Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ang Babae sa Dilim

Bakit saksakan ng itim si Gagay?

Kasi nung nagsabog ng kaputian sa mundo, tulog siya.

Bakit siya tulog?

Kasi di nya natanggap yung memo na may gathering of sorts pala!

Si Gagay, ang babae sa dilim, kumakanta ngayon ng, “don’t let me be the last to know…”

Monday, March 24, 2008

What’s Up, Doc?

He said he’ll see me after a month.

It’s barely a month hence and yet there I was, fourth in line to see him.

I was suddenly presented with vacant non-holiday hours, unpaid but I was free anyway, and I hated to put my time to waste. Maneuvering my predicament into gain, I decided to seize the moment and see the doctor who’s allegedly guiding me in managing my asthma—something I developed recently.

Kumusta ang bakasyon? Masaya ba?” I knew outright that it was his pathetic attempt to start a conversation. It doesn’t take the units I’ve passed in my speech communication classes to realize that his opening line doesn’t make a good opening line. Perhaps it was due to his poor delivery.

But he’s a doctor, not a trained public speaker and so I let his teeny tiny communication blunder pass. As detached as his question sounded, I tried to answer with a cold yet sincere, “Not Really.”

“Not really?!” He retorted incredulously. His tone seemed to be accusative. His non-verbals were telling me, “How dare you not to be thankful for the long weekend the holy week provided!”

I shoved off his silent allegation. He knows nothing of what the holy week had been for me. The word “hell” couldn’t quite cover it.

“Don’t ask.” I said dryly to signify that he ought to quit probing. Mind you, I was smiling the whole time so I don’t think that by delivering my lines I came out bitchy. I still get the vibe that the Doc finds me amusing, if not funny, which is weird.

I can shriek right in front of him and claim that I’m in terrible pain but this trained medical man wouldn’t believe me. Needless to say, I seem to be devoid of credibility where my doctor is concerned. There must be a sign hanging on my forehead which says, “I have been watching too many medical drama series.” And Doc was alert enough not to miss it.

During my recent time out with my friends, I was able to tell them about my last two trips to the doctor. Of course, I shared how I thought the doctor thought of me, my self-prognoses, and inquisitive queries.

My friend then asked me, “gwapo ba yung doctor?”

Hmm…non sequitur much?

“OK lang. I mean may itsura sya pero di ko sya type.” As if he being my “type” would make a difference. “At saka parang matanda na siya.” I added.

He can’t be more than 12 years older than I am, but, for some reason, Doc has a father aura in him; one wouldn’t really dare to think of him in umm, ahhh…a dirty kind of way. Well, it helps that I’ve been nurtured with a healthy dose of love from my dad so I’m not really one of those girls who badly seek a father figure in their lives, perhaps much like Kris Aquino does (or did).

For those who are interested to know, I think I didn’t see Doc wearing any wedding band. If you ask me, I may give you his number or his email address, whichever data can be found in his card which you wish to obtain.

Going back, Doc and I, we lack the chemistry my friend seems to wish was there. We lack the rapport which could have potentially turned our appointments into a romantic setting for a story Cupid, himself, may have concocted.

Plus there’s the fact that the check up doesn’t go over ten minutes. Doc just listened to my lungs, which by the way is now free of the wheezing sound, and took a glance at my tongue to see if there are fungi populating it—a threat my inhaler poses—to which I was cleared.

At that point, I thought, “boy, these doctors make easy money!” And then my thoughts continued to drift off, “what if a doctor happens to be the weakest in his class, should he charge his patients less than the doctors with high grades do?”

Haven’t that ever crossed your mind?

“You can go back to your normal routine.” This was Doc’s order after the not-so pleasantries, use of stethoscope and a hasty ocular inspection. “But make sure you continue with the inhalers.”

The inhalers! Holy crap, the inhalers that will lead me to bankruptcy! (Yes I’m exaggerating but if you know how financially challenged I am, you’d say I’m not exaggerating much.) And the inhaler's design cannot go more phallic than it already is. I can hear the darn man (I have a strong hunch it was a guy who designed the packaging) snickering for having been able to get away with a design that celebrates his machismo in a very uncalled for way.

He ends, “I’ll see you again in two months. Perhaps we’ll decrease the dosage then.”

Two months. I’m looking forward to zero asthma attacks, zero inhaler dosage, and non-zero savings.

I’m just glad he didn’t prescribe me any of those steroids I had to take in orally! If that ever happened, Doc would most definitely lose me at hello.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday Traffic

Easter Sunday went pretty much OK, at least for us, three, who when put together, form a traffic light.

We've made our stops and rolled in our go's after doing some hardcore waiting.

It wasn't long until we realized we resemble a traffic light, well at least our shirts do.

Stop, wait, go!

A quick "Hello!" to our utol.

Indulging in bowling, the thing we used to do.

A hasty shot I took.

Koreanovelas and Pinoys

I’m guessing I wrote this in January 27, 2008. It was when I joined my mom with her Coffee Prince marathon that I tinkered with my brother’s (company) Blackberry phone and composed something that described and justified what we were doing with our lives at that given moment. In that light I wish to thank my bro for preserving this piece and for helping me transfer it from his phone to our PC.

Ten hours and counting—that’s how much time we, Pinoys, are willing to spend watching canned telenovelas shipped from Korea. These shows’ addicting effects have proved to be lucrative for local networks as well as for the friendly DVD pirates around our neighborhood.

Never mind if one has to sit excruciatingly long hours in front of the TV set, staring at the poorly translated subtitles then to the Korean actors who almost always look alike. As pathetic as it may sound, finding out what’s going to happen to the characters Korean writers came up with is all worth any viewer’s trouble.

Appeal to curiosity is key, if there really such a thing. I would personally call it the “Pringles effect.” Once you pop, you just can’t stop. And this explains why a lot of our people get hooked.

It helps that Korean writers are skilled in creating characters who are easy to love. Once the Pinoy audience connect with whom they see on TV, they will surely be up for the Koreanovela ride no matter where it leads them, no matter how long it takes.

Why, then, are we, Pinoys, so easily predisposed into appreciating Korean TV? Because we want corny in our lives. And corny is what we get from these Korean imports. But unlike our locally produced telenovelas, the ones from the hermit kingdom are done in better taste.

No, it does not do away with the same old mush we’ve seen a thousand times from the boob tube. However, the subtle way in which these familiar elements are scattered within the span of a series’ run makes them more effective than we might expect.

Then again, Koreanovelas have a finer selling point than that. Aside from doing away from the usual damsels in distress who do nothing but cry which ultimately empower women—the demographics that probably compose the big bulk of these shows’ fans, Korean shows manage to present flawed characters making them more life-like than others.

And in a country bombarded with harsh truths on an hourly basis, it’s always easier for its people not to venture too far away from reality in their pursuit to take a time off from their realities. A tiny step away from their normal lives offers less far out dreams to live up to, yet at the same time, provides hope that is within every Pinoy’s reach.

For as long as Koreanovelas serve their purpose to the Pinoy households they are sure to proliferate faster and more extensively than they do now. And for the temporary escape they give, we just have to thank God for the Koreans and their telenovelas.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Unmaking of a Family

Sometimes I wonder why God invented families when family can hurt you more than ten times as much as a friend would. Perhaps God has His reason as He always does. If only I can flip through my life’s future pages, I’d find out what the divine explanation is.

If family is perfect then life would be a breeze. And the word “dysfunctional” will pair up with words other than “family.” But then I am talking hypothetical.

In real life, a kid will have to, at one time or another, wake up with feuding parents bickering in the wee hours of the night over things the kid would probably never understand. The only thing that will stick to its juvenile mind is how the mom and dad the kid always loved would split up—an idea scarier than the boogeyman.

But the parents stay together, perhaps for the kid and yet the parents living in one house still bugs the kid just as equally as the impending split up.

And then the kid gets over its versions of ghosts and brushes them aside. Until one day the feud that woke up the kid in the past, finds its way back to the kid’s life and ka-blam! The disaster that started 17, 18 years ago ensues. The only difference is, now, the ghosts have roots from which they draw their wrath and they have arms through which they lash out their rage.

The story then ends up sad, leaving no character happy.

But that story is simple.

I'm guessing mine, just like many's, is complex. Unfortunately I refuse to share my tale in the same once-upon-a-time manner.

Right now I’m wondering how so easily a man and a woman can love each other to the point of deciding to be one in the eyes of their god, their community, and their law. The difficult part is hating each other and hurting each other. And yet it happens.

And the hating and hurting is not limited between the husband and wife. There are the kids and whoever else is drawn (or dragged) into the family. Now that makes a varied combination of people hating and hurting!

It entails a lot of effort to take a step back and realize that the melodrama one’s family is absorbed into is such a waste of time. And stepping back, it really is. Time which should be spent celebrating each other’s company is wasted if it’s spent otherwise.

I lost my youngest brother to leukemia which is beyond devastating. Although, I’d like to believe, I did what I could to maximize his short stay with us, I still get swarms of what-ifs, all asking if there were more which I should and could have done to make his life better.

I fear to face the same loss again. However, lately, not only death is on the verge of taking my family away from me.

I may lose my dad to his oblique way of grieving, my mom to her hard-headedness beyond reason, my sister to circles and circles of misundersandings, my younger brother to whatever life comes up with, and my even younger brother to his rebellious teenage angsty ways.

Or then again, I may lose any of them because of me.

For some reason, there always have to be constant threats in having those people I love around. I’m afraid that those threats, as long as they’re not resolved, will prevent me from having a good night sleep.

Saying that I don’t care about any of them is bull sh_t, because, really, I love each of them. I can never end with “I hate you. Go to hell!” Besides if there was something a family is all about, it’s about not having an end, it’s being one no matter what. Being in a family is not like being part of a contest where one takes sides and keeps track of scores. It’s always teamwork to resolve something at a proper time, venue and manner.

The stinging pain brought about by family problems is proof that unmaking a family is not easy.

Where my family is concerned the word “dysfunctional” is always lurking around. I once told a friend, “sa picture lang kami masaya. Sa totoong buhay, hindi talaga.” But that’s not entirely true. My family has its moments. And I wish to boast that our best times arise whenever life throws us the worst. I guess for that alone, I am proud of the family I was born into. Yes, I wish things would be better, but right now I can only hope things were better.

And if current events turn somewhere less favorable, then maybe my family wasn’t made. There will be no point in unmaking it. And the time we’ve spent together after all these years were all in vain.

Devastating? Yes.

I wouldn’t know how to live with such thought. And if that were really the case, I should start looking for other causes to invest my faith because family, no matter whose family it is, will not be worth all the trouble. So much so that the big, omniscient Man Himself should not have invented it to begin with.

But He did!

But he did.

The Relief From Constipation

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on my blog. And the last one was a quite disturbing tale. I have my excuses for being unfaithful to “my sacred corner of the world,” as an officemate would put it. One would be: I’ve been busy whipping up the cutest and close to perfect invitation for my niece’s baptism. I hardly found time to do my personal laundry, let alone blog. The other one would be: on my silent moments, I’ve been feeling shitty, not against anyone but mostly towards myself.

I figured long ago, it’s always best to shut up when anger clouds your thoughts, prompting you to say or write profanities or anything resembling profanities. It’s best to shut up so that no irrevocable damages could be done just because your emotions are too strong you just had to drop destructive words.

Anger clearly is not the best relief to constipation.

As to my previous post, I turned my depression into a tale. I said that I’ve been feeling shitty lately. I’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions; I honestly am considering seeing a doctor about it. Everyone feels sad from time to time but not everyone can get as depressed as I am. It worries me. (You should understand how hard it is for me to admit that there is a chance that I may be crazy. Seriously crazy.) And since I really can’t commit to suicide or any form of self mutilation to relieve me of all my shits, I created a character who can jump off a cliff without hestations, unlike me.

You see, not all writers have to be 100% sane, right?

Someone once asked me why I wanted to become a writer. I answered, “so that when I lose my voice, I’d have my written words to turn to.”

I lost my voice for a while. It’s a self-imposed constipation really. I didn’t have the time to relieve myself of my thoughts. I didn’t bother to find time to do it. Anyway, it was for the best. To save the world of my drama.

The earth doesn’t have to feel shitty simply because I do, right?

Achilles had his tent where he retreats to from time to time. I have my blog which will always accommodate my written voice no matter if it’s at 6 in the morning.

It’s unfair turning to a blog instead of a friend or family during tough times but what is fair really? Where I am right now, fair is nonexistent.

Believe me.

The last time we went out to refresh our groceries a promo girl handed me her free merchandise. I thanked her and I was actually psyched for receiving something without having to pay. When I looked at it, it was Dolculax, “the number 1 laxative in the Philippines.” It says it’ll give me relief from constipation. I’m staring at the flyer and the pill right now and I’m writing this. I guess I’m relieved.

But wait, I the labels says I have to swallow it for it to work.

Oh well…

Monday, March 10, 2008

Virgin Suicide

She had two choices: To get a life or to give it up.

And in one earth-shattering moment, her hope for a better life was crushed by a heartless quip by someone who’s supposed to care.

At this point, nothing left is a laughing matter. But no one realizes it but she.

Now she’s off, looking for the cliff from which she could jump.

To end it all.

To take the only option left of her.