I woke up coughing on Saturday, coughing harder on Sunday, and feverish on Monday. So, perhaps for the first time in my working life, I took a day off because I'm sick.
Slightly ironic, since it's been exactly a year since I started working.
Well, to be precise, I only took a day-off from being in the office. I figured I'll work at home since I don't have anything better to do in the first place. It's an option anyway
, although it felt much more complicated when I was already availing of it, as if the company wanted me to have a hard time whenever I do stuff. Then again, if your life revolves around searching for stuff online to bluff about, well, why should having to deal with people who shun you be a part of it?
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I was done with all my work, having finished everything (and then some) for the day, so I decided to confirmed her Facebook
invitation and go through her profile. She was tagged in eight hundred photos, which wasn't an unusual number considering I have friends who were tagged in a thousand, but I felt it was a lot when I browsed through all of them. She was this girl who, as I later realized, was a cross between Misha Balangue and Miley Cyrus
, only she couldn't decide on her hair color - pitch black at one moment, bleached blonde on another. She was riding horses, frolicking in the beach, hanging out at home, sneaking a photograph while studying at the library.
At first glance, she'd be a person I'd be pretty interested in, although not in that half-usual achingly romantic way. The thing was, I already knew her.
It was during film writing class when Sir Doy had all of us write a letter, obviously hypothetical, to someone we had a lot of questions to. I didn't want to gravitate towards the usual suspects - then again, my distant relatives are so distant I don't have any idea where to start - but, after ten minutes of thinking, I remembered her. I'll admit, I did forget her, apart from the very rare mentions from old friends. It's been eight years or something.Read more »
The feeling was, to put it gently, quite odd. There you were, surrounded by familiar places, but the whole place felt unfamiliar to you. Nothing sticks out. Must be the dark skies, although there's no way you'd see those skies from the inside. Must be the people around you, although you're used to the lunch crowd, strangers occupying restaurant tables, only they have IDs wrapped around their necks, and suits over their abdomen, or whatever counts as business.
You make your way around the place, but there's absolutely nothing you can do. Twenty minutes, and you're forced to wait, as much as you tried avoiding idle time. Then again, there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. There's another path, and you walk through that, and you see stall after stall, and you remember the things you tried before, and one of them stood out, and you go there, and you find solace in the things you know you're not familiar with. You might call that familiarity, too.
It is, after all, a self-contained complex. Not isolated, but it feels like it. Step out, and you see a different crowd. Step in, and it all changes. You're probably used to hearing people laugh without provocation, to a lack of uptightness, to a more bustling crowd. But if it's change you're looking for, you've got to deal with all of this. Starting over again, dealing with your worries, wondering whether you can cut it, or whether they'll let you. These thoughts as you walk in the rain, and lunch groups slowly progressing to work groups, corporate drab transforming to hipster chic, or whatever amounts to it.
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I'm scared of getting angry.
It's a natural thing, anyway. We can't always keep it in, especially if we find ourselves pushed to the wall. What else if something heavy and unwarranted has been dropped on you, and you're left with no other option? Capture all the rage that you can capture, focus it on one thing, and detonate.
But for some reason, everybody else gets away with it, and I don't. I was notorious for my tantrums when I was younger; when things got pretty bad I'd be quick with a howl and a barrage of tears. I was in a pretty awkward position in elementary school: I'm the kid who does well and has many friends, but the only thing keeping me from getting the top annual prize was my somewhat rowdy attitude. That, and the light bulb I broke when I slammed the door too hard during one of those bouts.
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Eventually, you start to settle in, and you stop thinking too much about whether there was something wrong with you being yourself, something repulsive that made you pretty much a hate figure. You've made excuses for yourself, or maybe you prefer to call them justifications. You just push on as you hear the rest of the world make small talk, playing with promiscuous nurses or lost work, and maybe you'll hear the discussion shift towards you and everything that makes you undesirable. Or you're just thinking about it. You know preoccupation can only get you so far, and when all is finished, and everything else has been exhausted, you try to cover your ears by starting your own conversation, with someone, hopefully someone. But you have to be alone, or else you'll be the weakest person in the world, and that's the least of your intentions.
Or maybe it's just you who's so narrow-minded, thinking that the very people who hate you will be the ones who will carry you through. That's the product of a few months, and one shrouded in mystery at that. Nothing beats twenty years of just standing there and letting things be, not trying too hard and not slacking off, either. Right before you, a list of fifty people or so who might be willing to talk to you, and the time is just right, for everything's winding down and the rest are getting ready to head west. All of you are just the same, with basically the same problems and the same need for a companion, and yet they manage to say they don't need you, and you are left stranded. Or you're just thinking about it. But that's the case, surely, because at this stage, you're not supposed to hang on to others just to feel good. Start doing things for yourself. Be independent, please.
There are people who talk, and people who talk to you, and people who you have to talk to, and people who you enjoy being with, and people who are a combination of some, or all, of them, and it ends up being painful. There are things you can do, but there are more things you can't do. What you have is fragile. One wrong move and you break them. You're better off keeping all your crazy impulsive plans and, instead, be like everybody else. Respect circles. Stay away from them. You're too late. You've got nowhere else to go. It's raining, and you're falling in love, and you want a hug, and you feel a little colder as you walk your way back west, and you smell the smell of rain-drenched suits, and you feel uncomfortable, and you can't do anything about it.
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I forgot what day it was, but it was definitely this week, when I looked out the window and realized that it's sunny, unlike what the weather forecast for the past few days (and the weather itself) suggested. So, I left my desk, went to the elevator going down, and stepped out of the building, only to realize that it's raining. Very hard.
So, I went back up, trudged back to my desk - that walk full of utter derision again - and took out my umbrella. Elevator going down. Out of the building. I realized it's not raining anymore.
Well, it still was, but the sun was still shining, and it's just a few drizzles, the type that you can survive without using anything to cover your head. I still brought the umbrella anyway, because nothing gets better than being a boy scout - and, as I've long learned, you might be greeted by torrential rains once you step out of the mall. (I risk throwing another reference here, but I won't.) And, I was hungry.
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As always - well, not as always, but after fifty weeks as a torn employee, I've gotten used to this sort of conversations. Virtual, and deep despite the fact that we should be doing something else. In my case, news articles. In Ariane
's case, well, whatever she's being asked to do.
"Niko-niks," she said.
"Yannie-yan," I answered.
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I knew something was up. Somehow, I knew the most important details, but I didn't feel it until it was all over. Then again, it's not unusual for someone to address everything and everyone being left behind before saying goodbye. It's the least you could do, after all, or else you'll be left with either sentimental pangs, or floating issues - or both - and it'll linger forever. Or maybe it's just me who's thinking that way.
Then again, Marcia
didn't. I knew she was leaving for Canada
. I knew her family's attempts to migrate halfway around the world was finally a success, after seven years, although it still surprised her. I knew she didn't want to go, and I knew she felt she didn't have any other choice. I knew she did her final catching up with her friends, that final get-together days before she took that flight to Toronto. And somehow, I didn't feel it coming.
For some reason, she chose not to make much out of it. I first time I mentioned it to her - we were chatting online
, for I was at work - she somehow didn't want everyone else to know. Or at least that's what I remember. We didn't really talk much after that, but I saw her post one blog entry after another, reminiscing about the things she will miss once she finally leaves the Philippines and attempts to start over again. For some reason, it slowly made sense to me.
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Apart from my iPod
, the only gift I got during my graduation was a bottle of aftershave, which my Merville-based uncle and aunt gave me. While I appreciated the gesture, I thought it was a pretty clueless gift to give, mostly because I don't shave, which goes at odds with my half-prominent body hair. (The only time I had my face shaved was when my barber was utterly convinced that I had to. And that was when I accidentally paid for the full grooming package days after my birthday.)
Only lately did I start using that, though. I still haven't learned how to shave - that barely noticeable tuft of hair on my chin is still barely noticeable - but when I ran out of that sprayable aromatherapy extract that I was using as a perfume, I decided, better use the otherwise idle gift as a cologne, rather than let it evaporate. Besides, I can use it as that, although to make it more akin to aftershave, it's only applied to the area around the neck.
Judging by my cluelessness over such things, you can say it's never really been my habit to wear any scent to anywhere. Or by the fact that I don't always apply aftershave before going to work, but it's more because I've forgotten to do so. I always never trusted those scents, despite me knowing what it contributes to the impression I make towards other people. There's the science of picking the right scent for you - I remember reading that it shouldn't be too strong, and that it should mix in quite well with the sweat. But I guess I never really got that science. What else do you get when you have someone as hyperactive and sweaty as me?
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Fridays aren't good because traffic on the way home gets really, really bad. The construction along the SLEX is prolonging my agony for an hour on average. The last weekend was a payday weekend - for most, since I only get my payday weekend at the end of this week - so traffic was worse. Oh, and did I say I was feeling extra, uhh, loopy over the past week? Oh, right, I think that was very obvious. Good.
As always, I was texting Kat
. It was a bad week, and I'm more than thankful she managed to hang on even if I was a little annoyed at one of her text messages at one point.
With a bad mood comes a lot of thoughts, and I sure had one of those thoughts, while lying on the bed, trying to sleep. (Actually I didn't have to try falling asleep. It's a matter of time.) Again, I was thinking of the past, and of the things that I did wrong - or, in this case, the things that made the last time different from this time. "'Di 'to matatapos kasi wala akong pamalit,
" I suddenly told her. "May
escape route dati. Kapag masakit, maghanap.
Now? Napakasakit at walang magawa.
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