Tuesday, August 11, 2009
ESSAYS FOR POSTERITYS SAKE!
(Basking in the glow of intellectual orgasm)
Many a simple thing came to tell stories so epic and grand. Everyone has a nexus in his or her life where an event or item or even a simple gesture started a series of events culminating in the creation of a personality, or hobby, or liking, or whatever it is that defines “living enthusiastically for something” to someone. It could be as innocent as a pat on the shoulder, a simple praise, a worn but still usable shoe, the sound of a song, the sight of old couples in a park or a dog’s welcoming bark. It could also be as grand as being given a Nobel Prize or receiving the mantle of sovereignty as an heir apparent.
You see, life in all it’s complexities has designed and imbued upon itself a wondrous switchboard, that once activated, suddenly shows or starts to release all these wonderful colours of either inspiration or dreams, ideas or visions. By itself it sustains, once nurtured, it opens up a whole new world or a fork in the road, unknown but thrilling and full of potentials nonetheless. It is like opening the “Visualizations” view on your Windows Media Player, where you have “sepia swirls” and “kaleidovisions” and “electriarnations” and “chemicalnovas”. All swirling or warbling or jumping or falling or tumbling or frolicking, imbibing every space and pore of one’s senses.
It could start as a planted seed, humble as mustard or a heaven sent epiphany, straight and true.
This switchboard is not limited to those with vision. Helen Keller’s was that of a teacher’s tireless effort. The “Braille System” of writing and reading for the blind and deaf was of course just a means to nurture that beginning. Later becoming a world famous writer no longer constrained by her affliction of darkness and silence, her powerful writings included “The Open Door”, and as tribute to her mentor, Teacher: Anne Sullivan Macy. Anne was that teacher.
Unfortunately, that is not the only case. Aside from inspiring, these points or turns could also bring about destruction later. In history’s pages, some were of such massive and catastrophic ends. Take the case of the recovering former Austrian corporal of the German army from the first Great War of this century: Struggling and poor during his seminal attempts on art, Adolf Hitler was shunned by art curators and dealers. During that time in Germany, most of the latter were artistically inclined Jews. Now, imagine what this world would have been like if he had his exhibition and shot at the world of art, which was often chronicled as his first real passion. Surreal isn’t it? That’s Adolf “Picasso” Hitler for you.
These switchboards, they were called by many names: calling, signs and inspiration, to state a few.
I would like to call mine an Ignominy. And it all started with a word.
I remember clearly that day. It was the first week of my high school year. Sunlight was streaming in the old wooden paned window. The window was rustic and old and the chairs, also of wood, were yellowing. There was a patina of long time occupancy in the ten by ten meter room. Chalk and cracked ceiling dusts seem to be hovering preternaturally around. The smell was summer and decaying ipil-ipil leaves, a big tree of which was in the back. Lichens and moss, green and thick, covered the upper half of the campus’ wall not even a stone’s throw away. It was an environment fitted to vibrancy, an apt vessel for that electrifying sense of anticipation. Strangers were all around. Some knew each other from their previous elementary schools, former classmates about to share the next phase again, and some were chattering away, meeting and making new friends. There was still no fixed class pattern and teachers were coming and going erratically, a public school malady. It won’t be after a few more days before it’s all sorted and class resumes smoothly.
I was a guy from the barrio and this here was the “city” science high school, the “intellectual requirements” of which I luckily passed. Excitement was coursing in my blood. Amongst my classmates in elementary, almost all the guys of which took the entrance tests (except the valedictorian, Anthony who with her mother’s prodding went to take a UP extension HS entrance exam somewhere in the Southern Tagalog region instead), only me and the salutatorian passed. I was trouble during those primary years, always up to no good and had not been part of the “top” kids. My mother was not active enough in the extracurricular arena and so without the backing of hen politicking, no recognition for yours truly. But here I was, a lucky glitch trashing all the rest of the supposedly “top notch” grade-schoolers I’ve been with (except Greg, the salutatorian). So it couldn’t be helped that I was carrying myself with a peculiar sense of pride, never mind the mischief and Goonies’ like exploits of the past years. Deep within, I was strung and regimented in a way that only someone trying hard to fit in could be. Outwards, I was strutting like a peacock most times, “feeling” that I belong amongst the “smartest” of our humble city.
But how quickly the mighty falls.
The instrument of my destruction was Francis, a tall guy with a jowl who still carries a bulk of his baby fat. I don’t know for what reason but somehow I missed the copying of the schedule when one time our class adviser came and wrote it on the board. So I had to ask someone if I could borrow then copy it. Cautiously I approached him then asked, “Pare may kopya ka ba ng she- dul’?”(Bro, do you have a copy of the “she-dul”?).
Eeeerh, instead of saying ‘Sked-jul’, I mispronounced the word.
The guffaw that followed was a sound I will never, ever, forget. Actually, before that was a question asked twice rapidly “ano, ano?”(what, what?), then the crinkling of amused eyes. So I said once more, “she-dul”. That’s when it came. It seemed first to gather momentum from a deep throaty well, a coupl’a second of gasp akin to an asthmatic gathering air with his constricted lungs, then ensued to a full laugh of myrtle and unabashed hilarity. His jowl was actually quivering, rattled by the glee of poking fun on my mistake. It was hilarious for him but I was on the receiving end. Had he not been a good head taller than I, I would have smacked him then and there.
Everyone was looking at me now. Those previously minding their own businesses started gathering, the baying of wolves when a member of the pack is weak and preys are scarce. Everyone was either laughing or smiling or grinning. I think I saw a few who even sneered.
I felt bamboozled combined with shame, the former was enlightened only when after the thunderous laugh he said, “Ahhh yung ‘sked-jul’”(Ahhh, you must mean the ‘sked-jul’), which only served to inflame the latter. I knew then what some people mean when they say there were times they felt like vanishing inside their shoes or be engulfed by a huge bubble of invisibility. My cheeks were flushing as he kept going on like that, repeating the way I mispronounced the poor word. He even turned it into a jingle with a then famous commercial song entitled “She Boom”(starring a hottie lady of yesteryears whose name and face and for what product eludes me now.)
“She-dul, she-dul, lalalalalala shedul, she dullll…”, so it went for some time, a tune especially for me, like a movie soundtrack to describe the main protagonist’s feeling or experience(in this case, shame) on the reel’s moment. Except this was my life, I was the lead and center of attention- but it was not flattering, my woebegone limelight. I inwardly cursed myself for not knowing the proper way to say the damn word.
I was called ‘She-Dul’ for quite a while. Later on, I got to become a good sport and was back and rolling with the punches and jives again. You see it wasn’t really my most embarrassing moment. I’ve had a huge share of those during my elementary years. Francis merely caught me with my pants down. I tell you, there were moments I was suddenly under a microscope while washing my underwear naked in glaring daylight, so to speak. Those notable examples of childish idiocy and playfulness gone awry made my adaptation on matters of personal embarrassment border on the phenomenal. But what made this quite special was the new environment and people around me. You’re not supposed to make a fool of yourself the first week of high school (in fact, if it could be helped, not for the next four years). It’s an unwritten rule in the book of adolescence. To make such a scandalous passing on the threshold of puberty invites mockery only someone in the midst of hormonal changes will understand. To sum up, “it wasn’t cool”.
The thing was, even before high school, I was already enamoured with words. One of my earliest memories was when a kindergarten teacher promised us once that she would bring the tool that will make reading easier. My young mind was filled with anticipation and I looked forward to it. When it came, I found it strange how a piece of cardboard with a hole and loops of strings running thru it could help me understand those interesting books with all those words in it. The illustrations and drawings only fuelled my curiosity and how I wanted to be able to understand the stories by myself.
Then she told us it was called a “bookmark”. She said its two main uses are to mark the pages where we last stopped and to use it as a rule underneath the “sentences” so we wouldn’t get lost while going through “paragraphs”. Sentences and paragraphs sure were deep words that time and how I looked up on her and thought how smart she was. It made me want to know what those words mean. I don’t remember learning to read with those “bookmarkers,” in fact I even got disillusioned because I was expecting more of a machine or something with electrodes running thru it that will be attached to our head, jumpstarting our brains to read.
I have the most sentimental memories of Ma’am Asido though. She was really good with kids. In respect to patience and perseverance in handling little persons, she is the one on the top of my charts. I remember her with nostalgia and my mother telling me she saw her once in the city, retired and old and asking about us, then breaking out in tears when she heard what happened to my brother (that’s another story), made me deeply maudlin. The real tear- jerker was when she said that amongst her students, it was my siblings and me who were very close to her heart. Especially me (I think that’s the one that made my eyes shine). Well anyway, that’s a different story and I don’t want this thing I’m going thru to branch out.
(here she was patiently teaching me grace in a native dance, forgot the name)
Another memory I remember with a keen sense of happy and joyful innocence was when one afternoon, I was about four or five, my mom read me a couple of small booklets she borrowed from the library. It was the stories of The Good Samaritan and The Lost Mother Bird. The story of the Samaritan helping the injured and helpless man along his way left an indelible mark on my mind about the concept of alms and helping someone in need. I know until now I carry that story with me and its golden nugget. The mother bird in search of the perfect nesting ground also taught me the lesson of what it is to find a home after a long period of being an outcast and astray. The fact that there’s always a special place for each and every one of us, even birds, where we will truly belong and where our hearts will find happiness, was a revelation to a developing mind. And it was books that showed them to me. Still I was not able to read them and it was frustrating.
But then came two hobbies that kicked my hiney towards reading kingdom.
The first one was “komiks”. Yes, those illustrated comic books bearing such titles as “Aliwan” and “Fantasy.” I believe it was actually the springboard to my learning. My mother and an uncle used to buy lots of them at a time and the best part was opening them up after being bundled by old newspapers redolent of fresh press works. Funny what turns people nasally on, many soldiers admit to loving the smell of burnt cordite, I on the other hand discovered that ink and paper smell is my earthly scent of heaven. Huddled in a room we would open them up. Initially, it was hard to understand them and I was just relying on the series of drawings to draw conclusions as to what happened. The first words I learned to read were “tapos” and “ahh” or “tsk tsk”(there were lots of those). Afterwards I started integrating the vowels and consonants I was learning from school, the difficulty level of making out words decreasing as time went by.
Also, the other thing that hastened it was the childhood game we call “tex”(corrupted most probably from “text”). It was a sheaf of numbered comic squares that you can divide into pieces not more than an inch on the sides. We cut it from the dotted marks. It was like a game of soda crown “taching” and we play it by having a choice card as “pamato” (betting player). We hold and arrange these betting players together with our three main fingers and flick it with the thumb till it either turns face up or down on the ground. The one that turns out unique amongst the three (if there are three players, if only two, the third card is called “panabla”-evener) either facing or upturned will be the winner of the lumped bet, disregarding the evener if only two players compete. These tex when arranged numerically gives a sequence of events that tells a story. There was actually a lot of mumbo jumbo and ceremony that goes with it. Every player has his own repertoire of moves and mantras when lost in the game. One could be stomping his feet twice before throwing the betting players, then proceeds to shouting gibberish until the three tex cards hit the ground. Every one tries to be unique in this summoning of good luck for it was a game that hinges mostly on that. Usually the stories are from a movie or komiks and one is fought against the other, hence TUKLAW cards will be pitted against ZUMA. With this game comes the desire to win as tall a deck, tied by rubber band, as one possibly could. For others it was just a trophy, the spoils a victor displays. But for me, there was also a deep longing to know what happens to the series and not rely solely on comical illustrations. Obviously like the komiks, there is a reason why there are dialogue balloons on it. This drove me onwards and get on with this business of reading, willing it to come soon.
(Author’s note: Tex was really an interesting game and I can’t help but wonder where it went now, what with all these new games in the ether children are getting addicted to. I have nothing against net games because it exposes young people to the computer but it should be balanced by outdoor activities as well lest it breed indolence and inactive lifestyles. They should also be aware that the Internet is not only for online gaming but there are tons of educational and interesting sites one can browse upon. This is a medium I would have been very thankful if it came during my time of yore. But no matter, though countless drunken hangovers brought whiffs of burnt brain cells each time, I know there’s more than enough grey matter remaining to get me by in surfing this amazing world called internet. Besides, countless search engines are out there one only need’s the slightest typing skill to input and chug whatever one wants from cyberspace.)
(La lang, ako pala ang nanalo sa "Trip To Jerusalem" nung 1st year xmas party.)
So before long, I could understand these dialogue boxes from both komiks and tex well and from these areas moved up to the honourable text books. It came as no surprise to me that I was the first in my class to learn how to read very well and during second grade, I was often called by our Pilipino teacher to stand in front and read stories from our “Dangal Ng Lahi” books. Looking back, I think she was entertained by my adlibs. I enjoyed continuing the featured stories with witty or mischievous comments. I would add remarks to “at natuto na si Pedro na di dapat mangaway ng kapwa….”(and so Pedro learned not to pick a fight anymore….) with “….hanga’t di nakakasiguradong kaya nya ang makakalaban”(….without first making sure if he can bring them down). This was greeted with a radiant smile by my teacher, which only served to encourage the making of my famous wit at such a tender age.
You may be wondering why I had to include these anecdotes here. Well, it is just that sometimes as we go on in life there are some things we forget but are reminded again by an event or happening, ignominious or otherwise. This was the case with Francis. He made me remember that “words,” English or local, was really an area of my life where I used to have a large interest and shouldn’t be making an embarrassment of.
I must have forgotten it when I rode my childhood carousel and played my impish games. I was lacking motivation on my first phase of education, unlike most of my classmates with their tutors or their clucking mothers to back them up and mentor them accordingly. In our household, my elders’ only concern was our presence at school by day and be home come when it’s dark. The grey areas in between are an awful lot for plays and strays. I was not regretting that nor wishing it otherwise. It was a nice and happy childhood in that regard but imperfect in other ways (but that’s another story). .
(Here I was singing my heart out, the passionate troublemaker, bow!!!)
But that ignominy, as I so described earlier, was my wake up call. This high school was an entirely different field, where the supposedly “cream of the crop” of our city are going to rub shoulders with each other. The fact that they have had different educational backgrounds than me added to the challenge. I’ve never seen more motivated persons than during those times. Elementary classes for me was a just a break on the games and carousing. I didn’t care one way or the other about competitiveness. I was just having fun. That time still, I did not consider myself “crème de la crème”. I felt more like the filtered refuse you get after roughly grounded coffee is percolated.
The incident also wised me up on a valuable truth, that words are not only there to be read but also to be spoken. When doing so, they ‘oughta be spoken right too.
So I believe it was that day when my interest and love story with words and its magnificence has been rekindled. The time my “switchboard” that I took the time to describe earlier was re-activated. It has not been proven false and countless times in my life, I was amazed how far mastery of one’s letters and spoken words got me. How it could save or destroy, inspire or discourage, entertain or sadden
I began reading again. When I’m not cavorting, or gravitating towards “fraternal” brotherhoods (which I can attest to having membership on quite a few) or letting my hormones run its course, I was reading in between. Books were my true friends. I had my library card and it was a prized possession. Our library though musty, was indeed (and no matter how cliché this sounds) a treasure trove. I love being surrounded by books. I get lost and high amidst these wonders. That is why the lines in the song “No Rain” by Blind Melon that goes “and all I can do is read a book to stay awake…it’s a great escape” never fails to pluck my discordant chords back into harmonious perspective. The fact that my escapism is not my own but I share it, I hope, with countless others. That I am not in this matter eccentric
( as I am often tagged).
(Shannon Hoon, you are remembered eartie)
There was actually no boring topic for me. But aside from science, literature and history, which I have the biggest inclination to; I was reading everything except what’s academically important and indulged this only when examination nears. I have nothing against “text book material” but they just seemed so boring and “inside- the- box” to me. I want my stories raw and I get a tingling sense of pleasure knowing the “stories behind the stories” of history, not clinical representation of facts. My mind could handle it; in fact it yearned for it.
I like fiction and adventure hands down. Up till now the only non-fiction I get enjoyment shoving my head into are self- deprecating biographies.
By third year, when I transferred to a catholic school and there was a “current events” discussion during Social Studies’, I began reading and was fascinated with the Philippine Daily Inquirer. That was the time when its price is still below 10 pesos. This daily habit took a huge chunk off my allowance. I was flabbergasted by the political viewpoints and the presentation of the stories. The words that comprised it were new to me. Every day I encounter unknown words that only added to the allure and mysticism of political arenas (which the poor lad that was me found captivating). The way they were presented like battlefields (which in a way they were), the compromises and defeats and the seemingly endless filibustering and comments. The way politicians say what could have been a single sentence in one paragraph and not enlightening anything at all, rather muddling the issues with what might strike you as the answer- then to be proven otherwise later. It was hard to explain but I loved it.
de Quiros’ “There’s the Rub” was my favourite editorial column and I never let a Young Blood feature pass. I took a shot on the crossword puzzles but most of the time managed only to solve the easiest four letters. So I left that alone. The comics however are still part of my daily entertainment whenever I get a chance on the daily papers.
I also started opening up on the Newsweek and Time magazines in the library and for an inept mind just starting to get immersed on the immensity of the world’s geo-econo-political rumbles and quakes and the beautiful literature used to describe and report it, the cascade of foreign writings was mind blowing. I was deeply piqued and spellbound.
Later on in college years when I discovered the mall, my number one dead on favourite hang out was and still is “BookSale,” that store selling surplus or second hand books. My preferred exercise was not a walk in the park but a trip on the rather dodgy Recto university belt avenue. These places were mines for literary hunts and if you get lucky, you find that golden nugget for as little as 20 to 30 pesos. But nowadays, the best authors are getting rarer and commanding higher and higher prices, second hand or not.
If you don’t mind me saying, aside from becoming a voracious reader, I also began showing my potential as a speaker. After one particularly heavy rain during First year High school (again) and classes were cancelled after 3 pm, we were stuck in our class room as the teacher could not let us go home until the downpours has ceased. There was a “program.” I was called to recite something and I proceeded to recite “Invictus.” I learned this poem by Henley during my elementary days.
So there I was standing in front, giving emphasis to the night and moving my hand sideways in describing the place of wrath and tears when a group of my classmates at the back shouted “English Poet”. The first call lacked real conviction. But as I unashamedly went to complete my poem, the second paean (if you can call it that) was more lively and seemingly joined by more voices. “English” was passed on quite plainly but nonetheless loud while “Poet” came out so that the first vowel was rolled and prolonged, as if savouring the circling of the mouth while the second syllable was abrupt and sudden, as if crashing against the final consonant.
POOOOOOOOWWW- weT. That’s how it went exactly, as I with fondness recall. Why shouldn’t I, aside from being a viva voce -a possible praise to my oratorical rendition, the call was a double entendre, an allusion to my last name. My name is one letter replacement-short to mean a rather noxious part of the human anatomy. Red face though I was, I chose to dwell on the oratorical (not the odorous) part that day.
Later on to the now, poetry is my lifeblood and work of choice and owing to the lack of audience, I am confining to the realm of writing. I’m waiting for my kids to grow up so I could have them appreciate their Poet dad, hoping they won’t follow the lead of that one vixen from the Wesleyan trio of Sarah, Lily-Anne or Norma Rica, who I am very sure was the instigator of that cheer. Well shame on Steph and Junior if they do that, I’ll just shout back that they’re POOOOWWW-weTs too, won’t I? We share the same family name after all.
This also confirms my belief on what many call subconscious registry. Wherein a small remark or praise serves to turn a person’s desires or likes into exactly that. A chip that activates once implanted in the deep confines of the mind, and as that afternoon showed, with nary a need for subtlety. You see, I always wanted to be a scientist, marine biologist specifically, and I am wondering whom amongst my children I’m going to use this mind game with, to tune his or her frequency upon that inclination. It’s a hard choice for both love the beach and drink seawater with gusto. What a dilemma.
So anyway, you could also call that poetic incident just another one in a series of prodding that Francis’ started with the first tipped domino block, starting an effect that would culminate in my being, as I humbly describe myself- a passable writer and speaker. At first, they seemed Shakespearean, a series of unfortunate (this case-embarrassing) events but as I find out now, more like a set of lathe machine drill shapes like embarrassment bit or hard knocks scoop that shaped and honed my skill. Inspirationally that is, for the degree of embarrassment or whatever dredged feeling akin to such, was directly proportional to the amount of time I need to brush up and either prove myself worthy, as was with Francis or prove them right, as was with the shout describing me an English Poet (pronounced with peculiar emphasis please). Time I really had no qualms in giving, as books remain my first true love.
There were other incidents. Some are notable and some are not. There’s one time with a classmate during fourth year H.S. in the school I transferred to (Subic St. James) who criticized the writings in my Math diary (Circa 2nd year HS- that being the last school year I was in Sci-High) by blurting out upon reading it, “Advance pala ang sci high sa math, pero may English ba kayo dun?”(So, sci high’s ahead in math but do you have English there?). It was followed by sniggers all around.
You see, my grammatical construction and tenses then were not as keen as the grasp I have of them now. I don’t remember how I phrased and wrote about Pythagorean theorems and the famous soh-cah-toa of trigonometry, amongst others, but the remark caught me offhanded, sounding like an insult on my part. But it was my bad. For that’s how I remember it now. Bad.
Another time, still in fourth year, due to frustration perhaps in my lack of ability to write a readable essay, I did what to a writer could only be construed as a terrible, terrible, crime. I plagiarized. Not blatant verbatim copying though, but the whole plot and subject, these I eviscerated knowingly- and from the same innards made a zombie of what otherwise was a good feature. My essay was fine but I was a fool to think my teacher would not suspect. Ma’am Dioso gave it 80 and that made me hurt, for I knew then she knows what I did. Who would be stupid enough to plagiarize from the same textbook they’re using in the curricula? I thought she hasn’t read that part yet for it was an essay-story a few pages to the end of the book. I believed at the rate we were turning the thick book we had (think snail!), that she kept the same phase year in and out and assumed she hasn’t read the writings to that point, burdened as she was with academic grading constraints and advancing age.
I was wrong and perhaps, because she thought I was not lacking enthusiasm in other areas of the subject like speeches, readings and comprehension, she threw me the 80-mark safety line. I knew I deserve an abysmal grade but she was aware that a grade below 80 would dash my hopes of joining the top ten ranks. Not that I was harbouring any fancies for that but as of this time’s retrospect, I am truly thankful to that generosity for other reasons. It gave me a second chance, inspiring me further to make my own writings. But more importantly, it reminds me always to never, ever again resort to that vile act. That was one of the most valuable lessons I learned in life. Amongst academics, you could not get away with pirating somebody else’s intellectual properties, except of course if you have distorted concepts of pride and shame.
One time, after a more “original” work, she said that I “have it in me”. Whatever that “it” was, I didn’t take it seriously then because I believed I’m really not in the cut for writing. I took it with a grain of salt as just something she uttered patronizingly to soothe my wounded pride because she knew I was doing well in other subjects. I remembered being incoherent in my compositions and considered the idea of writing preposterous. But this never served to set me back. I knew there was something in store for me other than sheer enjoyment if I continue reading my books. Voila, I surprise myself now with the way I put words to paper and always wonder where this deep and weird crypt in the recesses of my brain I get my ideas from is. Some are calling it talent. This must have been the “it” she was talking about which I doubted before. The “something” I thought was elusive and ridiculous even for contemplation.
What I did remember early on though was a knack for rhymes. Those times, they were mostly for jives and taunts. Like singing “Name ending with ha”- sa kulangot ay reyna (to Boogers, a queen) on a classmate who had the unfortunate luck of having lumps straying outside her nose unnoticed, behind her back of course (it was a blast, my best friend and I laughed our asses off with her thinking it’s her joke when in fact it was her booger we were laughing at. My God, she was in tandem with us all the time, unawares we were “picking” on her for not being able to “pick it away”). I was inventive and looking back, believed able to think outside the box in conjuring hilarity with my wit. But I have this eerie feeling that when I do it on another’s expense, there’s always bound to be a comeuppance. So I have matured now and indulge it only when in alcohol induced half-stupor. That way I can blame the bottle for whatever goes and comes around.
There were small poems made in times of inspiration but not as good and sensible as what I churn out now. I don’t know, it could also be the experiences I have been thru that introduced me to Mellon Collie (Smashing Pumpkins’ personification for melancholy) and the eternal sadness. All the travails, hopes deferred, disappointments, depression- well, they have a way of bringing you to a special plane. It is a special place where the slightest sliver of happiness is monumental in scale and the deepest hurt, nothing exceptional. That is my curse; I am a very sentimental person.
Add to that, Cloyd- the guy who asked if I had English subjects during my first two years of high school, made a valid point. I better pay more attention to what I am reading. Not only do I need the gist of the stories by deciphering the words but also to register the various literary styles and grammatical techniques of different authors. This is a very handy knowledge when going about writing. I went farther than that and developed an appreciation for figures of speech such as irony and metaphor and nuances like sarcasm, wit and euphemism. I was also enamoured by the way proverbs and wise cracks followed each other in one paragraph. Learned that redundancy negates a write up no matter how good it is grammatically (hence the need to improve one’s vocabulary). I have the extreme pleasure of smiling or laughing heartily at paper characters whose attitudes and dispositions juxtaposed sharply with their appearances. Dang, books just got a whole lot cooler!
So this wretched sentimentality and deep appreciation (some might call it love) of books turned out to be a good team after all. To state my case, I don’t have any formal higher education in the arts and literature. I studied nautical science but as it turns out, my present career, which takes me far from home, is not my true proclivity. Some might say it’s too late considering my age to pursue my rediscovered passion but what the heck, there are a lot of untutored people out there diverging a path away from their occupations who fared better in other arenas. I hope to be one of them. The one thing that keeps me in my present job is that aside from supporting my family, I am still helping my mother and two younger siblings. The fact that the salary is good is a very decent compromise and reason to continue and be able to provide for two households. But it could be terribly lonely when I miss my young ones.
If it’s any consolation, there are a lot of advantages that goes with the sailing job. Being away allows an infusion of new ideas I might not get from stagnating at home. There are many things both at sea and in the ports we call that feeds the senses and inspire the soul. What would excite many turns out mundane after quite some time to a lot of my colleagues. I point a finger for I don’t consider myself one of those who let childlike innocence slip away. I always try to maintain that naiveté so necessary to find appreciation in what happens around me: sunsets, sunrises, dolphins frolicking, whales bob tailing, Mt. Etna or Fuji on the horizon, Babel like cacophony of tongues, Norwegian fjords, crossing the date line and the equator, transiting France’s Seine river and the canals (Panama and Suez), the quiet Danes of the present so different from the Vikings of old, invoking both the captain’s trust or ire and a whole lot more. These sojourns allow me also to write about things not indigenous to home without feeling like a fraud (like winter for example, I KNEW winter-brrrrrr!!). We, heroic OFW’s all, are also called ambassadors of goodwill. I guess in my own way and in the blue expanse of my arena, I am upping the accolades in this regard by showing foreign masters we are not only mindless peons ably executing blue collared tasks, but that the Filipino could also be intellectually inclined and pursues learning with passion. One snippet I remember warmly and often share is the time I laughed with Danish friends/co-cadets while watching a funny TV series. It had something to do with Joseph Stalin’s name being considered as a screen name by a rather daft character. They were really baffled that I got the punchline and asked me how I knew that long gone Soviet dictator, whose name may sound macho but is definitely not apt as a silver screen fledgling’s dub to fame. I proceeded enlightening them of our education system and how worldly we really are, having history in our curriculum and how interested we are about things around and away from us. We had more intellectual conversations after that and I never once failed to grasp who or what they pertained to. Books, movies, science, music, etc: everything under the sun and never once did I get lost. Those guys saw me, and perhaps as a spectrum glass, the Filipino race, with a new light and respect. You may think I am blowing up things, but the parting words one of them told me during a drunken frenzy in Singapore’s Clarke Quay area was “George, when we were introduced, my mind is saying, I don’t care who you are you Filipino shit. But now, I am sorry and I was wrong. You Filipinos are good people man. Take care smartass.” He really meant it, for the brotherly hug Peter gave me before they went down the gangway on the way home was crushingly sincere, a stark contrast with our tepid initial handshake. Now, isn’t that a worthy chicken soup for the Filipino soul?
(Peter took the shot here, Thomas, my best friend sits farthest on the right. The two gals and another guy are also Danish tourists we met along clarke quay. I was pissed drunk this night hehehe)
But what ratchets the notches to further blessedness is the flexibility of the job. This happens when the vessel is out in the open sea and lasts sometimes for more than a week. After each four-hour watch, seven hours a week, are free times which if not spent on overtime can be used for something else. Couple that with the fact that resources abound: computers and printers, parchment, a well-stocked library and as an officer- a steward who lowers down my stress level by cleaning my room. The company encourages us to have a diversion. They know we need a leisure time to unwind as they are aware how stressful shipboard work has turned out to be now that it is commercialised in such a massive scale- reducing shore stay time and with regards to a manpower trimmed to the barest minimum- incurring more responsibilities to officers and crew alike. There are lots of options provided to decompress their employees, so long as we always remember the seaman’s adage, “to play hard, you must first work damn hard.” Fortunately, I’m familiar to both (which unfortunately was not made manifest my last few ships, reasons too personal to disclose here).
This free time is what I use to pursue my developed passion for writing, if not indulging myself with reading. Of course there are the lures of a DVD collection/excellent entertainment room, the thrice a week forays to the gym and computer games as well. They provide that sense of well being necessary to commit the mind to ideas. Good movie dialogues are also an added plus when relaxing with the boob tube.
(Ship's Video Library, Tinglev Maersk, c.a. 2007. A movie enthusiasts dream room hehehe)
As for computer games, well I would say they could negate very much my set goals for I have the addiction gene, when I sit down it will be very hard to pull me up from that chair again. So instead of being able to write, I’d be conquering and blasting my way to a three-dimensional screen. I try to avoid starting a game I know would interest me but limit my game to Window’s minesweeper only, which has a potent and useful effect of jumpstarting catatonic brains.
(Shot taken 4 AM, still awake. I was a cadet on my second ship, the GRETE c.a. 1999. The game in front of me, WARCRAFT 2. Beat it of course!!! But it took a lot of late nights like this hehehe)
Besides I had had my romance with Nintendo and PlayStation to keep me from envying the small denizens of the present generation, with children as young as six using a keyboard like a fork to hot spaghetti. The blur of small fingers tapping keyboard to smithereens blows me away. Whew. But what the heck, when “computer games” are played on TV screens, I beat the FIRST Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda, Dragon Warrior and Mario with 8 bits of pure childhood excitement. Not many could be par with that you little net shop twerps. Not that you would be interested to hear it from an old school relic like me.
As for you my brethren and contemporaries, sorry for bragging but I just remembered, those famicom games were in a way openers to a young mind. While having an affair with Role Playing Games, I made this fantasy map and fashioned empires and kingdoms in it. There were different races and rulers and I assigned people I knew as kings and queens of these realms. I went to the smallest details I possibly could, including the size of the army and even the system of government they have (this, influenced by my love affair with a 1991 General Almanac). Mine was of course the strongest followed by that of a classmate who irritated me and whose domain I grounded to ashes. Of course the apple of my young eyes was the rebellious Amazon-like leader of my empire’s underground movement who would later topple me, but in the end, finds for me in her heart- more than pity. So blossometh the romantic.
Yup, I sure was crazy and nerdish, full of zany flights of fancies. I can’t help but smile on a line in a movie I saw once with a girl saying “nerds are so cool” with the guy retorting “not back then.” Not back then indeed, for I remembered being touted as someone who has his “own world.” But with the deluge of suddenly “cool” fantasy and magic themed movies, captivating a broad spectrum of audience (Jocks cheering on Legolas highly included), I’m proud to say I conjured those things even before I got to read Tolkien, Salvatore or Rowling. If anyone doubts, I can show them the yellowing papers of maps and stories which I still keep safe, rudimentary writings and all. Proving I was a nerd. Or am I still?
If that’s the case, if I still have the nerd bug, that’d be a welcome relief- it’s a known statistic that many of the greatest writers were nuts (and eerily so, self destructive- and for this I thank my wife for weaning me away from habits considered such).
It’s only recently that I started writing furiously, not even a year ago. I am at the moment confining it to poetry, but there are initial dawdling with short stories, songs, plays and essays such as this. I don’t know where it will take me. The only thing I am sure though are my goals and dreams. The simple ones, I fervently hope to achieve: a feature in Young Blood, a paying job in freelance writing. But there are grand dreams as well: a publication-cum-advertising company, a prize-winning compilation of essays and poetry, a novel perhaps.
As an artist, I am wondering what gravitas my workmanship will be known for. In creative writing, I’ll be damned if it’s not going to be humor. Chuck knows there are so many sad things happening in the world that another reason to laugh is always welcome and invigorating. As for poetry I am not sure if it will retain its maudlin tone, that will remain proportional to the intensity of my feelings which at the moment seems to be ebbing to placid doldrums, what with the mind pacifying presence of innocent and wily children.
And these misfits, to them go my fondest of dreams, and speaking as one who grew up without a father, the most important ones. I want to be an object of their pride. To give them the gifts of inspiration and whole hearted support. To lend a guiding hand in the harnessing of their talents and potentials, something no one really showed me and I found out on my own. I know now how powerfully one’s self worth is strengthened by having that hobby or liking that turns out to be good. For one, it will cast them a strong lifeline to remain virtuous in a world under an overhanging penumbra of mind- numbing choices, shallow dreams and mediocre efforts. The rest could remain pipe dreams for all I care- not this one.
And this area of my life is where I tread in trepidation. You see, although my eldest is in her toddler age, nearing three, it’s not even a quarter of that time that I managed to share with her. Therefore my fatherhood is still in its infancy. I’m taking my steps cautiously, -the way one does when there is a tender desire not to sabotage a good thing, wishing against odds that someday I will measure up to this role. I hope the open mindedness and wisdom I acquired from reading a ton of printed materials will keep me in good steed.
I’m starting by reading them small stories and showing them things whenever I have the chance. I answer their questions logically and never hesitate to show curiosity and prodding in what they say or do. I correct them softly and never laugh at their intellectual mistakes and false inquisitive assumptions. I allow myself this pleasure of mirth only on their clumsy pies-in-the-face and flabbergasted expressions (within safe boundaries of course), caught from things which though warned against, still blew up because of rascally hard headedness (can’t help it, I still carry that trace of mischief in me, father or not. hee haw. In this matter also, I pray they inherit the most effective defence-mechanism in my sizable self-preservation arsenal, -that of laughing on my mistakes FIRST, before others dig in. I suppose that incident with Francis that caught me like a deer petrified in front of a bright headlight played a part in my acquisition of such).
Just a month ago I bought my daughter’s first crayon box. As soon as curiosity and reading comprehension allows, I’d buy her first words-only-book. It will start with fairy tales then progress later on to stories with much more serious and realistic tones, equipping her- and also my son, with the necessary tools of caution and guile in a world not only of happily ever afters, but sad endings as well.
Whew, would I be contemplating these things now had that fateful day not been? The day Francis, erstwhile critic and former best buddy (yup, we became a crazy duo the school year after that) laughed at the naïve boy from the barrio? Sometimes indeed (and I know this was quoted somewhere from the myriad literature and films I’ve devoured)-“the universe unfolds in a way it should.”
There was a caveat too, I just didn’t know it was there: the one who turned shame around, could very well be amused the hardest, or laugh just as heartily. Embarrassments are springboards after all, it just comes coated in a sick shade of brown (think “Oh $h*t!”), one sees it so long as one’s up to the challenge that goes with it. And believe me, there’s always gonna be one or several.
As for my dreams, nah, there is no real hurry. I believe I can still make it. Many people have told me I already crossed that line from being tolerable, to writing quite well (thanks folks). This comment, though from no authority is enough reward for my petty achievements. Also, time is of no consequence. I gauge this ephemeral ticks with my children’s eyes; so long as they glitter with happiness, I’ll know what has passed was worthwhile, and what remains, is more than enough.
A schedule could be fully booked but it may be changed, make spaces here or there, cancel appointments or deviate opportunities. With enough will one may also resolve to challenge destiny. But it sure takes a whole lot of patience. After all, only fools rush their she-dul with fate.
………musical interlude fading amid loon like laughter: she dul, she dul, lalalalalalalala she dul, she dul lalalalalala la la
- I first posted this blog on friendster, thought I could present it better here!
AULD LANG SYNE MY DEARIES
Can't believe I still have this tickets from a looooooong time ago. Certified Packrat, that's what I am. Nostalgic, you can bet on it!!!
There was a song in the 90’s that got me on the wrong foot with two girl classmates. “A,” a cheery classmate in OCNHS’ science class during second year thought I was making up the lyrics, up to the part when I sang “…girl I wanna make you sweat, sweat till you can’t sweat no more, and if you cry out I’m gonna push it, push it some more.” She was embarrassed, brown cheeks darkening to the closest resemblance of a flush. “Gawa gawa mo lang yan eh,” she complained while wearing an uncomfortable smile (later on, this’ll transform to a sour grin, an unreadable face and finally, a wrinkled scowl). If you truly knew me in highschool, you’ll understand that her observation is not farfetched. I am an all out teaser. I never let up when I am in jerk mode. Especially when the one on the receiving end shows sign of being prone to my tirades or whatever means I am masterfully utilizing to reach a teary end (or a raging meltdown). “Napaka green minded mo talaga!” she said after my a capella’s chorus. Again, if you knew me, this was like trying to extinguish a fire with gasoline: she didn’t hear the end of that song all day long. To her credit though, I didn’t get her to cry, only to the point of chasing after me while threatening bodily harm (but then again, I can really run away- a necessary defense mechanism when tweaking other person’s sensitivities). I quit teasing her the following day, when she finally found out it wasn’t my song after all and admitted it wasn’t that bad (Or maybe just a rueful concession to shut my trap). I really liked the song.
A year after, as a transferee junior in St. James Highschool of Subic, I had this girl classmate seated behind me who I became friends with instantly. We clicked easily and knew fun inside a classroom’s academic walls. One of our jolly antics was crooning together. I don’t remember if it was the second or third week of classes, while singing with her during a break (she had an excellent voice, mine was better ehhhr, I mean “bitter”), I decided to sing it again. If you remember this song then I guess you also know the first monosyllabic gibberish lines. I want to make it clear that I had no intention whatsoever of teasing her or hurting her feelings when I sang it. As I began belting it out, there was suddenly an initial hush. A couple of larky classmates singing along, expectant of following after my lead just gaped on their vocal tracks when I began with “I’ve been watching you, a lalalala long, a lalalala long long li long long long.” They were really stupefied. But this girl, she’s amazing. She sang it with me!!! This even after the fact that a year ago it was used to tease her with respect to a rather prominent facial feature (if you still don’t get it after the “li long long,” it’s the one you use to smell with dummy!). One of the classmate stood behind her and gesticulated my way, forefinger bisecting the lips, head turning sideways, intent on me to stop. I was confused then saw the glimmer of crimson on my friend’s cheek which could have been there since we started singing, I eventually shut it. Later the others told me how sensitive she was with that song.
“Oh shit, I honestly didn’t know.”
But that gaffe didn’t stop it, we still became close friends and talked about lots of things, became quite close. I thought her passionate in expressing herself and reckless in love (at one time slashing a crush’s name on her arm). She sings like a flying lark in search of the meaning of life, with a soaring voice and a restless heart. She had that throaty, full laughter that when left unchecked leaves her teary eyed. She was different, an iconoclast who sets trends or follows one when others won’t dare. She speaks her mind, says what pleases her and had nothing to hide. She cries defiantly when she can’t take the tease or rudeness anymore, this usually sends the asses who had nothing better to do cowering (I was one once). But her greatest virtue is humility. She was truly down to earth even if coming from a well to do and prominent family.
She loved the Eheads. She was so excited of the concert and how she would love it if her friends could go with her. The ticket was more than a hundred peso (a fortune that time), and I can only give her a partial amount. She took it and said I didn’t need to pay the rest, I just need to be there. The band is making its debut in Subic Hardrock and we went together as a group. “V’s” posse. I was both reluctant and excited, the former from the fact that I only had 30 measly pesos in my pocket, it was all I could squeeze from my mother who lost a “quorum” with her friends- AGAIN (hu-hum). A San Miguel light beer’s bar prize then was about 20 pesos. I had that one single bottle and tried nursing it to last the whole night. I wasn’t able to. It couldn’t just stay half empty and tepid the whole time the Pinoy Fab Four were rocking. And I couldn’t order another one, I felt so small for being so poor.
She looked at me when the waiter came and checked the table’s beverages, asked me if I want one more. I solidly refused. She was ready to buy me another one. She understood my dilemma. She saw behind my defensive pretension that I had more than I was carrying and the lame excuse of not wanting to get drunk. She neither sympathized nor felt sorry, she looked at me the same way as before. I may not be as rich as her or grew up in the privileged circle their family had, but I was her friend. I gave her my “nearly- empty-but-could-never-be” bottle and she used it to support her penciled portrait of Ely Buendia. That moment, my shame went away. Even as others in our pack could order as they please. Even as I couldn’t give my Dutch worth on the big square pizza they bought. Ely was looking at his picture, a labor of love from a loving fan, a seminal but nonetheless skillful creation of a budding artist. AND MY BOTTLE WAS SUPPORTING IT. She with her panache and carriage, her social élan, she who was not out of place in that merry place (that’s the first time I set foot inside that bar, but there was more later on = ), she who was not insignificant- she carried my poor 30 pesoed sorry ass and made it fun.
I gave her gift to Ely, a birthstone she stole from her mom inside this pot pourri box with other small things only an artist can appreciate. She was supportive of me coming up that stage where the four Ultraelectromagneticpoppers signed my plain white shirt, humoring a fan clad in woefully flimsy Hanes amid others dressed in trendy, sleeved polos. She made it fun not only for me but for the rest who were there, grateful and acknowledging her as SJS class 96’s E- heads point girl.
- At the 1994 NU Rock Awards, they won the “Album of the Year” for “Ultraelectromagneticpop!”
5th - “Ultraelectromagneticpop!” concert at UST Auditorium, University of Santo Tomas, Manila
14th - performed at the “Puerto Azul Music Fest”, Puerto Azul Beach Club, Cavite
18th - gig at Montano Hall, Cavite
21st - gig at Jose Rizal High School, Malabon
27th - gig in Subic, Zambales
28th - performed at the benefit show called “Si Toyang Sa Pasay”, Pasay Sports Complex, Pasay (or Pasay City East High School Gym?)
- Above bold text exerpted from Advent Child's blog re: e-heads. Dunno what gig he was referring for May 27th that year, could it have been the SUBIC SUMMER JAM? I was there also but don't seem to remember the e-heads playing. Can someone knock my head?
Anyways, he didn't mention when the eheads performed at Subic Hard Rock sometime ultimo 1994 or primo 1995
Later, when the pechay harvest was due in our Home Economics agri-plots, she accepted a tiklis of these vegetables with unfeigned delight. I offered it humbly and she gladly accepted even if it was plain to see she didn’t know what to make of it (LOL). She’ll hand it to the help, she says, “she’ll know what to do.” With her, it’s really the thought that counts.
Months later, when her family migrated, she never tired of writing me. I was proud of her, her tales of cultural adjustment and how she was coping up. She was a tree hugger, a new age girl, a GI Jane look-a-like, a poet, a painter, a vegan. She sheds personalities monthly, weekly or daily even, couldn’t make up her mind on a lot of things. But she remained a hopeless romantic (fell in love with a rugged stranger). Her letters were neatly handwritten, with perky slashes and varied styles. There were cassettes of the songs she liked, sharing it with me in the hope I too would enjoy. I couldn’t say her taste fit my own exactly but her predilections were intellectual, cool and quirky.
Then I had to fuck up this beautiful friendship when she went home two odd years after and I acted like shit. I’m not going into details but after that, it wasn’t the same.
The communication pattered down until I had a chance to visit her across the seas, when I went out to sail for my first tour as a pirate (I mean as a cadet).
I took the first afternoon trip from Long Beach to Oceanside, traversing California’s Pacific coast’s highways, watching surfs and mountains and desert like landscapes. It was a picturesque travel experience, ruggedly unforgettable.
Probable route my trip followed. Toured the western seaboard. Officially a westsider hehehe
She was late picking me up and it got really chilly at the terminal. When she arrived I scarcely recognized the girl with a mystifyingly curly hair. I thought, “Goldilock’s.” But the smile though awkward carried her signature warmth, and that was the giveaway.
Goldilocks with Theresa
She and Theresa (her friend) led me to where they parked. She took the humble donut box (2 pieces missing) and kiwi bird toy happily, as if I’m gifting her diamonds and gold.
I knew she already had a driving license but I thought “Wow, she’s really driving.” My respect grew further. Then when I entered the car, they asked me to buckle up which I couldn’t do. I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO BUCKLE UP!!! It was maybe only the third or fourth time I rode a car, all the previous times at the back seat. I haven’t the foggiest how to fit the buckle and dunno wherever the hell the clasp was hiding on the passenger seat beside that of the driver’s. I merely held the strap around me all the time we drove, and they carried on. They pretended that they don’t know I didn’t know, that I was merely uncomfortable buckled so I was just holding it close, enough to pass a traffickers scrutiny from afar. But they must have seen my initial fidgeting, frantic hands reaching around and to the sides, when I was all thumbs and perplex till I settled on plainly holding it. Damn. I felt so stupid. She was courteous, not smug nor amused.
She drove well, deftly avoiding an SUV that cut us off one time. The same damned car precariously overtook another one further front that confusedly swerved, crashing against the highway’s concrete island smashing the front of the car. That was the first live vehicular accident I saw in my whole life. To be honest, it was exhilarating watching that happen in slow motion, then seeing the female driver of the tragic car coolly pulling out a cell phone to make a distress call, seemingly unperturbed. Just like in the movies. Welcome to America. And I sure was glad of my guide for her skillful driving, my handsomeness (uhurm) not compromised by broken shards and glasses, or worst.
I stayed nearly two days and a night in their house. I remember vividly the orange tree at the backyard and the slanting sun brightening a home made of love and familial warmth. Her parents were the jolly and genial hosts.
The guest room where I stayed overnight
We saw San Diego and toured the waterfront where again she misconstrued an action. I tried lifting her on top of the breakwater for a photo-op. She didn’t like it. lol. I’m laughing now because I wasn’t being a jerk that time, I merely thought it was cool, nothing more and nothing less. If she’s reading this now, I hope she smiles and forgive me that streak of arrogance borne of youth.
She brought along this Filipino guy and Theresa and they were smoking and all. We were still teens that time and I took pleasure listening to their angst ridden gripes about a variety of things, some trivial some scholastic. I couldn’t relate prettily, I felt like an alien. But it was intriguing really, how people could adapt a culture and be an integral part without being fully aware how much they changed. It takes an apt audience to grasp this, from an observer’s point of view and his comparison with the native cultural pool. In a way I felt out of place but they took it in stride. The guy acted a little too “high and mighty” for me but he didn’t impress me as much as my friend did, with her lilting, accentuated English and worthwhile ideas.
The following day, they brought me along to a Japanese resto. It was buffet style, tables heaping with sushi and other oriental delicatessen. It was awesome and it was also the first time I’m eating out on such a place. I piled my plate with ill concealed gusto. Looking back I can imagine how hungrily innocent I must have appeared and how tactless I must have been. But there was nary a trace of reproach in their manners, in fact there was a wry but proud amusement on my behalf: not many 19 year olds get to tour the world by own dint of hard work after all, I’m allowed this dining faux pas.
Then I saw this huge mound of paste. It was set in the middle of the condiment table and looked like a small mountain. It’s textured as grainy and as sweet, albeit green, as nilupak na ube (turns out it was “hinayupak”). Her brother told me it’s called wasabi and showed me how to mix it with special soya based sauces to “spice” Jap food. I remember being warned it was “hot” but nothing prepared me for the sulfuric onslaught it rendered my nostrils. Without that caution prepped by first hand experience, I put quite an amount on my food and swallowed hard and chewed fast. LOL. Imagine my dumbfounded reaction when I felt its bite. I know they saw it, from the rise of the chopstick to the pause my jaw made whilst savoring this hinayupak na sauce. A static of laughter hanged above the table while I tried hard hiding the teary contortions which should have plastered my face. I can tell you, I should have won an acting award. I know that even if I had had the funny reaction, my embarrassment would have neutralized any forthcoming mirth. They were that kind of people, courteous and down to earth, blessed and humble.
Her mom gave me a San Diego Padres souvenir baseball shirt as a farewell gift. It was a nice shirt, with cartoon portrayal of the team and a real comfy fit. I’m just sorry that I lost it, dang!
That afternoon, she drove me down to the station. There was this part in the movie Casino (starring De Niro and based on Puzo’s book “The Last Don”) where the gambling hustlers tightly fold dollar bills and insert it in between the fingers so that when they shake hands with the doormen, it is surreptitiously passed to the outstretched palms. I thought it was cool. This I did to a 20 dollar bill, hoping to impress her when she drops me off. After exchanging farewells, I shook her hand and passed it to her. Man was she surprised, her face darkening with embarrassment and incredulity. I told her the lame excuse of my paying for the gasoline but she won’t hear of it. She was really pissed, more than that and as I look back with mature understanding now, I believe she felt degraded. She passed it back to me and only civility dictated she not throw it to my face.
That was our goodbye, I was too flustered to recall if it was with haste that they returned to the car park or if they half-heartedly saw off the northbound Greyhound I took. Off to Long Beach’s Pier 14 container terminal, a cold, metallic, industrial place surreally apt to my inner world gone a little sad and dark. There I met Memphis Raines and his crew when they made grand theft auto history by thieving 50 cars in one night and was GONE IN 60 SECONDS (Ok I’m pulling legs here, can’t help it, the movie was that good).
MOVIE GEEKO TRIVIANO: It was actually a remake of the 1974 movie of the same name
That was it. She was the kind of person who doesn’t put up with immaturity and abuse. And in a way, I knew I was immature and I abused her friendship, misinterpreted it to an indecent degree. From my shenanigans when she was home in the Philippines, to the breakwater incident, up to the part where I tried to put a cheap price to her and her family’s hospitality with a 20 dollar bill. These and other factors i.e. my rocking the status quo, the surge of hormones that complicates platonic relationships, misconstrued sisterly affection, the innate atavistic antagonism/friction between two talented (VERY, uhurm!!!) individuals, withered that wonderful friendship.
I got the wrong end of the stick about us and her wise recourse was burning the bridge where I stood at the other end. And I am thankful for that decision of hers to cut and cut cleanly, for the simple fact that all my ill conceived acts then were the twitching puppet strings of confusion and deep seated loneliness. I didn’t know what I want and she was some kind of wonderful, but that ain’t reason enough for me to cross well defined boundaries.
I may be glossing here, it tends to happen when our idea of the past is still encapsulated in youthful imagery, untarnished by dreadful life experiences. Yes, she was all that I said she was and I believe most of it, she still is. But there were times when she was also confused and felt insecure. There were instances when she was crushed by the turmoil of unrequited love, hunched and broken hearted. There were times before I stepped on that school where she was thoroughly misunderstood by peers, unfairly vilified because of her social station. There were occasions when she was too naïve, too trustful of mankind in general and the belief that her father’s lofty post renders her untouchable (a gold necklace was snatched from her on an open courtyard and if I remember well, in broad daylight).
She is human just like the rest of us, albeit, with more passion than others. This is both her bane and boon, so that in matters of the heart she was captive to the whim of her complex feelings. She is one of the deepest persons I had the honor of knowing, though others saw only a shallow and self centered brat. She befriended me even if I am not of the elite.
She wasn’t haughty, not one bit did I see it manifest the whole time we interacted. As I said, she really had an excellent voice, but she doesn't have any of that pretenses and airs usually stamped on the possessors of talents of such level. One of the noblest gesture I saw in her was when she reached out and became a good friend of A.B. (and yes, may I proudly state now that A.B. was my first real girlfriend and I hope you understand if I wasn’t able to admit it then. That’s another story. She is one of my bestest friends till now).
They called AB a silly name because she was different. She and my friend belonged to opposite poles of existence. In the social strata, AB was way below her. She was passionate to a rather unnerving intensity whereas AB was lackadaisical and happy go lucky. She trudged on the academic path with ease but tinged still with serious and competitive edge whereas AB giddy yapped and slept throughout the lectures, didn’t care one bit. I will not judge beauty here as there are mitigating circumstances why people look the way they are, some are disadvantaged by finances and upbringing and genes, lack of it most notably, while some have the means and inborn gifts to appear more pleasing. Objectively, AB is a far cry from my friend on that department.
If there is one thing that they have a whole lot in common, it is their laughter, the full, unrestrained and uncaring kind.
It was nothing less than a daily astonishment, and every time I see them hitting it off, a peculiar but comforting kind of warmth suffuses me. I just couldn’t imagine this uninhibited bonding with AB happening with anybody else “posh” on that class, she foremost.
I learned a valuable lesson from her even before I read Kipling heartening to: “talk with crowds and keep your virtue, or walk with Kings nor lose the common touch.” She showed me this profound lesson not with words as others do, or with the superficial rhetoric that many employ. She enlightened me by being herself.
Of course don’t believe for one second that this sums up her being, as I once saw her, for the full complexity of a human personality is something I cannot presume or venture to suggest. Time and experience are factors that will never fail to continuously change it.
These are my own observations, forever embedded in my mind. There maybe some who will concur or others who will countermand, but that is the beauty of literary license, my words do not need to be debated, for this is, before anything else, an objective tribute. Of my own free volition, from my first hand experience, therefore my truth.
I am writing this paean not for the sole reason of plain reminiscence or atonement. In a way I am purging myself of imponderables which has bothered me all this time, the “what ifs” which many if not all of us carry, arising from that point of our own mortal time where a decisive unfolding of the universe led to either the remaining, or parting of ways with another.
“What if” we remained friends through the years? “What if” I contented myself by being that simple but wonderful word: FRIEND. I have a few answers: I would have been a happier person for it- more fulfilled as an individual who was able to keep valuable company and relationship through the years, and the moral support she could have given me would have kept me in better stead during the times I faced daunting personal challenges. Yes it’s true that I am blessed with many, many true friends who were there when I needed them, drawn by my rapier wit and cheerfulness THEN (these past few years melancholy has touched me unceasingly and I’ve been more of an emotional vampire, I’m only starting to get over this horrible state of psyche), but keeping the special persons I lost would have made this circle richer in many ways. What amazing terra firma they would have added to the archipelago of human interaction I am part of! I am a firm believer that indeed, no man is an island.
There are more could-have-been in such special friendships, all of it good. But alas, I am kept to remembering. There is nothing wrong with remembering though, especially the sunny parts. We remember then we move on. And that although it has come to pass, I remain thankful how good (and crazy) such times made me feel.
I am writing this not only for her but for all the people out there who one time or another shared himself or herself with another and then either though the vicissitudes of chance or the whimsical nature of human folly, had this bond torn asunder.
On that regard, I too am writing this:
…For K.B, who I also shared a deep friendship during my second year of highschool, who I played naughts and crosses (otherwise known as tick-tack-toe) and SOS with, even as history lectures go on (or for that matter, lessons from other subjects as well, though I remember history vividly as it was during that period when we were caught and the tabletop criss-cross games displayed by the teacher in front of the class, with the two of us laughing it off. LOL), she whom I shared a great deal of laughter, long and lazy weekend telephone conversations, comforting periods of silence. Who made me the proudest amongst the nerds by my truthful exclamations then of “yep, sure am close and friends with that very brainy muse.” But whose friendship I also lost with my immaturity and asinine impulsiveness (not without help from the evil exhortations of this conniving and jealous suitor of hers, same guy talked to her behind my back, a classic snake!!!). Not to mention my arrogance and über-confidence bordering on the annoying. Sorry, I was a peacock strutting without realizing I didn’t have feathers after all, my friend.
…For F.L., the very first person who called me “eccentric” during 2nd year HS (further piquing a mind grown curious as to the mystery and beauty of words). She whom I may have insulted by things not critically thought of first before having been uttered, when she went home for vacation some years back. She is still a friend.
…For A.P., who I teased a lot but remained fair sport all throughout, one time even handing me a discount card for beach use entrance fees. She it was who I referred to at the very start and she who besot her heart passionately on someone too but was unrequited. She flattered me by her consideration of my person as worthy to make “E.S.” jealous, dragging me along in her pursuance of his attention (what we call then as “Paselosin”). He didn’t deserve her one bit, all is as it should be and reading her blogs, she must have found out by now (or maybe since long way back, sorry I’m not updated). May she remain cheerful of spirit.
…For M.A., who during my fourth year of HS lent me money when I don’t have anything in my pocket anymore to get home or to buy snacks at recess time (too much billiards), who taught me how to do “modern steps” during our JS prom upon seeing that the only strides I could muster were the awkward and stiff ones. She is still a friend.
…For E.A., who I remember fully now as an exuberantly cool “tropa” on my last year of highschool. She is also a sworn Eraserhead and a Beatle. I already asked her but I want to repeat it here again, that she pardon my impulsive actions borne from wrong assumptions, for my forgetting how comfortable and fine our camaraderie was, till I tried to cross a line. I would like to thank her for avoiding me when she saw that I failed to see this, and lately, for reminding me what a Beatlemaniac I once was, a former self she unwittingly had me rediscovering all over again. She remains a good friend.
…For George, John, Paul and Ringgo! Your words are still easy and comfy, as if it was just Yesterday (…all my trouble seemed so far away…) when I heard and sang it last. Ah, hello my friends… indeed we meet again! = )
…For S.F., and to tell her she didn’t deserve that egotistical person that was me one bit. And so sorry that we were not able to part as close friends, that I turned from her on account of the most abhorrent and stupid of reasons: her old blouses, faded skirts and ungainly shoes, her disheveled appearance. Again it was proud youth’s sometimes callow indifference and lack of empathy and understanding, of my failure to see the domestic turmoil behind such a fair but sullied facade, sullied by the inadequacies of life. Of my failing to lend a helping hand, go the extra mile. Let me say now that she remains beautiful from without and within and I was a fool to have given her false hope, with my young and imprudent heart and mind not yet set and molded to that mature degree of seriousness and surety.
… For V.B., who called me a demon right after his conscience got the better of him (as it very well did), prodding him to confess before the 4th year level Math Quiz Bee moderator that his answer to the winning question’s not his own. I was sidelined then, eliminated out of the game by a prior question and therefore already a mere audience, when I whisperingly urged him to change his answer to a latter question, which turned out to be right, and that by some lucky quirk- the remaining few competitors got wrong. Mea culpa my friend, my center of morals then was unstable and I thought I was doing you a favor. I admire you and the home you were brought up for remaining uncorrupted by the demon that was me (With this regard, my apologies to F.R. too, who deservingly won after my erstwhile friend’s confession of being given unsolicited help, an upset which he could have capitalized upon but didn’t). I still keep the note he gave me, a reminder to yours truly that not everyone believes in winning whatever the cost is, and which I follow till now. Fairness in all its form is indeed nobility (except that I willingly didn’t shook off that habit of sharing my exam answers to as many as possible throughout all my future classes, maybe it was my stick-in-the-eye to the stiff ones, the “grade-goers,” whose Fort Knox-like hold on their exam answers I viewed as extremely selfish and annoying. I find it funny that I don’t remember who these people were anymore. Maybe it’s something to do with my mind lumping them together into that single, seemingly paranoid, hunched entity astride an armchair, which at this moment’s retrospect, a vision I can only find amusing. LOL. I SURE hope they finally got it now, grades don’t mean shit in the real world. HA!)
…For F.D., who was a very good friend, until the time I abused my authority over him as a senior just because of a perceived wrong by a bunkmate. Sometimes the politics of alpha males could go awry inside that collegial alma mater of ours, and aggressiveness against lower classes a tool to get back on a colleague one is at odds with. When he was caught in the middle, I should have remembered he was a friend first before a junior. Pardon my stupidity. He forgave but couldn’t forget.
…For J.G., who reached out as I tried helping somebody else, with her generosity and genuine concern for the less-advantaged. And that although it didn’t turn out as it should, I will keep my promise of repaying her since the person we both tried to help failed the too rigorous standards set by distant shores, where the pasture is greener. For being that person who inspired this paean in the first place, when she told me how well she remembered my closeness with Evan and how good it was. She’s still a good friend.
… Finally for my wife, whose offered friendship I took advantage of and whose vulnerability I capitalized on, who I have given a considerable lot of pain and irritation. If I had had the merest glimpse then of the full immensity of the emotional baggage that would haunt me later on, I would have run away from her without looking back. I am sorry and at the same time extremely thankful (and perpetually amazed) by the leap of faith she made with me (what was she thinking???), I hope I have the rest of this lifetime to make up her mind that she made the right decision after all. She is still a wife (and I’m still pinching my arm everyday). LOL.
I am writing this so that I may exorcise the guilt my youth and impish innocence brought and made me realize with such melancholic poignancy, as I grow more world-weary. To ask for understanding on my defensive mechanism of having a personality varying from being an annoying clown, an arrogant bastard, an infuriating braggart or someone so full of it. For the countless times my big mouth chunked a piece off my foot, as pertaining to someone or to a group in general.
I ask only for that, understanding, as there are reasons why we are what we are and I am only just coming to grips with my own demons. It is only recently that I understood myself better (but that’s another story, for later). Casanova wrote in his old age, “for my part since I have always admitted that I was the chief cause of all the misfortunes which have befallen me, I have rejoiced in my ability to be my own pupil, and in my duty to love my teacher.” With the lack of good parenting influence during my formative years, I too was unfortunately my own pupil, finding out most things by trial and error. And this gesture of reaching out and trying to take infantile steps to sort out regrettable misdeeds of the past is indeed also a vain gesture of gratifying the teacher in me, but nonetheless, I am rejoicing at the unselfishness of my real purpose and how early I have come to this point in my life.
I am writing this so that now that I have found my voice in this realm of written words, in the beauty of prose, poetry and essays, I may get over the message that you are remembered and such warm memories are cherished, no less than I remember Evan’s, each minute detail I can easily hark back to. To, with utmost sincerity, thank you all for the kindness you have shown, and with a generous measure of humility, beg forgiveness from my wrongs.
Also, if I may take a different tack,
(on deck, scurry! I want movement! Lift the skin up, keep your loof, haul those sheets! Run them, keep running! -- Oops sorry, I’m being Jack Sparrowy here)
let me say that as a person with an “innate anthropological curiosity,” (ok that’s euphemism for being chismoso LOL) I have been lucky to belong to four different sections as I trudged my way thru higher education. The others who were able to interact with only a single section all throughout, or the majority of such years are also lucky. For they have developed a bond with the classmates they shared the four walls of the classroom with, where being together for a long time further deepened it. I envy them the brotherhood and closeness they still have at and keep till now, for it came at a time when youth is at its most high spirited, therefore long lasting. But they had limited interaction, those who belonged to the higher sections for example never experienced the less competitive and more relaxed atmosphere of the lower strata. That was only one of the advantages of my diversity of experience.
I was also able to keep my pulse on many stories of human interests from varied walks of life. There was the politics of hate and love, dashes of envy and jealousy, best friend johnnies and sister acts, frat brothers, cutting classes and forgeries of excuse letters, suspensions and comfort room vandalism, drug experiments, x-rated minds praying for x-ray visions. There were talents in many forms, outsmarting teachers and authority (one guy kept reciting William Axle Rose’s “Civil War” in all his oral recitation for speech class from the second to the last year so I’m told, how much smarter can one get?), the sometimes Jungle like atmosphere of classrooms (Welcome!-says Axle Rose again), teacher’s meltdown and kids getting even, witty fools and wiseasses (I was one), teachers pets and pet names, bullies and world class bullshitters, bastardized songs made especially for instructors (if you recall the song “Vulnerable” and “Mr C,” the self styled, balding, C.A.T commandant, then the memory of Gado’s line “He’s so KALBO- rable, like China in my hand” I’m sure is giving you the fits now. For good measure, remember “Carolina” and Miss D- whose geographical stock knowledge is prodigious- at the same time. “Oh Carolina, D&#C@S na! D&#C@S na!” LOL).
There are myriad tales (most I remember with nostalgia and some I can’t begin to recall without an unconscious groan to subdue the memory. Ugh!) proving that the ingenuity, infectiousness and frivolity of youth is boundless. These I immersed myself into, not as a detached observer or by merely watching in the sidelines with bemused amusement, but as a rather enthusiastic participant, instigator even. LOL.
But there were also sad tales of competition and rivalries, and friendships that could have been. And this is where my change of tack is leading, for one of the most tragic tale I’ve heard, before even being a part of that school, is the story of two girls who should have been the best of friends. Their fathers grew up together, were political allies and real good friends. But being pitted against each other at an early age by teachers through comparisons in elementary classes didn’t bode well for the rivalry that would haunt them until now. It didn’t help that they were both blessed with the same talent in singing, for their voices were the most sought after to be heard of, by teachers and classmates alike. This in turn fed the fierce fire of their personal competition. They turned into the bitterest of rivals.
One thing I can regretfully say is how sad this state of affairs is, but I would like to go further. One of the persons involved is the main protagonist of this humble story, the main recipient of this paean. I have been a mouthpiece against her when stumbling upon and catching up with the other, nodding and concurring (with a gnawing guilt) with the latter, on things said against the former that were not good, and in the spirit of goodwill I will not repeat here. Could it have been the Freudian consequence of my being rebuffed by the former that drove me to it, her cutting me off, or a glow of Schadenfreude that in a small, but vile and traitorous measure, I am getting back at her for a perceived slight against my pride???? Could be, but I’m not an adept at psychobabble to decide about that (though many says I would have made a very good psychiatrist or psychologist- my usual retort being, “Is it because it takes a loco to know a loco?” LOL).
Let me say to the first one that I am deeply sorry for that, I cannot blame you if you will see me in a harsher light now that I said this, but I ask you to give credit for this heart felt honesty, paying tribute after all, involves coming out clean too. I feel so bad “Evan” (I couldn’t say “my friend” anymore, for I am not worthy. Shame on me!)
As for the latter, let me say that your perceived rival never did such a thing to you the whole time we were together and in all our communications. If she kept a hatchet against you, I never had even the smallest glimpse of it. You have also been a good friend to me and I’ll forever be thankful for that time you took the blades off my hands, in one those stupid and foolish fights young and blustering men find themselves enmeshed. Who knows what could have happened if you didn’t. I know how good, sociable and talented you also are. You may not know it but you and her have much in common, it’s only the paths you followed that made a difference, and it is not always in magnets where same poles repel. I respect you as much as I do her and thankful that I knew you both. But if I may be blunt and honest, I believe its time to switch mental gears towards reconciliation now, ironically not with her, but with yourself. Yes she has done a lot of crazy things, a been-there-done-that-kind of girl. You on the other hand followed the straight and narrow, therefore it may only be that your views towards her are borne mainly from lack of understanding. You have a solid personality from the get go and I believe it was very hard for you to identify with the cataclysmic blasts and shifts of her persona. Yes, you have been a saint, and hearing of the rumbles she stirred made you shake your head in reproach. Clive James whose memoir presented self deprecatingly his blunders, wrote, “those whose personalities were handed to them in one piece might shake their heads. There are such people and often they are among the saints, but they are denied the salutary privilege of remembering what they once were, BEFORE THEY KNEW BETTER.” But I beg to differ, for you my friend can know better. (This goes out as well to those who in other ways misunderstood Evan too.)
Kaya I therefore conclude, for my and our crazy but wonderful SJS class 96’ers sake:
MAGBATI NA PO KAYO!
Yes I wrote this essay-ala- novella for her, my former VERY TRUE friend of distant shores, but I also have that exhortation above to fit sails upon. I like and admire you both and I don’t want to divide my loyalty, I’m too old for that shit. And you should realize that too.
Ano ba, may mga anak na kayo, mga asawang matitino at pamilyang hinahangaan ng marami! Tumatanda na tayo. Explore uncharted territories, you might be pleasantly surprised as to what you will find. It’s never too late to discover what we were missing all these time. And if there’s one thing I discovered in my life, that cathartic truth that kept me going despite many odds, it is that IT’S NEVER TOO LATE. And if I can make you reach out to each other, open your hearts to that seemingly insurmountable task, I would be more fulfilled for it. What better channel to send this out than in here, this aptly named site called “FRIENDSter.”
I leave these words now to the both of you, and scatter it amongst the winds and waves of this cruel but still oh so beautiful world, “I will be proudest of whoever reaches out first!” I understand that this is easier said than done on my part, for I am not in touch with the chords of your hearts or the depths of your souls, but I consider it a duty for my piratical stubbornness to achieve. In this you may call me presumptuous, but I am doing this in the belief that I am putting my talent to good use.
I am trying to light a candle here, make the world a little less dark and bleak, La Vita a little more Dolce (pardon my Italian). It’s your decisions that will decide if it will burn brighter or extinguish into oblivion. I am acting upon ideals and should I stumble, I will brush myself up and know that I am not the less better for it.
Finally, I leave these words from Desiderata to the rest who kept me company till here (I hope you’re still awake):
“As far as possible, WITHOUT SURRENDER, be on good terms with all persons…”
PS Sensya na kung medyo may paliko liko, still practicing for the big one. Watch out Dan Brown (har har har)!!!
Epilogue: Know ye all that even if George Looney’s victor ship, the Grey Pearl, comes in with object won, which is the reconciliation of these two wonderful persons, he will not yet rest on his laurels. His pen, sharper than ever, will try to right many, many more wrongs. I hope you’ll remain onboard for this quest.
If he fails, well at least he tried! And To continue sailing forth he shall…
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.- MARK TWAIN
…….Scurry women! Scurry………
Pardon my lack of proper musical terms and jargon. I’m writing from the heart here, describing in my own humble words songs I opine as above the rest. I don’t believe people constraining their likes and inclinations into figures such as My TOP 100, My 50 Greatest, My Ultimate 10 (Why limit??)- this foremost in the fields of the arts. That includes music. Think of this as a series of write ups where I say what I want to say about songs that I enjoy listening to. There’s more to follow, if and when time allows me to waltz with my keyboard. These are foreign ones, but as soon as get my hands on MP 3s of awesome local songs, I’d include them too. Anyway, here are some of em.
BE LIKE THAT (3 Doors Down)- The guitar strings rides from intro till the end with short spanned crests and troughs of longings, playing up the songs plaintive cry for that moment when one could be like someone else.
And although there should at least a trace of jealousy directed to the possessor of the wished for personality or life, there is none. There is only that assumptive rhetoric one is inclined to when fancying something, reflected in the voice crying for a seemingly unattainable dream.
It is also a song of acceptance, if one knows how to listen clearly, something that pipe dreamers and wishful thinkers sorely lack. This is because one understands he/she is not alone in dreaming to don another’s shoes, so at the end of the song, sorrow does not beget sorrow, it in fact rejuvenates.
Damn I like this song!
AMAZING (Aerosmith)- Although you couldn’t really call their songs power ballads, this one is for me their most powerful song. Not only is the play of vocals seemingly light (don’t be fooled as you render a videoke version) but gripping, the plainly worded song if taken in clearly, brings to light certain revelations that are right underneath our noses. It tells the story of being truly down, that point of hopelessness and hitting the bottom, of broken wings and acknowledgement of death as the only salvation. And then describes this certain magical catharsis or epiphany or whatever you may call it, as nothing less than amazing, for it takes only that “blink of an eye” to make you realize how much you can still go on. That it’ll be alright. And when you experience that, it really makes you feel humbled to the point of reaching out and praying for all the other desperate hearts the world holds- that they too be blessed with reprieve from whatever rut they’re stuck onto. That makes the title unremarkable but hey, this one proves there is real beauty in simplicity and directness.
The ending radio crackled 40’s voice leaves a perplexing and deep message; that we could be that light at the end of the tunnel. Could mean we are our own savior, or someone else’s for that matter. Or that maybe we are already on the other side, implying that our angels of mercy or guardian angels are our own metaphorical selves- blissfully flying amidst the time and space continuum of heaven already, but still guiding their corporeal selves nonetheless. How’s that for AMAZING?
Go figure. (don’t think me nuts- or hell yeah, call me one WACHACHAW-WACHACHACHACHA- CHAWWWWW…)
TURN, TURN (The Byrds)- The song feels like a cerebral celebration of “eclecticism,” derived from Eklektikus, a Greek word meaning to “pick out.”
Well for starters, I’m picking out that the notion that the song is made in a kitchen by a bunch of hippies whose uncharacteristic seriousness lends solemnity due the revelation of which they are poetically singing of (even as cannabis haze hangs heavy in the air. LOL).
The instrumental melodies seems like they are made by cutting and cooking utensils tuned beautifully to accompany this epiphany (drug induced?) of great accord, of which the majority of humanity’s eclectic bunch will all but agree: there is a time for everything, because fate turns around like wheels and because circumstances change as seasons do. Understood?
The song would have to go on forever if it had to cite the “great eclectic many” man goes thru in sufferance, upheaval or joy, in order to continue his/her eternal metamorphosis. Nonetheless they seemed to have quoted the best and the worst: there is a time to dance, laugh and to gather storms together; there is a season of hate, of war and of peace, amongst others..
The best line is the conclusive “I swear it’s not too late.”
Makes one go “Yo man, make love not war!”
Peace Ganja!!! (If I’m not mistaken I believe this is also a Forrest Gump soundtrack).
THE SCIENTIST (Coldplay)- A haunting lovesong. Tells of the supremacy the heart holds over the mind, feelings over rationale. Calmly eases the lowering of pride, therefore a penultimate song to be heard before saying sorry.
Will melt the hardest of female heart, sing it to her and a vocalized “forgive me” is superfluous. The piano melody could as well have been tiger growls. Now go get her!
YELLOW (Coldplay)- A song every lovelorn shyster in his teenage years can relate with. Often, it’s the ones we are deeply infatuated with who tucked our tails in, made us yellow. I won’t recommend you hear it if her name’s still embossed upon the heart tied on your sleeve, she being with someone else already.
But if you’re happily tucked now with your “soul mate,” this is good for nostalgic reminiscence of your torpe days. Sad thing is it won’t make you smile with the recollection.
If both of you are still living by your lonesome in the luvey-duvey department, this song should get you to run after them skin and bones turned into something beautiful.
It’s never too late (I may be gloating here, but I wasn’t. Though there are times I wish I was…. :o)
EVERYTHING’S NOT LOST (Coldplay)- The part about good demons perching on one’s shoulder reminded me of the story of Pandora (from a sentimentally valued Edith Hamilton “Mythology” book), the first woman, given by the ancient gods to Prometheus’ brother. When she opened the box Epimetheus left lying around, the last creature that came out was “Hope.” All those time this thing was inside that box, it had to contend with a lot of other winged creatures like itself that are way meaner and viler. But they didn’t break this tough faerie, yep, battered and bruised and wings askew- it flew away, zooming after such things as sickness, loneliness, hurt, pain etc. Kicking inside the heart, it continues to strengthen the weary with the prospect of overcoming odds, strengthens flagging spirits, snatches glory from the jaws of defeat, etc (It can go on forever).
With my mind merging personification (the figure of speech) and Anime (the Japanese pop culture), I had then this mental image of a “Gothic Hope,” all black and with a fashion sense straight from The Matrix. Instead of flying with transparent wings as that of a dragonfly, it’s flapping about with the veined, leathery, bat-like kind. A freakish anachronistic member of the pint sized, goody-two-shoes Optimism Family; the cynical, grumpy and mocking black sheep, someone who encourages- but curses like a royally pissed sailor while at it. Or mischievously kicks backside so one has no choice but to pull him/herself together.
“Get up you moron. One second I’m gone and you’re fucking up big time again.”
…Puffs a cig…
“Now where is that Screw-Up Imp. I’m gonna beat the shit out of that prick sized bastard farted out from a devil’s asshole. As if you ain’t foolish enough already to always mess up, that squirming maggot from hell had to visit you… AGAIN???”
(Sans the bad words, it’s an approach eerily reminiscent what my wife usually employs to yours truly…hmmm)
TOGETHER IN ELECTRIC DREAMS (Human League)- Everyone’s supposed to have a new wave tune inside his head. This one’s the best remnant the 80’s left tucked and pulsating every once in a while inside my grey cells.
All dreams are of course powered by electrical signals crisscrossing the brain whilst subconscious, thus “electric dreams” generally means all type of dreams. This in mind, combined with the fact that water is a strong conductor of electricity, may lead one to conclude that (drum roll please….)- a “wet dream” is the most stimulated type of electric dream. LOL.
If you didn’t get it, never mind the paragraph above, those are the ramblings of a loon. :O) Anyway, the transcendental organ notes together with the seemingly erratic plays of electric guitar and drumbeats blended well to make this song great. The vocals is signature 80’s but stands out by spreading well throughout the song.
There’s no poetry in the song and that’s more a plus than a minus, sometimes we just need to get lost without being entangled: it may sound oxymoronic but this song makes daydreaming tedious, but appealingly so.