Thursday, January 27, 2005

Hobnobbing over Fettuccini with Alfredo Sauce

I am not fond of hobnobbing especially if it is done over a well-prepared meal. Not that it makes the food bland. The food stays good but socializing while eating prevents me from enjoying my meal. I cannot break into my “m-m-m-mmmmmm!” in the middle of a conversation. Hence, the repressed pleasure of my palate.

Basically, that explains the reason why I do not want to take my meals in front of strangers.

Today, I was subtly forced to hobnob. I was trapped in the confines of a well-dressed table for, I think, eight people. We were four plus the friendly guy/host who gave the talk on printing.

They were all English speaking dudes and dudettes there, with occasional code switching. Of course, I can talk—in English, even. But I knew almost zilch about the topic being discussed. I felt like I were an imbecile holding a stiff smile on my otherwise bored face. I was praying that I blend with my ribboned chair so that my agony will end altogether. But no catalyst or any form of an emulsifying agent was there to combine me with my seat so I remained an imbecile with a stiff smile plastered on its bored face.

In any case, I enjoyed listening to the exchange of stories and whatnots transpiring in front of me and my food. In fact, I was even nodding every time I agreed on certain points being raised. Problem was, I really didn’t have anything to say. I felt like I were a corporate lawyer zapped in the middle of a medical conference. Because of my lack of knowledge, I cannot come up with any form of intelligible sound to brighten up our group’s chitchat.

Seconds passed, then minutes, and even maybe hours. Imagine what hours can do to you given such hostile setting!

To save me from limbo, I focused my attention to the lesser evil at hand—the sumptuous food on my plate. I shoveled every piece it in my mouth in the hopes of keeping myself busy.

Finally, I touched my fettuccini and devoured it until it was gone. Then I realized that the discussion on our table was not yet over.

This time, I had no choice but to feign a smile and act like a bored imbecile listening to people talk, an imbecile with no food on its plate—not even a strand of fettuccini.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Best of (Ang) 2004

2004 was a period of transition. From being a plain student, I turned into a UP graduate, a bum, a job hunter, a job huntee, a junior product planner, a taxpayer, an SSS member, a Youngblood baby, an officemate, and more!

Life can’t get any better than it was in 2004—the best year of my life. It’s the year when I reaped the rewards of being in school for 17 years. The rewards ain’t that wonderful but what the heck? I’m so happy I can just say, “Hah! Life is good!”

2004 was the year when two people with an oblique kind of closeness and dearness to me passed away: Aaron (12 August) and Tito Bobby (26 December). Their existence showed me how great it is not to be afraid, not hold back. In the process, they taught me that it doesn’t matter how you die; what matters most is how you lived.

In this wonderful year, my “young blood” hit the new stands. It was the golden moment (the hype lasted at least a day—or two) for my writing career—something which I thought I was just trying to make up with the creative lobe of my brain. My P900 contributor’s fee, mostly spent on taxi fare on my way to the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s main office, wasn’t the best part of the ordeal. Recognition was half of it, but what got me more psyched was the idea that I had an effect on some people (even for a few minutes) through my written voice.

In 2004 I got a hasty date proposal, something I didn’t see coming, from a descent guy to which I retorted a romantic, “no.” I also smoked two sticks of cigarettes—one irrationally, the other rationally. It resulted to an impromptu article for Manila Bulletin, an article for my journal, another article for my blog, and a set of slightly nicotine-inflicted lungs.

I don’t know what awaits this coming year but I sure am ready to find out!

Nice seeing you, 2004; hello 2005!