disturbing the neighbors.