Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What Have I Been Doing Lately?

And then suddenly I am at a loss for words.

Not good especially now that I feel that writing is one of the few things that make me special. A very human trait--wanting to be special. Needing to be special.

I refuse to go down the road that leads to depression. I can’t afford that trip right now. Besides, I am not taking the expression “writing break” entirely wrong. Yes, I have not been taking the time off from my daily routine to write anything that makes sense--something I should be doing in order to be good at the craft. But I have not submitted myself to some dramatic, if not bitter, writing hiatus either. In fact, the sequel to the “Lost…Aren’t We All” series is, just as most of my works are, well underway. And most parts of its ending are still well preserved in my cerebral hemisphere.

Aside from that, I had been writing other things too. One is a poem I’d rather not post because I know it will get me into trouble, and the reason is definitely not because I suck at composing poetry. Hence I retract my literary balls.

Mostly I have been making lists. Of why I miss people. Of what I would have a surplus of if I didn’t stop myself from impulsive shopping. Of what I would like to eat in a buffet. Of who I want to be. Of who I think I once was. Of what I should be doing in the next five years. Things like that. Mostly.

Then there are those fictitious characters and plot lines that continue to haunt me. Although I choose not to dwell on them at the moment, I do thank them for they inevitably remind me that the writer in me has not yet died. Which is good.

When Valentine’s Day passed, I felt the urge to explore the topic on relationships or at least anything related to relationships. I am no expert but I have this theory that the non-existence of my so-called love life allows me to detach myself from the said phenomenon thus giving me an objective view on such mysterious human emotion inducer. Hence I became Dr. Love. It started out with me being somebody’s friend.

Friend trapped in a gray area says she just found out that she is the only remaining virgin among her siblings. She adds that what bothers her most is that she is not the youngest in the family and that none of them were married. Friend’s gray area is summed up by her exact words (or almost exact words), “di ko alam kung dapat ko bang problemahin ang mga pinaggagagawa ng mga kapatid ko o kung mamomroblema ako dahil napag-iwanan na nila ang sex life ko.”

Friend’s predicament reminds me of an incident in one of my classes back in college. I had this teacher who was fond of deviating our discussions from our curriculum to his sex life. I don’t really know what satisfaction he gets from revealing his age when he lost his virginity (oh, yeah, he forgot to tell us the gender of his partner) or from telling us that after class he would be rushing to a date with a special someone. I never really got that.

But what puzzled me most was when he assumed that the majority of the people in our class were no longer virgins. He even said that if lightning were to strike our classroom killing all the non virgins, around three to five will be left standing. In any case, I would have opted to play dead.

Margarita Holmes-like instructor must have had a single way of classifying people: the virgins and the non-virgins. I don’t see what the big deal is with his taxonomy. I mean, given a virgin friend, I assume she would retain her personality even after the breaking of her hymen. That is if she doesn’t become a mom overnight. I assume that motherhood would at least add a sense of responsibility to any person. (Although based on personal experience, not all mommies grow up responsible; others regress as time pass. However I prefer to believe in what’s ideal.)

Some people make hooking up with someone and even going all the way sound like one big amazing race. Like the longer you keep your hymen intact, the deeper the word “loser” is carved on your forehead. Que Horror! If that’s the basis of success, we would be forced to evacuate human beings to Mars.

Prior to Valentine’s Day, I returned to my Alma Mater to join in the celebration of Our Patron Saint’s big day. It was something I thought I had to do. Something I should do by myself.

I have not been on SPCP grounds since 1999, yet I toured my former campus like I haven’t been gone for seven years. Yes, it’s been that long. I smoothly worked my way towards the Pere Chauvet Gym where I last set foot in 1998, during my graduation night. Everything was almost the same except that, this time, I was surrounded by high school girls--everyone younger than I am. With my jeans and shirt, I tried to blend in, even throwing my ass on the bleachers where spectators for the much awaited cheering demonstration were assigned to park themselves. To my disgust, sitting on the bleachers was no longer as easy as it used to be. For one, my butt is heavier. Then there’s my torso hugged by layers of fats--the non-baby kind. I can no longer sit and stand, and sit and stand as fast and as effortless as I used to.

By the way, “the much awaited cheering demonstration” is my way of saying that the primary reason why I paid P100.00 to a scheming cab driver, despite me trusting him (I have never been on a cab by myself before. That would qualify in my list of firsts at the age of 25.) and P20.00 entrance fee to the place I considered home for 11 years is because I’ve never gotten over the excitement I feel upon hearing the word “cheering.” Try saying the word. Doesn’t it cheer you up? Cheering.

Cheering was a major event in my high school. We devoted our afternoons, even weekends and a few holidays to learn, practice and polish routines that will topple if not kill all the other batches. I was one of the 300+ Seniors ’98 of St. Paul College, Pasig. And if one is familiar with SPCP history, one will know how our batch took the cheering competition seriously. However, it is only in being part of our batch that one will see how much we had fun perfecting our annual showcase of youthfulness. Ahhh, those were the days!

The present-day Paulinian Cheering Squad was, I guess, a bit excited too. Too excited in fact that they carelessly rehearsed their routine inside the gym where punctual spectators were beginning to flock. In that aspect, I’d say we were smarter than they were. They should have known that if there’s one important thing about performing, it’s that you don’t blow your surprise--no preview whatsoever, otherwise the number you worked hard for, will lose its impact. We valued the element of surprise in my time despite the sure WOW of our presentation. Mind you, I’m not being biased. We were really good. Really good. Since the performance of the present-day Paulinian Cheering Squad was too elementary, they should have at least exerted enough effort to astound their audience by sparing them of their outtakes.

Enough of the cheering thing. I was happy to realize that the present-day Paulinians are almost the same as we used to be. I mean, they do perspire still. I was afraid time and savings-unfriendly tuition fee would mold them into a bunch of English-speaking, perky snobs. The only thing I noticed which puzzled me was their wearing Ipods while strolling in groups. Isn’t high school about talking with your friends at every possible time-- during breaks, classes, not to mention during congregational mass? Their Ipods are muddling with the never ending chikahan process. Listening is an integral part of chikahan according to a gay Berlo, or a Schramm--I’m no longer sure of my linguistics and communications guys.

March came. (I started this piece on a March. Today is April 6. Talk about incubation time!) I managed to turn myself into a mechanical piece worker--cutting and pasting three designs 500 times. Four other women shared my fate. And on one desperate day, we all decided to get away from it all, hence an instant trip to Subic.

I think it was my first time in Olongapo. (Another first at 25.) We headed immediately to the beach where probably millions of planktons welcomed us with mouths wide open--that is, if they indeed have mouths. Needless to say, the planktons and their stings drove us out of the sea and into the sand. Still the beach was picture worthy. If only that will compensate my need to bathe with living sea creatures.

We baked ourselves under the heat of the sun while we succumbed to sloth and lay still on the sand, and then further baking while we got our legs pumped up for a mini hike along the Mangrove trail--the most affordable Subic indulgence there is.

Subic has its own Baywalk which is divine during the night. I love late night walks along the bay. The singing combos and live bands made the whole Subic night appeal even to my auditory nerve. I seriously considered working as a female bus boy (“bus girl” doesn’t sound right) in one of the restaurants there.

Probably the highlight of my Subic trip was my signing the waiver for a risky drive. I would like to believe that it is common knowledge that I don’t own a driver’s license--not because I don’t own a car but because of the way I talk and think. Believe me, there is a connection. But I decided to go behind the wheel anyway. Go carts are the new bump cars. Both spell FUN. Without leaving any form of will and testament, I voluntarily jumped inside Subic’s #2 cart and drove fast. Fast and not nearly furious.

Apparently go-carts aren’t the only things assuming speed. Time too is in a hurry. One moment I was contemplating things with the cold January breeze the next thing I know I am being broiled with the dry April air.

And now I stop.

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