Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Nightmare Despite Christmas

This time, I shall speak out. I cannot no longer hold my peace, not when I am continually assaulted like this.

Perhaps it is a product of having too much time on my hands, perhaps it is because the winter vacation has afforded me enough space for blogging, or perhaps I am completely fed up with the bullshit thrown my way but, know this, what I am about to write is not born of impulse. I have been thinking of this, for several years now, and the last thing I'll need is an idiot who thinks of my sentiments as nothing more than a rant done on the spur of the moment.

Enough charades; I will not try your patience as mine had been. This is about homophobia.

I count myself as one of those lucky enough to escape the ordeals many homosexual men in our country face. My parents have yet to beat or disown me on account of my sexuality. In private schools, gay boys are either harassed, outcasted or given a wide berth. Worse, in public schools, limp-wristed boys are known to be raped during after-school hours, or even during classes, inside filthy, ill-maintained washrooms that smell of nicotine and sex. Non-consensual sex.

I am born of a Christian family, enrolled in a Catholic school and graduated one of the more prestigious universities in our country. As such, I was not exposed to much of the terrible abuse that haunts those unfortunate to prefer those of the same sex. My classmates in high school were all kept under the watchful eyes of stern nuns, ambitious parents and overbearing teachers; oh, there were mean girls and such groups but the manifestation of hatred rarely developed into something that cannot be shrugged off. Brawls and bouts of fighting were very rare but, even then, the parties involved usually are comprised of a pretty girl and two or more boys. I digress, however.

I must admit, after the pampered spoon-feeding of that Catholic school, college was an immense eye-opener for me. I was surrounded by people who smoke, who swear profusely, who wear, of all things, dining utensils. In my years at the university, I have met chain smokers, alcoholics, drug users and video game addicts. At the risk of being overly proud of my alma mater, I could say that each and every one of those people I have met is somewhat intellectual. Oh, there were prejudices and other such matters of emotions but, in a place ruled by rational thinking, or a close approximation of it, these were toned down to an indistinct hum or buzz in the background: one you can quite easily ignore or miss, if you weren't particularly keen on looking for it.

Working after college was also an eye-opener of an equal, or possibly greater, degree. There was so much food to be had, so many places to go to and so many things to buy, yet one can only earn so much. There are so many idiots out there, waiting to be discovered the moment you step out of the sheltering embrace of school and family. Then there are also homophobes.

I came out to a few people on my second year of college. Some treat it off-handedly, knowing what I was before I even knew of it myself. Some treated it with interest, as though having a gay friend was a very unique experience. I do remember a girl or two who gave me a strange look coupled with a wistful, yet disappointed, sigh. No violent reactions, of course, but, more importantly, no hostile reactions. However, when I stepped into the corporate world, the prejudice against people like me, once a hum, grew to be a deafening and largely threatening rumble that strongly impelled me to tread very carefully.

When I first worked in a corporate environment, I had found myself surrounded by homophobes. More than once, I had mused over the irony of a homosexual having homophobes as his first circle of frie... ahem, "acquaintances" The more I knew them, however, I found myself retracting my unsavory judgments; I, too, had been rather presumptuous. Some of them were actually nice people, if you get to know them better. We enjoyed crude gay jokes at which I took minimal to no offense but, then, we also cracked sexist jokes about women (or more rarely, men) Some of these people, too, I found to be profound, introspective, admirably civil and, rather importantly, I suppose, discreet. I do suspect that a lot of them already knew what I am but, so far, nothing much has changed.

It was here that I thought the worst I could ever experience was a gay joke.

Just recently, I had finally experienced, first hand, what I thought was nothing more than wild and exaggerated claims of attention-deprived individuals. Just this month of holiday cheer, I was proven wrong. People, whom you once thought were intellectual, turned out to be... for lack of a better term, rotten eggs.

It was not a sudden revelation; I had an inkling of a few of my coworkers' thoughts on homosexuality several months before. It begins, I suppose, with the eyes; they tend to be shifty and cannot meet a homosexual's gaze for more than a second. Then the affliction travels down the spine as they unconsciously lean away from you when you are talking to them. It moves to the feet, causing them to seek the maximum possible distance they can put between themselves and any nearby homosexuals. After a while, it also begins to infect the mind, causing one to be forgetful at opportune moments. One has to conveniently return to get a forgotten, if not imaginary, item from one's desk if only to avoid sharing an elevator with a gay guy. As the disease progresses, it also begins to affect the mouth where words tend to slip at inopportune moments, offering a glimpse of the dreaded rotten mass festering within.

These are, I suppose, symptoms exhibited by people with intense homophobia who, pressured by the society, in its gradual enlightenment, have attempted to hide their, for lack of a better word, hatred under a cloak of rational thinking and intellectual reasoning.

Allow me to present to you some observations. Suppose you were alone in the elevator when, at some floor, a black man steps in. If you make a small step to the side and keep watching him warily from the corner of your eye, shame on you, that is racism. If however, instead of a black guy, a gay guy walks in and you also made the same actions, would it be wrong? Why, no, not at all, you reason. There's no being too cautious around gay men, they tend to jump cute guys like you, no? Come to think of it, you should be panicking and trying to get out of there as fast as possible. Already you can feel him staring at you hungrily, drooling inwardly at the hunky piece of meat you are. Yeah, that's good, assume the worst; better safe than sorry, right? Bullshit!

Another one, there's a party and there are several balloons. What wonder of wonders, there happens to be rather long and, allow me to describe, phallic balloons around. If you take one of these lengths and turkey-slap a girl with it, well, shame on you again! That is terribly sexist and is a very good ground for sexual harassment! You don't do that to a girl (except, perhaps, in straight porn films) at least, not in a civil setting, not in public! Now, take the same balloon and slap it on a gay guy's cheeks, why, now it's quite amusing, isn't it? A soft, lengthy, conveniently phallic implement assaulting a homosexual in an act of symbolic domination, now that's quite a comic scene, ain't it? After all, he probably enjoys it, don't they all? After all, they're gay, they're addicted to sex and they're addicted to cock, penises, phalluses, anything long, so it's alright, hm? It's not sexual harassment if they like it, isn't it? And you can always, ALWAYS, assume they like it. Why? 'cause they're gay, that's why! Another bullshit!

Now suppose you were in a mall and an autistic kid accidentally brushes your arm. Now, suppose you, for all that you have learned about tolerance and understanding, reeled back in fright, making that hissing sound a snake makes when threatened. What you did is very, very wrong too. There is probably no -ism word for that yet, but you are being terribly prejudiced. Autism is not a freaky contagion and there usually is no harm meant when an autistic person passes you by. You cannot acquire autism by such a small and fleeting contact. However, of course, if it was a gay guy, it would be very, very different now, wouldn't it? I mean, they're flaming sexual creatures; they're always on the prowl, hunting for eligible men, men like you. There's no harm in jerking your arm way back and instinctively leaping away from them now, is there? After all, you were just trying to protect yourself from them. More and more bullshit, where will it ever end?

I should be enjoying my winter vacation. Even non-believers do enjoy Christmas festivities and Yuletide buffets. Yet, what am I doing? Simmering hatred, feeling injustice, attempting to forgive the unforgivable. All of you, I gave you the benefit of the doubt. Some of you turned out to be nice people. I am very grateful for the warmth shared by a mere handful. I smilingly welcome the openness offered by very few. I admired the unexpected discretion of some of you. For some of those that cannot really accept me as a homosexual guy, I appreciate your silence and, for that, I you have my respect.

However, for those who cannot accept or even tolerate, for those who whisper ill words within earshot and for those who regale companions with pure bullshit on being gay, I sincerely wish you a very Happy and Merry Christmas. For a non-believer like me, that's pretty much the same as a "Fuck you."

Monday, September 21, 2009


Hello stranger. It's been quite a while; do you still remember me? Frankly, I don't remember what you looked like. I don't even recall the slightest bit about you. My memories of those years were really fuzzy. You only exist in my head through secondhand accounts of the people around us. We were best friends back then and we used to go to school together, rain or shine. The last thing I heard about you was that you emerged from the closet a few years back. Good luck with that.

Hello stranger. Do you remember the time when we first met? I think I do, I still vaguely recall my mom meeting your mom and teasing me about having a crush on your sister. Do you remember going to our home to play war games? You had a bunch of your own toys in your arms while we had a bin of toys that, in a pinch, could transform into magnificent structures like teleport stations, barracks, lookout towers, missile turrets and battleship launch pads. We went to the same school, right? Only, I was a few years older than you. There were three of us: you, me and that girl with the singing voice. We were best friends back then and our lives, we shared with each other every time we met. Now, we each tread our own distinct paths.

Do you remember when we were young and you taught me how to play chess? You always beat me back then but you probably didn't know that I lost because I was looking, not at the chess board, but at you. Remember when you and your sibs were taking a bath in your garage? Hmmmn, you probably don't wanna remember that so, for your sake, I hope you've forgotten. Remember when we both entered the service of the church? Oh, I was so young and gullible then. I worked as a sacristan and, later, as a choir member. Man, I feel sorry for those who have heard me back then. We were both young and sang soprano, right? However, you left and I was stuck with an emo soprano girl while my voice turned to its present baritone. Or was it bass? Gah, I'm no good at this.

We both went to the same high school, right? Oh, the memories I'd rather have erased! Still, your presence lingers and I still recall that unique bond we shared. I would often lie to you and, as I found out years later, you have also lied to me. It was thieves' honor, I guess, how we shrugged off the discovery of each lie, silently promising never to get caught again. Do you remember the blonde policewoman? And the empty Starbucks cup? And how we fought over something as trifle as rendering shadows properly? You were pretty much a jerk back in high school. Some things never change; for instance, I think you're still a jerk right now. And I still think you're pretty cool. Back then, I wished I could be like you but, now, I try my best not to lie; I know now what it's like.

Do you still recall those three handkerchiefs you got for your birthday? And how I always stared at you whenever you hover into my field of vision? Man, I was really, really stupid back in high school; statements like, "Sorry, I'm already taken," or, "I have a partner," held no meaning for me. Oh, by the way, thanks for helping me out with that woodworking project. I had no upper body strength back then so I really, really appreciated you sawing my pieces for me. Last I saw you, you were wearing a nursing student's uniform. Best of luck, I guess...

How have you been, stranger? Do you remember that project we were supposed to work on? It was supposed to be an application that renders webpages in IE, Firefox, Netscape, Opera and a lot of other browsers. I still remember your smile... time can take away all my memories but your smile will still remain in my mind. We goofed off a lot, didn't we? However, while you had excellent time management and sleep control, my life was all over the place. We often went home late in the night, didn't we? Yet, you still smelled like clean, crisp, white, sun-dried linen. Sometimes it would be raining and we'd be soaked and frigid but you always smelled like sunshine and, beside me, you were a very precious warmth. I'm sorry I lost your birthday gift for me; to this day, I still wonder what it was.

I still remember your adventures as you regaled us, your teammates, with stories of your high school years. You whacked cars, stole their logos and kept them in key chains, as makeshift trophies of juvenile spite. We played together and while I'm waiting for the others, I played O2Jam. You also played that, didn't you? And we also chatted on YM in the wee hours of the morning. That's where we first met, right? I guess I had a crush on you at the time, that's why I couldn't begrudge you that CDR. We both met inside the church, didn't we? I guess I don't know much about you, even though we worked together for, what, like, six months? I never really understood CakePHP, that's why I stuck to Smarty.

You were our client. You were from Robinson's Corporation, right? I've always admired how smartly you looked. You were with this guy who wore a proper suicide scar (down the street, not across the road). You probably weren't single, but it didn't stop me from admiring you every time you came over. Thanks for the pizza. I didn't feel we deserved it but thanks anyway. I hope you were able to make use of that Bridal Registries System.

How have you been, stranger? Still penning those articles? You don't post to your blogspot anymore, do you? Were you one of those WordPress users? I can't recall. You were my editor-in-chief and I was your opinions editor. Man, it sure was an adventure chasing or even hunting down columnists for their articles. What did you write? You were a feature writer, weren't you? We were classmates in a lot of subjects. Sorry I left you hanging back then, in that tic-tac-toe project. I guess I was pretty much a jerk. Do you still remember how you promised to cover my ass, literally? Man, what an eyebrow-raising moment. I sincerely hope you and your family are okay... you were a very down-to-earth person, that is to say, you were poor. I saw you in an advert poster for SuperFerry; good luck with your modeling career.

I was delayed by one year but, since I was advanced back then and skipped kindergarten, you and I are both probably of the same age. Did you know your best friend had a crush on me? Did you know I had a crush on you? Did you know your best friend had a crush on you too? Maybe, maybe not, depending on who blabbed and who kept silent. You got my attention back in Statistics; you were the only person back there who rode a bike to class. I thought it was novel... and cute. Who would have thought we'd be working for the same company? Or that you'd touch my palm on the very day I made that silly soulmate decree?

You were my first one, stranger, and that, in itself, makes you special to me, somehow. I'm glad you still remember me, even after two years of no contact. Yeah, I lost my cellphone so many times already. I was nursing a heartbreak when I first met you. You were a nursing student and you had a twin sister. You were a divorced dance instructor and your child was with your wife. Thank you for those magical moments we've had. I'm sorry I had to leave; I think I've explained myself well, though.

We met, stranger, we saw each other, we chatted, we dined, saw a movie and went our separate ways. Sometimes, we fought, sometimes, we skipped the dinner and the movies (things seemed pretty much transactional then), sometimes, we just left bad memories in each other. Manila? Makati? That store in front of that shack in Tandang Sora where little brats, yelling "Fuego! Fuego!" shot at us with water pistols? I loathed you, I missed you, I hated you, I loved you and I despised you, in no particular order. Stop stalking me!

We have never met before, have we? No, I just had this cybercrush on you and your cosplay pics. You were very confident and self-assured; I admired that. You were available back then but now you're not anymore, are you? Time, time, it's always bad timing! I hope to see you again but I suppose it's rather inappropriate. I hated your boyfriend because, childishly thinking, he took you away from me but I also loved him because, I can see, he's the one who makes you happy. I hope the chamomile tea helped; I hope you're not on medication anymore. I hope to see you again, perhaps in something less smart than that coat and tie you wore back then... but something more decent than a shirt, a pair of shorts and a pair tacky sandals.

We never talked much, except about work, aside from that one time you sent me a copy of Memories of Nobody. I heard you were overseas now... or was it overboard? I wish you'd stop smoking; it kills you but I suppose you'd rather die than share the planet with someone like me. You never knew, did you? Or did you know but chose not to bother yourself with the details? Life as a pacifist is rather nice: not confronting people, seeking the middle ground or, for some, ignoring the obvious and pretending some things never happened. Or never were. Congratulations! I heard you were throwing a great party, too bad I couldn't make it. Thanks for being there, for helping me out, for taking the fall, for covering my ass, though not as literally as the one back in college.

Thank you, stranger, for inviting me to cosplay. I'm sorry I couldn't help the team much in badminton. I was thinking of inviting you to a facial, but I don't know if you would be offended or if it's inappropriate; I really do think you're really, really cute, if only you had smoother skin. Or was it the tummy? I heard you were going out with a friend of mine and things are getting complicated. Take good care of her... I don't know why I said that but she's a very special girl. Do you know? Of course you do, you three have shared a lot of things together, haven't you? I wish you well with your girlfriend.

I can feel you, stranger. I can feel your stares, your snickers, your inside jokes, your hypotheses, your thoughts. Well, maybe not your thoughts but I heard you, you know, that time when you muttered to your friend, "This is where it begins!" Why do you hate me so? Why do you sneer and choose to be a jerk when I did you no wrong? Alright, granted I had a crush on you but I thought you had such a pleasant personality back then. Man, was I disillusioned.

Thank you, stranger. Thanks for your help, anyway. Thank you for that bottle of Coke Light you de-fizzed for me; it was really very touching and quite thoughtful of you. Thank you for those mind-blowing moments in Makati, or that magical week in Manila, or that two-hour kiss we shared. Thank you for setting me on this career path, for giving me this addiction and for covering my ass (whichever way you did) Thank you for sharing with me that wonderful view on the top of Bahay ng Alumni, or for poking my tummy while I was waiting for a bus back in Philcoa, or for saying hello and good-bye in the same breath. Thank you for doing your work, helping out in projects, veiling your hostility or just being, no, acting civil. Thank you for chess, Computer Science and DotA. Thank you for that hot bowl of noodles when I didn't feel like eating my rice lunch.

I'm sorry I wasn't there, stranger. I'm sorry I was there but I wasn't enough. I'm sorry I took you for granted, said one joke too many, forgot special things and special moments, asserted the wrong things and lied in a way that really, really sucked. I can't promise to do better next time, though. I'm sorry I fell for you, or had you fall for me. I'm sorry things are what they are. If there were no past and future, then, perhaps, we could have had a really great time together but time moves forward and will stop for no one, not even Death. As you yourself had said, it's for those who have waited and have been waited on; it's for the night that, we wished, had never ended.

We'll see each other again, won't we, stranger? After all, we worked together, we studied together, we played together. You were a wizard while I was a mage: a severely under-dressed mage. Perhaps we'll meet each other again, at work, on the streets, online, in the battlefield, in the courts, on neutral ground, in the mall, at the haircutter's, in a coffee shop, under a ceiling, under the sky, beside a road, beside a river, beside time and life. When that time comes again, what should I do? Should I smile? Wave at you? Shake your hand? Greet?

"Hello stranger."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hearts Mode

Southwest of the Circle,
past Pegasus and Mercury,
beneath the Clock Tower,

outside the Walled City,
the day after Beltane,
I will wait for you there.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pft! No Lemons Here

Didja know that, in the sleeping cycle, REM sleep lengthens towards morning? Or that, chocolate chip cookies keep surprisingly well in really airtight containers?

Oh dear, my sincerest apologies. I am not a morning person yet here I am, writing a blog post over a breakfast of chocolate chip cookies and tea. I do find it hard to get my engines, both physical end mental, running each morning. My body has a natural affinity to resilient horizontal surfaces while my mind prefers navigating a world that only manifests itself when my eyes flicker under closed lids.

Anyway, I've had several dreams this morning but, unfortunately, I can remember only two. Or, should I say, I was fortunate enough to remember two?

A group of men tried to burgle our house. In broad daylight. While we are still there. Either that or they're planning to take us hostage; somehow, their first priority was gaining entry into the structure. I have to give them credit, though; they managed to make it past our gates, which are ALWAYS locked.

In any case, it was a group comprised of three men, who all look the same, a wannabe-punkboy and a dog. The three men seem to be of the same age as me, or older by up to two years, have wild, fiery-reddish hair, kinda like a cross between the Ouran twins, Ron Weasly and Tasuki. The younger boy, was a fair-skinned cute boy, with the same hairstyle as me (or better, I think; it wasn't as shaggy as mine) and has a deep, soft voice, which I recognize to be nearly the same as my neighbor's. The dog was a Spanish Mastiff who, for some reason, is capable of walking as a biped. Its bite also has a rather firm grip, as I found to my pain. A quick search at Wikipedia revealed that the Greeks also used these dogs in battle because of their strength. Figures, huh?

Nevertheless, these intruders were intercepted by me and my sibs; As skirmishes broke out, I remember successfully fending off or, more precisely, dodging two of the triplets before getting attacked by the dog, which forced me to fall back into our foyer. With no other "cool" recourse, I had to slam the door close, which, of course, didn't go that smoothly considering there were two pairs of arms struggling like octopus tentacles and salesmen's feet to keep the door open and two rows of sharp teeth nipping at my wrist. I eventually managed to get it closed and, quickly looking round, found that my sibs has done the same with the other door.

Our defensive victory was not long lived as the front window smashed inwards and three pairs of hands entered the breach and, once again, struggled to get a hold of something... like slimy tentacles in a shokushu hentai "art" film. It looked rather ridiculous and, on hindsight, it IS totally ridiculous for, as I moved to defend, I conveniently had our large kitchen knife in my right hand. Well, I did try lopping at their wrists but it wasn't soon before the blade's progress was hampered by bone. So I took the path of least resistance, which means filleting the top of their arms, scraping the radius and/or the ulna before exiting their wrists. All in all, I managed to fillet five arms before the last triplet withdrew the last of their arms left intact.

With the filleting done, they all stood subdued as lined up in front of us, as though the police had arrived. None were present, at least, none that I recall. We did manage to interview them. The triplets were rather nonchalant jerks, except the one who still had an intact arm. He was smiling sheepishly, apologizing for the "inconvenience" they have caused us and scratching his head with his intact arm. The others, stripped of the muscles of their lower arms, just stood there. The boy we subjected to a serious upbraiding, lecturing about the company people should keep and how serious the matter is. Oh, alright, so maybe he wasn't so young, maybe he was around 17 or 18, but, to me, he really still IS a boy.

The dog, I found in our shed, muzzled and docile. I remember asking my dad if we could, perhaps, "accidentally" have another pet dog? After all, he looks useful, considering he can play the piano too! How did I know? Well, we also "accidentally" received an upright piano, which the daytime burglars just so conveniently happened to bring along with them. The doggie walked up to it, tugged on the leash in my sister's hand and, well, just played the keyboard! So yeah, our family does counter-steal from those who try to steal from us but that's not the point. Anyway, my dad objected to my request as, he claims, it might still have the programming our prisoners instilled into it, no matter how calm and obedient he looks at the moment.

And then I woke up. And, just now, I realized that it's getting rather late and I have to be at work an hour from now. I'll stop here for the meantime and carry on sometime later.


So... welcome to the future, folks. It is now evening and dinner was two hours past but my mind is still as drowsy as it was this morning and my body as sluggish.

Perhaps it wasn't such a brilliant idea to have deferred writing about the second dream. Truth be told, I don't remember much about it and the few fragments I do remember, my somewhat-awake mind realizes to be quite incriminating. If you really need the gory details, let it be known that it was about me and a girl stumbling into a party comprised of twelve girls, at least one of them pre-pubescent, and one boy, all on vacation. And a corpse whose existence was hinted to be manifest upstairs but was never visually confirmed. And a mysterious mansion floored with cabernet carpet in the middle of a forest. (I have the feeling that me and my partner detective are originally part of the group, only we were late in coming. Too late to save that guy upstairs, anyway) And... no, let's leave it at that, shall we?

Yeah, I know. Such a sucky future, huh? Well, c'est la vie.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Superfluous Case of the Mexican Jumping Ladybug

Much as it is my consternation to see lengthy post subjects in my sidebar, I simply cannot resist using what you see now. For, you see, I had, just a while ago, been filtering water for human consumption when, as I was unscrewing the cap of the large water jar, I noticed a ladybug perched on the handle of the jar. As it loathes me to extinguish the life of such a beautiful creature needlessly, I tried to pick it off the jar and return it to the wild, or as close to the wild as I possibly can, which means our backyard garden.

As Mother Nature, in her wisdom and benevolence, had pre-programmed smaller creatures with a natural aversion to humans as part of their flight instinct, it should have been no surprise that it should attempt to escape me and, indeed, it did so. Now, my knowledge of ladybugs is quite limited but I was only expecting it to fly away so you can thus imagine my no small surprise to find that within an instant, it was gone from the water jar and I felt a smart poke in my upper lip. In the next moment, a ladybug was perched on my hand while my upper lip vaguely remembers a small presence on its surface.

I had never expected a ladybug to be leaping as forcefully as, say, a flea. In any case, it did give me a fright to consider that I might have opened my mouth at that instant and drowned the poor creature in my spit. As it was, I did release it in the garden where, I was pleasantly surprised to discover, some of our orchids were beginning to bloom.

What that ladybug incident had to do with my blog post, I have nary an idea. It just seemed like the sort of thing I might be dying to share with someone, anyone! However, in any case, it is entirely irrelevant except for some convoluted coercion of the bounds of reason and philosophy.

The season here, now, is quite speedily approaching summer and, while I am typing this blog post to an overcast sky, a cool breeze ever and anon would lift the cloudy curtain and expose us all to that life-giving flame in the sky. Might I remark that, as I lay in bed a while ago, I had observed that clouds do form rather faster than I thought as I saw wispy tendrils grow into honorable puffs within half a minute.

In any case, sun, wind and clouds aside, I had meant to say that quite some time had passed since my last post and, quite uncharacteristically of my life so far, quite a lot have happened.

A high school acquaintance had, this January, orchestrated for me a blind date with a friend of hers who, for some reason, she supposed was a potential romantic match for me. A date has been set, so to speak, though a certain complication, a family affair, had my potential match requesting that the date be moved to the next weekend.

That should have set off the alarm bells in my head. Over the course of the years, I have discovered a rather strange correlation: guys who make me wait a considerable amount of time often make terrible, or, at least, incompatible, partners. As far as I can tell, of all those men I can remember, two of them hooked up with another guy, one turned out to be straight, one was an obnoxious, arrogant jerk, one already had an offspring, one was an insecure nutcase and one, the last one, well, did not spark my interest. So sorry for the spoiler but there it is. Simple, brief and concise.

For those who preferred a more superfluous narration, allow me to continue by saying that the next weekend turned to be a little bit complicated too. On a Thursday afternoon, I received a request that the date be postponed again for my date is to be attending a friend's party, which I was gracious enough to grant. I finished the week finalizing my plans for the weekend, which involves resting on a Saturday and celebrating the end of the Chinese year with my senpai on a Sunday. By Friday midnight I have received a text message informing me that he had "canceled" going to the party and that our date was to proceed as "planned" that Saturday. I have also received the same message on Saturday morning; both messages were read as soon as I woke up on Saturday noon.

As pissed off as I was at having to change my plans so spontaneously and having been a last resort to having a socially eventful weekend, I just simmered silently and confirmed my attendance. Fifteen minutes after I had boarded a bus, I received a text message requesting that our 3PM rendezvous be moved to 5PM. I attempted a compromise of 4PM, which was met with a, "How about we move the date to next weekend?"

I explained, subtly, of course, how I would not appreciate going back home after absolutely nothing and he responded that he cannot make it in 4PM. I was a hair's breadth from screaming at this jerk and calling the whole thing off but I, foolishly enough, remembered that my high school friend thought that we are a match. Gritting my teeth, I courteously informed him that moving the date was very much out of the question and that I will be waiting for him by 5PM.

Such a gracious decision was met with SMS silence, which I brushed off. If this jerk did not come, at the very least, nobody could accuse that I did not keep my word, so I waited for three whole hours, during which I met with a sharp blow on my right shoulder due to an accident. All in all, the waiting wasn't that bad as I have been window-shopping anyway and I had also brought a good book with me.

He arrived a lot later than 5PM, of course, and I have practically given up, by now, any notion of matching up with him. Nonetheless, I am a rather benevolent person in these kind of things; I, too, would not want to be turned down simply because I was a minute late... or two... or a hundred and sixty. Simply put, I gave him a chance, never mind that he had me tumbling left and right just to accommodate his fucking spontaneous, spur of the moment so-called "schedule".

We watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I wasn't exactly expecting him to grope me then and there or to engage me in a torrid kiss but, at the very least, people usually talk to each other during movies. I may have been guilty as charged during those breathtaking parts where Brad Pitt was just being his breathtaking self. Gah! He looks so cute, when he's not hot. Well, of course, I did not really dig him in his prosthetics, I mean, my preferences have always been for men older than me but not THAT old! Anyway, he's so hot and/or cute that, there were times that my gaze was practically glued on the screen.

So, I suppose part of the silence was my fault. However, it is rather customary for those participating in these social encounters to talk about the movie once it was finished. And talk we did, as the first few words that came out from his mouth puzzle about the impossibility of such a curious case. That, I suppose, effectively killed the conversation, but I tried a response, anyway, by reminding him that it was a work of fiction, after all, and that the piece explored, not the scientific aspect of whether such a condition would be possible but how an otherwise typical human would have reacted to such interesting circumstances. I followed up by asking what he would do if he, somehow, woke up in a body seven or so years younger and was met with a shrug.

Gah! Just trying to remember that "date" upsets me so lemme end by saying that we ended up exchanging minimal information. I managed to glean, through subliminal context cues, that he is not really interested in me, even as a person, and that I have been wasting my time as he does not seem the least bit interesting either.

It would seem that destiny or fate or chance or coincidence, somehow, helps keep me from forming long-term relationships with anyone else but my boyfriend-slash-it's-complicated, who, I discovered, to my joy, had been engaged in volunteer work in a hospital. It doesn't pay much, heck, it's not supposed to pay at all, but, for nursing graduates, it's the experience that counts, right?

The next day was, somehow, better. I went to my senpai's house and brought a cake as omiyagè (present) as it seemed the safest choice of cross-cultural present. Up to this date, I have brought to that house only cake, ice cream or donuts. We lounged about most of the day, had a filling lunch and a filling dinner, ate sweet oranges chilled in the freezer, watched a game of Devil May Cry in progress and learned a thing or two about this field of science called Boob Physics. Oh yeah, we also took home tikoy; sticky cakes notorious for pulling dentures right out of their bearer's clutches, those are customary gifts from Chinese people during the Chinese New Year.

It was quite a quite unproductive weekend, which is, to me, not ill-deserved as my weekdays have been spent rush-coding a project whose deadline was, to me back then, unknown. And, one day near the end of January, I was met with a "Booyah! Deadline's two days from now!"

Well, suffice to say that I have been taking half of a few working days off for the mere fact that I am feeling ill but can ill-afford to take an entire day's absence. There was one time that I did take an entire day's off on account of my back killing me after being hit by a rogue badminton racket that, somehow, slipped free of my brother's hand. Even in such a condition, so I am obliged to come online to assist my coworker(s) in some urgent, work-related matter.

In any case, as the ex-Amyrlin Siuan Sanche counted the small blessings to be found in the great adversity known as stilling, so shall I take comfort in the fact that these exhausting exertions work, in their own little way, to keep me out of the hot water otherwise known as "unemployment" Still, however, my body keeps on persistently telling me that I desperately needed a break so, here I am, taking it easy, or trying to, while I took an entire week off.

I have read before, in Reader's Digest, a snippet about this guy who has two worries about taking a leave. One is that his absence may affect things at work... the other is that it may not. The introduction read something along the lines of "There is a fine line between self-confidence and insecurity" Thus, you can very well see that, while I should be trying to get as much rest as I can, I find myself worrying why nobody has called me for help yet.

Would this week-long absence demonstrate that the team can get by without me just fine? Am I to be discovered an unnecessary appendage, perhaps even a liability very much like an inflamed appendix? Should I call to check on any of my coworkers as recommended by Scott Meyer? Or should I maximize taking it easy in anticipation of a heavier load build-up during the time I was gone? Would I be greeted with several things that demand my immediate and special attention? Or shall I be met with a memorandum politely asking for my resignation as I have been deemed... unneeded?

In any case, it was just as well that I got this week-long leave of absence because I am in dire need of time to think. When I graduated and got a job, I was set onto a routine that, by virtue of inertia, had remained much unchanged. There is the small spot in the back of my mind that somewhere out there, the other half of a mid-distance relationship may or may not be thinking of me. As I had mentioned earlier, I had found out, just a month ago, that he had successfully gained employment as a volunteer nurse in a hospital undergoing expansion. It is his, and my, earnest hope that he would be accepted as a full-time employee once the expansion process is completed.

There were, however, some things worth pondering on. One is that he was the reason why I hated the city of Manila. We broke up under rather uncertain terms and communication between the two of us ended on an indefinite note. He did contact me again around September of last year, asking for another chance. After much introspection and hypothesis formulation on my part, I acquiesced as I recognized that I was, after all, still not over him. (I still do have fond memories of the hour-long kisses I've shared with him)

Simply put, I have given him another chance. I began hoping aloud that we might meet on a date, however, his circumstances back then, being unemployed, and the sheer fact that he lives in another province put a stop to our plans. In fear that I might offend his male ego by continually pestering him about the state of his employment, or lack thereof, I stopped speaking of planning dates and fell to rather vague and generic How-are-you?s.

Well, I did make one last effort to ask him out on a Valentine's date by the end of January, which was met with a disappointed "No". It was then that I learned he's now working. In a spur of the moment, however, I decided to call him on Valentine's Eve, just to catch up with him and, for me, simply to hear his voice again.

The first few hours were quite pleasant, though rocky, as we reminisced a lot of things in the past and what had happened with our respective lives since the time we ceased communications after the breakup. I have told him, in all honesty, some generic details of the dates I have accepted and was not the least bit surprised to learn that he had been seeing someone too.

In the third hour of our conversation, however, things had gone rather awry and I observed that, despite my wondrous illusions about that one week love affair we shared, I still know next to nothing about him. This realization dawned upon me as we were talking of the events since September of last year. I had related, in a rather carefree and careless manner, how I had turned down some dates since I gave him another chance. That he was mortified mortified me. He had admonished, rather kindly, that I shouldn't have turned down offers for a date on his account. He said that he cannot guarantee that he could show me the same devotion that I was trying to perform.

I saw things rather differently, of course. There was the implicit request that, since I was granted freedom to "shop around" so to speak, I should also reciprocate the same privilege, that is, allow him to date other people as well. I can very well accept that there are to be no guarantees, however, I was of the notion that, if you loved somebody, you don't set up any guarantees; you simply give what love you can and not expect anything. After all, wasn't the future, by its very nature and the laws of quantum physics, uncertain? Much as I am ashamed to admit it, I did give him my love by turning down other boys... except that wretched blind date courtesy of my persistent... acquaintance. Now, I realize, I have been terribly foolish to invest on a love that was not to be reciprocated. I was as disillusioned with this discovery as a little boy who learns that his well-adored superheroes are not real.

There came, two nights after, an instant message from a friend. No really, I meant friend and not "warm acquaintance" or "fleeting congenial contact". I have met him offline only once, though we have chatted considerably often online. And, in my pain and heartache that night, I have cried on his shoulder, so to speak, as much as was possible over Yahoo! Messenger windows. He had some rather consoling words and some phrases indignant on my behalf, which soothed my heart immensely. The morning after, I apologized for my unbecoming behavior. Commoners may think that a friend should be someone you can lean on in times of trouble but I never believed in relieving my burden at the expense of others. Thus, my reluctance to share a depressing story... or open a Lotto outlet. Still, he good-naturedly shrugged it off and reassured me that it's alright. So, for that night, Lee, thank you very much.

Still, however, that botched up date and that Valentine's phone call had been enough external forces to stir me out of the daily line of thinking inertia had led me to. So now, instead of thinking what I would have for lunch, I'm pondering whether I have lived a useful life or not. Instead of wondering who my next sexual contact would be, I am now debating with myself whether I really am capable of love.

I have, just this morning, found out that our village has a clean and well-maintained walkway for jogging. As I jogged up and down slopes and along a meandering path instead of a treadmill, I wondered, not what tomorrow would bring, but what I should be doing tomorrow. There is a fine line denoting the slight difference between the two and in recognizing that line, I was shocked to learn, with trembling anxiety, that I have entered a quarter-life crisis... assuming that an average human lives up to 88 years.

Nope. No poetry to begin or end this post; I feel it is quite lengthy enough, as it is.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hop ye Knew Here

Surf upon the rocks.
Gentle rain falls on cedars.
I will fuck you raw.

A haiku of such delicate subtlety about a man's demure affections towards his chaste mistress never fails to impress me with its roundabout way of indirectly implying a mild inclination to... express one's feelings in a more intimate environment.

Now that that's out of the way, I bid you welcome to the New Year's first and only obligatory New Year post of the New Year, 2009. While I'm at it, I'd also like to greet you a rather belated Gay New Year... oh sorry. My ethics adviser requests that I change that greeting to the more proper and politically correct "Fabulous Flaming Bonggacious New Rainbow Year Chorva"

Last year, the 2008 has been a year of great changes both for both better and worse. Stock market prices plummeted, millions have been mired in credit debts, the White House, the Oval Office, to b exact, experienced a c-c-combo breaker and, most importantly, my virgin feet have had its first foot spa and pedicure experience.

On the 25th of December, I have been given a pair of new slippers, or flip-flops, as elitists, socialites and fakers call them nowadays. On the 29th, I have been informed of two commoners who claim to be specialists in stately matters afoot and underfoot. Long story short, I received a foot spa, which left the bottom of my feet soft and pink, and a pedicure, which left my toenails rather nicely shaped.

The commoners offered to paint my toenails, which I politely declined. Much as I admire the humanitarian organization Akatsuki, I don't yet fancy the need to join their ranks. They also offered me a manicure but I brushed them off saying that I am perfectly satisfied doing my own nails. I do remember a female acquaintance remark that I have nice fingernails so I'd rather keep them that way. (I may have poor memories but I do remember compliements given by females. To date, they are: "You're so cute," "You're so smart," "I wish I had slender fingers like you," "You have such nice fingernails," and "Oooh, I like your outfit.") Oh, but what exhilaration rushes into me as I find out that my toenails, once in deplorable shape, are now a nice match to my fingernails!

On a side note that is completely irrelevant to this blog post, I have also received a nice hardbound notebook/journal from an aunt who used to give me the best and worst things. I have once received the book, "Prayers for a Fragile World" but I have also received (and appreciated) a large, tacky hardbound daily planner and several informational books such as Science Explained, 500 Questions and Answers, Amazing Bird Facts and Amazing Animal facts, which I found rather amazing and factual during those pre-Internet days.

Anyway, the New Year came in the night not with a blinding explosion of sparks but a wet shower, if you'll pardon the innuendo (snicker, snicker) It was lightly drizzling but, I suppose, that did not deter people from setting off fireworks. From our balcony, I could easily see the displays over at the next street. Touching my money-laden pockets, (superstition, y'know) I vaguely remembered that my ninong had been rather missing in action last holiday season. Perhaps it was coincidence, perhaps not, but the firework displays seem to be brightest and grandest over in the next street... where my ninong lives.

A twinge of annoyance and irritation later and I found myself staring into the darkness. Oh sure, there were still the pinpoint dots of burning specks left behind by numerous fireworks but half of our village was plunged into darkness, including the next street, where a certain someone lives. To give some background information, our village has three circuits. One circuit services half of it (area-wise) where there are comparably fewer houses. The other two serve the remaining, more populated half. Ah, schadenfreude. Someone down there must be looking out for me.

We had plenty of fruits (superstition again, y'know) and leftovers in the form of several tins of chocolate chip cookies. On the 8th of December, my mom had celebrated her birthday by giving away bags of goods to people afflicted with leprosy. We were left with around 10 bags full of groceries (sugar, noodles, coffee, cookies/biscuits) I have, as the eldest in the family, tasked myself with preventing wastage by assisting in the consumption of endless amounts of cookies. Yes, C is for Cookies.

The first working week of the year, however, was spent consuming the much more perishable fruits. Hardly a breakfast had gone by without fruit, although there were some that consisted entirely of fruit and weak tea. Not that I mind, though. I rather enjoy a breakfast with kiwis but I suppose oranges aren't all that bad. Only, consuming apples, oranges and pears reminded me of those antiseptic white hospital rooms, where people lay dying. If I had brought the grapes with me, I would probably have had a much more vivid picture.

The end of the first working week, however, felt a lot more like the end of April or May. Having been subjected to undue stress, panic and frustration, I am very stressed, panicked and frustrated. I take comfort in the fact that I am still employed and, it seems, still needed. I suppose there are other things to be thankful for but I'd rather wrap up at this point, lest I end up depicting myself as a puppy who just received a friendly pat on its head.

Oh, one last thing I'd like to share: an excerpt from an article that lists the columnists wishes for this year. "May the TV stations realize that entertaining people goes beyond 'ownership' of their stars. Perhaps they could bring back the glory days of entertainment." Perhaps, perhaps not.