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It's been a kind summer so far. Breezy. Mild heat. The bougainvilleas (bougies) are angry, in a beautiful way. Colors shouting. My favorite part of April and May. In my phone I have video snippets of various bougie shrubs I pass on my way home. There's a bright peach bougie tree at the corner near our house and I've been wanting to take a photo of it for years. I haven't yet because I care too much about people who stare and comment (unsolicited). I'm sure in a few days I'll be writing about what an unkind summer this is.
(Continued...) Sometimes I feel like home has become a prison I made so I can feel free and deliberately imprisoned when I want to. Someday I'll understand what I meant by that. But going back to the previous entry about my hesitation in taking a photo in public. . . In some way, this hesitation may have been caused by a too-far-in-the-past incident in Baguio when a guy (goon) stopped me on the sidewalk and asked me to delete photos in my camera. See, I was taking photos of this pub (it had a quirky name or sommat).
(Continued...) when this guy asked why I was taking photos (of a public place). He then instructed me to show him while I delete said photos. I don't remember now what I did, but I remember the feeling of danger. Looking back, this was how I felt in Baguio almost 24/7--out of place, doing something wrong, could be accosted at any time. Then again, I say things out of anger. When I'm not angry or resentful, I see Baguio for what it really is to me. My own, my heart, my balm, my dream, my constant. The works.
Here's another thing that's nice about summer: You don't leave the house worrying about rain dousing your laundry. I mean, you know the feeling, yes? Constant worry. You leave Mandaluyong. You go to Cubao. It rains in Cubao. You worry that it's also raining in Mandaluyong. You call home. No one's picking up. You now worry about your laundry like a mother worrying if their child has an umbrella. You're uneasy and distracted. Rain is beautiful in itself. But you cannot see that. Instead, you see your child getting soaked and you worry there's nothing you can do. Fidget, fidget. †
If I write about it I kid myself that I'm absolved of guilt or whatever unwanted feeling. So today I'm writing about my refusal to buy plane tickets online. I ask favors from my cousin or sister-in-law under the pretext that I'm ignorant about good tickets and how to find them. Well, this is quite true. But if I wanted to, I could try and teach myself, right? Thing is, the Internet intimidates me. What an annoying sentence. Okay, an honest thing -- I'd rather buy a physical ticket from our old, trusty travel agent at Makati, Mrs Misa.
Las Vegas, 2006: I was trying to catch this bus from the other (far) side of the crosswalk, and the signage was taking forever to say "Walk." Right when it did, I ran like the devil. I could see the bus already unloading passengers. Look like there were only a few alighting so I knew I only had maybe 5 seconds to get to the door. I ran so fast that I neglected to check if I was cutting someone's way. Turned out I was, and this woman yelled "Bitch!" I can still hear her in my head. Good times.
Had an impromptu catch-up with Drea today. First off, I discovered 100words.com years ago via Drea (hi, Drea!). That's just one of the few sunshiny, happybright, comfortcalm things I learned from her. So for example, today, she talked about Reiki, our inner child, forgiving one's self and being of help to others...being kind to yourself, taking time to recalibrate (her word!), and focusing on what's important (not money!). Also, a tarot reading! She also brought me to a nifty Taiwanese eatery (for future cravings). We didn't eat there though, we had good old Jollibee. Swell Sunday. *chef'skiss*
It's a few days later and, hi! What an unkind summer this is. It's here. The mugginess when you step out of the bathroom or an airconditioned room. Ick. Not complaining, just declaring that it's here. At the train platform I was plotting my 2 months, clothing-wise. How do I survive this summer? Is my question every year, being that my wardrobe is 80% cold-weather-wear and black. I'm unbelievably sweaty and...OK, you get the drift. One would think I'd have it figured out by now. Well, one would be wrong. And will be for more years.
Lying has become an autopilot task for him. Like learning to ride a bike (eventually you don't fall flat on your face; eventually you glide; eventually it's like second skin; eventually you do it without realizing you're doing it). Generally that ó the quick way in which we learn certain stuff, like knowing when to step on and off an escalator without hurting one's self. He observes the Rashomon effect of lies, almost-lies, embellishments, omissions, and the occasional truth. A husband can believe his wife but then hear another version from a friend. He chooses to respond with a lie.
Not that I'm attracting it, but I can see my ignorance re: governmental processes biting me in the ass someday. IDK how PhilHealth, SSS, BIR, Pag-IBIG, etc. work. I can learn these things. Problem is, I focus on the enormity and complexity of these things and allow myself to be defeated even before round 1 starts. These days, it feels like I'm straddling four horses simultaneously and I will fall at any time, on manure, and there will be no water to wash it off. Pardon the Ick. Not attracting it!!! Just...ranting. OK, back to glitter and unicorns.
Thursday. Last night I called in sick to work. Used the extra time to recharge. Summer is usually the time when an episode comes along. It ambles by and just...stays on top of my chest. I've memorized it enough to know how to deal with it. However there are some days, like yesterday, when it gets overwhelming. I should be happy, because I've been feeling off for about a month now, and there's been an ample amount of restraint, go-go-even-if-low -- mostly pretending to be OK. There just comes a day when all the walls collapse.
Saturday! Visited Byron at work then we had dinner. We talked about Nipsey Hussle and 2Pac. He said he texted Mama when he heard about Nipsey because he knew Mama is near LA. I assured him it's a good 45-minute distance by car and that Ma's area is generally safe. He then asked more about 2Pac and wondered aloud why he didn't get to listen to him more (Byron you were 9 when 2Pac died). He then said he used to sneak into my room and "borrow" my Backstreet Boys cassette. We had a good laugh. Also, Garbage, Rivermaya.
"I donít think living is easy, even for those of us who arenít scrounging. Itís hard to get through every day and say thereís a good reason to get up tomorrow. It just amazes me that people do it, and so cheerfully. The clearest way that you can show endurance is by sticking with a family. Itís easy to dump a friend, but you canít so easily dump a brother. How did they stick together, and what goes on when they do? ó all those things just fascinate me." -- the amazing Anne Tyler, NY Times
(For Mei on his 30th birthday Ė April 13) DFWís ďThis Is WaterĒ (TIW) is my balm. I cry whenever I read itómostly in sweet reliefórealizing anew how easily navigable life can be. I go to TIW in times of hardships, and Iíd like to share it with a new friend (in case he hasnít read it yet). Choice passage: ďThe really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.Ē
No trains today. Ack. I mentally prepared for this week for weeks. Replayed in my head again and again and again how I'm going to take the bus and such. How I need to get up much earlier. How I generally need to be more alert and alive this week. What happened was, nothing. Nothing happened. I got up much later than usual. Lolled in bed debating whether to get up in 5 minutes or 10 minutes? Ended up getting up after 2 hours. Terrific. Much accomplishment. Applause. Happy Monday! In another life, I'm commuter extraordinaire. Not immobile, not indecisive.
Papa forgot his keys and had to wait in the balcony for about an hour. In that time I was snoozing my alarm repeatedly, ignoring my other phone altogether (in airplane mode anyway), and basically being oblivious to goings-on outside the houseóas I do 95% of the time. When I saw Papa's messages to please unlock the door I immediately imagined, what if it was me in his place? Would I be pissed that it took so long for someone to unlock the door? I thought of this because Papa's smile was so gentleólike nothing was wrong.
My father's kind face. Every time I allow myself the occasional wallowing in anger, I remember Papa's face, his gentle way, and I feel guilt for my blackness, my propensity to pour hot liquid all over my brittle heart and complain of darkness. I told Mama this countless timesóI often whine about the boys in the house to compensate for...IDK. Papa and Byron are nothing but nice to me and I'm just...evil. Not beating myself up unnecessarily, I'm telling you this because it's the truth. Anyway, my entry for the 12th was supposed to be for 13th.
John Mayer's version of Free Fallin', am I right??? It's Thursday. My third favorite day. Life is being kind. Water shortage, a fever that keeps on wanting to happen, promises that keep on being made and broken, rain that causes more humidity, malaise, big, medium, and small worries--all these I can shrug off because they're temporary. If you're sad now don't worry too much. You'll be okay and other banalities. I say it often, cliches are the truest things because they simply are! Come on. Look up, fake a smile...I mean, have you ever smelled a baby's head???
It still takes me by surprise how easy and necessary I find it to disrespect my parents, my mother especially, when I'm "not in the mood." There's shame, anger, guilt. But for a few minutes I hold on to whatever feeling it is, like it's something I've been deprived of for so long. Then, as I become aware of my asshole-ry, I devise ways to apologize. I will feel more guilt when Papa or Mama shrugs it off. "Wala yun, sorry din." And I exhale in relief, oh I was worrying for nothing! But was it really nothing though?
How does an explosion feel? Say, you're in a bus and it explodes, what would you feel? Do you imagine the pain starting from your head? Would you have time to feel pain or would it be instant? Explosion, surprise, unconsciousness. Is it like heartbreak, betrayal, sudden rain? You're going about your day and then you're presented with a dilemma, only it lasts for a split second and there's no time to choose between acceptance and resistance. What of the people on the bus with you? Would you have the presence of mind to help them? Is it an option?
Today I ate my weight in potato chips. There's a new Starbucks near our house. Walking distance. Terrible. My money goes to McDo chicken fillet, potato chips, iced coffee, green tea. All my money. All of it. Just this morning I needed to book a flight and couldn't because my credit card is of no help. Goodbye 50% off seat sale. While eating my chips in bed I read a book about travel. I then stressed myself worrying about our cranky washing machine. Can we stress ourselves to sleep? Because I was out for 12 hours. Woke up v. disoriented.
MRT's back!!! I discovered last week that my tolerance and stomach for public transport is mediocre at best. Yup. IDK what that means except what I really want to say is for all the shit I say about the trains...I...can't live without it. One week is too long. It's Monday and my anxiety is through the roof. My shift isn't until 9 p.m. and yet I'm out the house at 2 p.m. It's almost 3 p.m. now and I'm somewhere in Magallanes at a loss as to what I will do with these 6 hours.
Was tooling around my old Wordpress and found this entry about summer 2009 (in Baguio): There are now intermittent explosions of lilac, red, yellow, and other colors in Burnham Park. The jacaranda and weeping bottlebrush trees, sunflowers, and other flowers are abloom. Walking through the park should be nearly perfect, if not for the harsh heat. But. Itís summer, and itís only during summer when these blooms lend color to the park. So this is something to be thankful for. And yes, I love summer in Baguio if only for these colors! I sound like a happy person!
I dreamt Papa and I went to this resort because he wanted to surf. When we got there though, the ocean was in a hissy fit. It was black and the waves were high as 10-storey buildings. Not ideal for surfing, someone said in the dream. My brain might have presented me this detail (angry ocean) because of that ocean storm scene in Missing Link. Anyway, in the dream, people were captivated--they were on the beach just staring at this roiling wave show. We stood there, too, mouths open. The sea lapped at our bodies. Woke up puzzled.
Thereís a heaviness these days intersticed with a lifting thatís long overdue. 10 years ago I was in the last stages of a long-term relationship, an inevitable conclusion. Thinking about Jang these days still results in melancholy. I remember the moments of uncontrollable tears. That one trip at Landmark under the chandelier made of red high-heeled shoes when I couldnít take another step because I physically felt itóa pain that stopped all life in me. Now itís so much easier and so much harder. Time heals? No. It just makes the pain familiar.
It's bled into this week, my Grab-convenient-commute extravaganza, and it's taking all my money away from me come back please. I'm in line at a McDonald's as of this writing and thinking about my PT session that pseudo-ended this morning. No. Pseudo isn't the right word. Anyway, doctor said I need another 4-6 sessions. My back has improved from early March when I thought the worst has come. Dramatic like that. I need to stop these habits. McDo. Grab. Coffee dependence. Tardiness. Tempted to say "I can't help it" but I know that I truly can.
Saturday. Slept the day away. For (my) future reference, the week of April 15 was Holy Week, that's why there was no train service. I imagine future me reading this and getting confused about the lack of trains. Because, yes, future me still trusts in objects that are supposed to be 24/7 (or at least office hours daily). Hospitals, airports, 7-11s, Dunkin Donuts, etc. Oh so just now I remembered the trusty DD at Session Road. How it's where the first stages of my courtship with Jang began. Endings, beginnings. 24-hour stores are witnesses. Silent. Knows-everything.
Summer who? It's been breezy and not-hellish this weekend. Fan's actually enough. Not blowing hot air as it is wont to do this time of year. 2018 seems so far away. Avengers is everywhere. Give this another month and a few weeks and it's a whole new other hype. It's a little disappointing how, after weeks of pounding you with anything-Avengers, after the first day of showing there's a feeling of someone leaving you and it's saying goodbye you're on your own. And the rows of movie posters look forlorn. They, too, are confused if they're still needed.
"Before there was Internet..." he begins, and I'm instantly smitten. It's so easy, these days, to impress me. But that's another story. My doctor prescribes new medication and rattles off a list of side effects, and in my head is another version of me, plunging into the ocean and willingly touching the jellyfish because I know at the bottom there are 20,000 gold bars, enough to sustain me and my loved ones. And I say "Yes, OK." He continues..."reruns were scarce, we had to wait for a new episode for a week." I like him, he's a jellyfish.
For a company that is supposed to make communication more convenient, PLDT sucks balls. I'm channeling my frustration here because 3 hours earlier, a customer rep presented me with an explanation so idiotic that it will make me wonder for years how I restrained myself from yelling and throwing things. Now that's over and done with, last Sunday I wrote a feedback to McDonald's about their new ordering system. Oh yeah so turns out that's not over and done with, my being Tita, my passive-aggressiveness, and whatnot. Anyway, wow, April...you have always been one to fly by. Bye.
The Tip Jar