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It's last day of the workweek and first day of the month, and I'm late for work. Our bus was still navigating Lawton Avenue 10 minutes before 10 p.m. So, instead of the usual psyching up for an unreasonable punishment of self via running after the punch clock, I took my time. Sent a heads-up to my supervisor. Had a nice dinner. Chewed thoughtfully. Got to my station at 10:20ish. Nonsweaty and unharried. Marinated for a few minutes about how easy it would be to be tardy for the rest of the month because of this precedent, then…white sheet. Blank.
Saturday!!! Did you see Shangri-La Plaza’s Christmas décor last month? Unbelievable!!! Right??? What if your best friend writes like this??? Will you tell them or let it slide? Oh, it depends on your punctuation tolerance, right? So, anyway, Shangri-La Plaza: What an awesome, awesome mall. I love it every day. Their Chinese New Year décor is (100 emoji 3x). I also love so much the long escalators (second floor straight to fourth, fourth floor straight to sixth). I get excited mapping my route every visit: Chapel first, then True Value, a movie ticket perhaps. Then Timplador Lechon at the basement!!!
Lovely dinner with girlfriends tonight. A lovely bunch. It’s my first time in years to have a quiet meal in BGC as in the most recent past it was all TUGS TUGS and a longing to just be quiet. One of my old friends used to call me “Corn” on account of my jokes bombing 95% of the time. I’m that friend who’s the only one who laughs at their own jokes and laughs before the punch line, too. I also explain my jokes. I’m used to “pity laughter,” in fact, I get more disappointed if my jokes land.
Lessons in anger today.
Lesson #1: Do not alter sleep pattern.
Lesson #2: Do not provoke people with history of exploding.
Lesson #3: Breathe maybe for a minute before dialing a number and shouting expletives.
Lesson #4: It helps to imagine one’s self shouting expletives before dialing a number so that in the actual dialing of the number and subsequent talking to concerned party, one is already calm and collected.
Lesson #5: Walk away! Seriously, walk away.
Lesson #6: If somebody already said “Enough,” listen. Shut up.
Lesson #7: Do not leave the house crying.
Lesson #8: Deep breaths.
“Lessons in anger” up there should be “Lessons on anger.” There. Seriously, I need to change my profession because editing is proving to be a weakness. Just now I changed the already correct spelling of profession into proffesion. Amazing. I make critical mistakes at work, which I think about for much longer than necessary, because…habit. Last December, while playing hide and seek, Brysen hid under the dining table and, after I pretended to not see him for a few seconds, I said “Watch your head!” He asked: “Did you just tell me to wash my head?” I love him.
My prompt for today says “human contact.” I think this is because of Russian Doll (Netflix) wherein (an always great) Natasha Lyonne plays commitment-phobic Nadia who keeps dying on and reliving her 36th birthday. If there’s one series you’re watching this month, please make it Russian Doll. Short and sweet. Also, Chloë Sevigny! I have a soft spot for it also because of Groundhog Day, one of my all-time favorites. Read reviews (spoilers okay, because…Nadia dies!) please and I hope you get hooked. I cry-laughed, floated, buried myself so deep, and resurfaced and reconnected.
"How much of my mother has my mother left in me? How much of my love will be insane to some degree? And what about this feeling that I'm never good enough? How much of my father am I destined to become? Will I dim the lights inside me just to satisfy someone? How much like my brothers, do my brothers wanna be? Does a broken home become another broken family? Or will we be there for each other, like nobody ever could? Will it wash out in the water, or is it always in the blood?" — John Mayer, In the Blood
What a long day. What do you do when you're overwhelmed? Do you keep moving or do you stay still? (When you're lost, stay still, someone will eventually find you.) McKinley Hill is now a familiar character...it breathes, sleeps, putts around. It's now become a looming shadow that it's getting harder to pay real attention to it because of its omnipresence. Was that the right word? Omnipresence? Anyway. It's just there. With all its prettiness and market lights and busyness and uphill sidewalks. Somehow the only thing left to do now is leave. Look for something else not...temporary.
It feels like the twilight zone, especially on weekends. People in Greenfield are moving about in a daze, unsure if it's Saturday or nearly Monday. Taxi drivers are shaking their heads because no one's decided to come home yet. Everybody is at a McDonald's. A rave party. Grimace is on the floor, he's color green. There is fog creeping in, settling at knee level. What time is it? 1 a.m.? 7 p.m.? The trains are coming nonstop, one even tried to navigate the stairs, and passengers came tumbling out, laughing. Amid the smoke, the faint voice of Madonna.
He's come to a decision. A novelty, because in all his life he'd let other people decide for him. Truly, he can't remember a time when he moved forward on his own. His decision: He will speed through life. This decision shall take care of the rest. He will live three times faster than usual, adjusting as appropriate. He figures, if he speeds through life, it will be over sooner. His end goal is...wait. No goal. Just, everything, but faster. He can't see that he'll just end up with a lot more time. What now? He'll decide by then.
This July will be 10 years since Jang and I broke up. That's already ages longer than the time we were together (7.5 years). In 2009 (age 27), we've been together for 28% of our life (base number is current age). This 2019, we've been apart almost the same percentage and our time as a couple is now only about 20%. By 2049 (age 67), we'll have been together only about 11% and apart 60%. In 2009, I was so broken, believing I'd have to stop loving her. Now I understand the passage of time is a great kindness.
The train today had a nice bunch of humans in it (except for that lady who kept pushing me with her bag). See, this is it. I get fixated on the negative, sometimes there's a giant teddy bear and I focus on the small rip on his feet. I think about it all day, while the teddy bear is there being cute. Someone alerted me to a free seat, people made way when we got off at Magallanes, no one was loud on the phone, and the AC was working! That last one's technically a people thing, right? Swell Tuesday.
My mother is like most mothers: a worrywart, overreactive, will cook meals and fuss over a person even if already in her pajamas, will find her children in a crowd of hundreds -- as easy as 1, 2, 3. She is balm and she stings. Some days I long for her too much I have to steady myself and hold a hand over my chest. She's been away for too long. As that Tennis song goes: "She works hard, Does it all without complainin', She believes, That sacred things don't need explainin', And the mind is elevated, Though the body, devastated."
Elsewhere on Google searches: Are alpacas real? Picture of biggest strawberry. Pangolins. Dream about being pregnant and never giving birth. Lithuanian temperament. First thing to do during earthquake. What do we call the one big sea on Earth. What to do when friends drift apart. How to not make everything about one's self. Can fish hear. Who was the first person to have their heart broken? What was Shakespeare's deal? How it's like to be friends with Adele. When will Prince George be King. Is he still wearing shorts? How to course-correct. Why are you there and not here.
It's raining. Outside, fog. Inside, warmth. The fireplace hasn't been used for years, she forgets why exactly. Is it something to do with a phobia or just laziness? Or is that story about something else entirely? The electric heater sits too close to a pile of old newspapers. She stares at other corners of the house and realizes it hasn't been cleaned for weeks. Baguio can make one forget that days end, days begin again; especially on these cold days. The sound of little feet overhead, taptaptaptap. She lets her blanket eat her. She won't surface for days and days.
In 2006, Saturdays in Las Vegas went like this: Papa would cook all-day-food for his patients. I'd be excited for nighttime because we'd have picked a movie, and most times it looked like a good one (Papa and I had similar likes). We'd leave for the Strip at around 8pm, on board Kuya Fidel's convertible. Speed through dinner ($0.99 shrimp cocktail!) then on to movie, but not before getting coffee. I love this memory: Us sipping hot coffee in the theater. IDK, it's homely? We'd end the night with some gambling. Catch the 1:10am bus home.
Erratum on past entries:
Entry for 11th -- That's faulty math and vague assignation of base numbers. I'm not going to attempt correcting or clarifying it. The point is: Some people may leave us but they don't cease to be real, or there. Ok NBD. Puwede umalis nang hindi nang-iiwan.
Entry for 14th -- "One big sea" should be "one global ocean" per further Google search. "Seas are smaller than oceans and are usually located where the land and ocean meet." That's elementary and I should have still known that. Naisama ata sa mga pinilit kong kalimutan.
Today is 15 years since Dada Gaudio passed. She was Papa's paternal aunt. She was kind, gentle, generous, patient, and spirited. She could talk to strangers like an old friend, and these strangers took to her as if she is an old friend as well. I guess I've written about her a lot of times, and always I'd say: She's the first person I want to meet in heaven. Mainly because there are so many things I want to say sorry for -- my petulance, disrespect, and refusal to love her when all she could do was love me so hard.
I admit there's a significant amount of time I allot to thinking about you. You scare me because you listen to every word I say. If I mumble, you ask -- always -- about what I just said. And you respond or react to it. And I feel so seen. Do you understand why this is frightening? It's new and unknown and finite. Have people not learned that starting something results in having something that ends? It's both cowardly and wise to avoid it. If I think about it, and only think about it, it stays abstract. There but not there. Transient.
There's a New Yorker article (A Whale's Afterlife) you might want to read, if you're into stuff like that (death and its usefulness to others, the sea, organisms without mouths and guts, exploration, etc.). It's mesmerizing. You'll learn about a whale they named Rosebud (Do you name things and people and memories after they "die"? That detail was fascinating.) and how they tried to sink it. How they came to visit it where it settled and observed what became of her (she's a girl now okay.) How do whales die anyway? Do they know it, when they're about to go?
"Adelantado" in Spanish means advanced, progressive, precocious. In Tagalog it's nangunguna, mapapel, aggressive? Something like that, yes? "Seguro" in Spanish means sure, safe, confident. In Tagalog it's "maybe." "See you soon" in Some People's Language means "Let's schedule a date." For some it's tongue in cheek. Masabi lang. Harmless. "Nakakainis ka" in Some People's Language means "I might like you a bit too much already." For some it's exactly what it says. "Sabay tayo" in Some People's Language: "I like being your friend. I'd like to get to know you better" Also: Kumain ka na? How was your weekend? Coffee?
You and I were together for 2,700 days, thereabouts. In this current job, I've calculated that I'd need 45 days a year just for commute (compared to a mere 15 in the previous one). As I write this, I have now been alive for 13,624 days. I've been in this new job for 117 days. I'm in a numbers-phase nowadays. This is an attempt to curb my propensity for hyperbolic statements. I've been alone-alone for forever! In reality it's only been about 3,500 days. No biggie. It has been one hour since my last meal.
How much can you do in 24 hours? Take a bath twice. Finish a short Netflix series. Finish a game thrice? Talk to your mother for an hour. Have the washing machine repaired at last. Schedule a dentist appointment. Mall for four hours. Have your heart broken twice (4x on Sundays). Fall in love once. Remember 15 years ago for 30 minutes, in bed. Have your heart fully healed once, partially healed twice, never healed once. Try again? Massage for 2 hours. Sleep for how-long? Some days take thrice the normal rate. This one's showing no sign of stopping.
Fake pockets. Why? What for? Now that's out of the way, hi, it's Sunday. I was at an outdoor dining area of a 7-11 at 6:30ish am having yogurt and apple when these 2 birds flew by then perched on the tree in front of me. That was nice. Online, people are posting long-weekend photos. It's fascinating to look at these photos. I'm at a place now where I appreciate what other people share. It's a bonus when they look really happy. In the past, I was often angry and irritable. She's (maybe) gone now. That's nice.
Holiday! Watched Paddleton and Derry Girls. Both good! Kept tabs on Oscars via Tumblr because Olivia Colman! She won! Slept perhaps 60% of the day. Had a dream about Brysen. A strange one. What happened was, his parents left him alone at the house in Guam (they flew to Manila). He had access to the basics: Food, bathroom, bed, entertainment. But. He was on a leash, like a pet. His parents said it's so he wouldn't wander off. In the dream this was all normal. I kept worrying about one thing though: Who would hug him if he got scared?
Home is in bed with Mama -- scarfing down an In-N-Out burger. Home is a park bench in Baguio -- weeping to Transatlanticism. Home is a hot day in Manila -- looking at you, stifling a smile at the thought of how much I like your eyes. Home is 1988 in Luneta -- a gloomy day, a double deck bus selling hotdog sandwiches. Home is a hospital bed -- the smell of death; your warm, trembling hand in mine. Home is grey sand in Zambales -- sunburn, your laughter. Home is a rainy night -- your soft snore, the smell of your nape, fog outside.
When I was young, our helper often called me "aanga-anga." She'd say "magaling sa eskwela pero tanga naman." There was a version of me who derided "slow" people. But I know now that it was a coping mechanism because I'm on the dim side. And I own that in a resigned, so-what, I'm-not-hurting-anyone way. I try. My God, I try. And the people who understand, I love them the most. Just, today I feel quite defeated. Anyway. Moving on! Kurt Vonnegut said: "You'd be surprised how interesting people become when they think you're 'really' stupid."
My earliest memory of happiness on being compared to my father is a sunny morning in Baguio, on our way to Crystal Cave (was it? or the market?). My aunt, walking up behind me, told my other aunt that my stance is like Papa's -- "Nakausli yung dalawang kneepit." (Now not anymore, hello uneven pelvis). The body part behind our knee is called the kneepit or hough or...popliteal fossa. I digress. Most people say I'm more Dado than Lolette. I used to like it when people said that. But as with honesty, we cannot be 100% certain about our memories.
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