Thursday, December 25, 2008

happy christmas

When I was a kid, I used to see Christmas as the highlight of my year. We really knew how to do Christmas then. We’d plan months in advance and our tree would be just the most stunning thing ever. There were years when our house looked like it was taken from some holiday version of Architectural Digest.

When we started moving around though, Christmas became blander and blander. Slowly, it had to be placed on the back burner in favor of other priorities and less-extravagant holidays. I see our tree this year, a silver and blue thing and it kinda looks like a sad disco tree from the eighties. If you think about it, nothing’s really changed though. It’s still us. It’s still the same tree. Some of the decorations have become staples throughout the years but as we became busier and busier, we slowly forgot the little kid in all of us who absolutely pimped up Christmas.

I woke up today feeling hungry like anything. I went downstairs and foraged for food but nothing left me satisfied. I tried to watch a movie but for the next 2 hours, all I could think of was how hungry I was and how a double cheeseburger and a side of nuggets just might do the trick.

For a second there, I forgot why I didn’t have work today. I can’t believe it’s all happening so fast! I feel like I just blinked and poof! It became Koko Crunch, err Christmas.

After the movie I got dressed and went to McDonald’s. Surprisingly, there were a lot of people. I wondered why these people weren’t getting ready for Christmas. Some teenager took my order and I could hear a bored edge to her voice. It’s like she couldn’t wait to get out of there and start with the Christmas festivities. I stifled a chuckle, not wanting to add insult to injury. I, of course, had the wonderful privilege of staying home this Christmas. As she gave me my food and change, she said a very stiff Merry Christmas, sir. I forgave her lack of enthusiasm and wished her a merry Christmas as well.

Outside, three kids came up to me asking for money or some of my fries. I didn’t even bother to look at them. As I crossed the street, I overheard one of them say parang hindi pasko. Napakaramot naman niya.

It seems that in the eyes of three little kids, I had become Scrooge. I completely forgot the meaning of Christmas. I guess to a child, Christmas could mean something else. I guess I was more… logical. While I see it as a time to be grateful that the baby Jesus was born because He inevitably saved us from the eternal fires of hell and all that, they see it as something completely different. I don’t know where he got the notion that Christmas = free food and endless mercy from strangers.

So I wasn’t exactly feeling generous or anything. In fact, I was in a slightly sour mood all day. I went home, ate my burger, fell asleep and woke up in time for Christmas dinner. We were going to celebrate at my sister’s house. I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to make such a big deal of the whole season. In fact I didn’t even send my annual text blast. Because of how I felt, I decided that this year, Christmas would be celebrated at a minimum.

God probably had something else planned for me, though. On our way home, I caught a glimmer of the little kid in me (the one who absolutely adored Christmas). I began to feel like maybe I could still see Christmas the way those three little kids saw it. Some folks were getting into a weird argument over some really small thing and I said para naming hindi pasko. Ang babaw-babaw ng pinagaawayan niyo. Everyone was quiet after that. I usually mind my own business but the kid in me didn’t want any animosity this time of the year. While it wasn’t exactly groundbreaking or anything, the thought that I still cared about dear old Christmas made me smile.

So that’s Christmas for me this year. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Thank you to all who greeted me and stuff. I hope you have a wonderful time with your families. Merry Christmas, everybody!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

this year's love

It’s strange when you wake up one day and find yourself in a routine. Lately, my days have been filled with endless fillers- pointless hours disguised as life and work and all the things we do each day. I’ve learned to stop paying attention, to fake that glow in my eyes when people talk to me. Everything’s a blur and at some point, you have to accept that everything becomes absolutely pointless.

And so, an unwelcome change came. I’ve got this weird virus and I can’t come to work. I find myself with so many hours at my disposal with no single clear resolution. I tried to watch a Wong Kar Wai DVD but after a few scenes, my eyes started getting heavy. I tried surfing the net but I ended up sleepy yet again. It seems my virus has me doing the one thing I abused when I was well: sleep.

By the time I felt well enough, I turned on my computer and finished the post I intended to publish last week. I don’t usually edit my posts so this one is quite different.

Oh grow up.

About a week ago, I met a nice black kitten. He was playing with a twig and didn’t mind much when I came close to touch him. We exchanged a few meows and purrs and after saying goodbye fifty million times, I opened the gate and went home. It was such a breath of fresh air – a street cat who isn’t afraid of humans. I would’ve said he was being avante garde but if I were to be honest to myself and to my new friend, I knew he was being naïve.

Two days later, he was dead. I saw his guts splattered on the concrete and he had a strange expression on his face. I wanted to take a picture to show my friends so that they could confirm but honestly, I think he was smiling.

A bigger black cat walked towards us. I assumed she was his mother and so I got up and let the woman grieve. As I walked away, she sprung up in defense and I could hear her anger through her fangs. She was older and in cat sense, wiser not to trust humans. People will kill you, if you let them, she seemed to say.

People will kill you, if you let them. I’m not talking about getting run over or shot. I’m talking about a harder death. They can suck the youth off of your fingertips if you let them. There’s a voice in my head that tells me to stop and cling to whatever youth I have left. There’s another that says if I’m to survive, I need to be big and brave like that mother cat. It’s a big old world filled with petty quarrels and holidays designed to make you feel like a major loser and if you don’t learn to adapt, you could one day find yourself on the pavement with your pink parts exposed to the world.

Question is: do I lick my wounds and become calloused or die with a smile on my face?

As I got home last night from what felt like such a long day, I glanced at the sky and saw something I haven’t seen before in my twenty-two years of existence. I was beginning to think they weren’t really real but last night, it shone in its brief teal glory. They say you have to wish when you see a falling star. I closed my eyes and through clenched teeth, I wished to grow up.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

daddy's got a brand new toy

One day, I said to myself I'd like to publish my blog at least once a week. It's a Saturday and the post that I wrote doesn't seem quite there yet and so I'm here to tell you why I've been so preoccupied.

I took most of my Christmas bonus and bought me a super small computer.

Polly Pocket would've been envious.

It's only slightly bigger than a paperback novel...

...and (I heard) weighs only two pounds.

The trackpad's about as big as my thumb.

Good luck, right?

But the monitor's touch screen so it's all good.

I must admit, typing wasn't so easy at first. Blame it on my fat fingers.

But I got used to it and I'm almost back to my regular typing speed.

All in all, it's a fun little machine. I think I'm in love.

Here's where you can get more information about the Astone UMPC. In the meantime, I'll be in my room.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

life on mars

I had a staring contest with half a glass of water, pondering on whether it was half-empty or half-full. It didn't really answer my question. It just mocked me for thinking about such inane things. Nothing seems right today.

I woke up this morning with such an odd feeling. My bed felt like it was not my own. My fingers danced on the iron bars. This seems like my bed but today, it's more prison-y. For a second, I checked my phone, forgetting completely that no one texts me anymore. Gone are the days when I had a good morning when I woke up and a good night before I go to sleep. I got up and realized the sky was green and the walls were blue. My red towel (which was blue yesterday) in hand, I went downstairs to take a bath.

The water felt warm on my skin and I could feel it seep into my very bones. Ignoring this awkward sensation (and eyes closed because of the shampoo), I awkwardly felt for my loofah. I winced a little so I could find it until I realized it was right there, biting my right hand. Its fangs looked rabid and so I let it be. By the time I finished bathing, it had already consumed two of my seventeen fingers.

At work, things went from weird to crazy. The cabbie gave me Monopoly money as change.

"Manong, tama ba to?"

"Oo. Dumaan tayo ng
Go diba? May sahod ka."

I nodded but I still had my doubts. Forty pesos and 20 Monopoly dollars in hand, I said goodbye to him and the silver thimble on his right thumb.

I shook my head. Nothing seems right today.

After lunch, I was craving for something sweet. Out of nowhere, a nipa hut bearing snacks and sweets emerged from the benign darkness of the fifth floor. I chose my poison, an innocent pack of mini piyayas.

"Ang strange nung piyaya ngayon. Parang may coconut. Tikman mo nga." I told a friend.

(pops a piyaya in his mouth) "Sira na to. May amag na."

"Ha?! Eh naka-tatlo na ako eh! Pweh! Pweh!"

I went to the nearest toilet in hopes of puking it out. I could imagine the evil little mold particles in my stomach, wreaking havoc like a pack of invaders from a forgotten history book. I almost swallowed my hand but I could not puke. Must be the missing fingers. Suddenly, I was 17 again. Pimples started popping out of my face and I was puking a pack of Sky Flakes at the school restroom. Oh to be young and to have nothing better to do than purge! I miss those days.

A cup of coffee and two bottles of Yakult later, I was still feeling odd. On my way home, a bear dressed as a panda tipped his hat for me. Hopefully tomorrow won't be so strange.