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I was waiting for my jeans to finish drying at a laundry shop across from where I stay when a graduate school classmate sent me a message about Cielito Habito quoting me in his Inquirer column. I thought he was kidding until I saw this in the newsstand of 7-eleven:
And the specter of all those ghosts in the past never stops haunting me.
I heard him talk once, when I was 19, at UP. He gave a talk on public governance and local legislation. I barely remember what he said. That time he was a young city councilor of Makati. There was nothing impressive about him. I thought he sounded like any other politicians I’ve met before. I must have been very cynical then, perhaps, but I thought he was too young to sound like those politicians I’ve learned to distrust.
Whenever I see him being interviewed on TV these days, I found Junjun unimpressive and unreliable. Like his father, he appears to regard truth as an amorphous, fleeting, flexible concept, which he and other members of his family could mold to suit their purposes. I gained the impression that he is not deliberately lying (or maybe he is), but he fully had deluded himself into believing his own version of truth. And that is even scarier.
He’s a dangerous man.
I had dinner with a college friend the other night with our two other classmates – one who’s visiting Manila for a work-related conference and another who is reviewing for the bar exam – when our conversation over dinner went to the case of Vice President Binay. This classmate who’s writing news for a provincial paper argued that the Binays are wrongfully charged of corruption, or at least his daughter Nancy should be innocent. He hinted so many times that he’s established some sort of friendship with this senator who’s currently being pilloried. Of course, what’s with writing for a paper that proclaims itself to be the biggest daily in the Visayas. I argued that she can’t be that dumb not to know those shady deals made by her father.
This friend of mine with so much ire in his voice said/shouted: ‘Show me anyone who’s innocent.’
I almost fell from my seat.
I assumed his argument ran like this: Only in a country where everyone is innocent can plunderers or corrupt officials be put to jail. No one politician in the Philippines can be deemed innocent. Therefore, any calls for justice against the Binay is just so wrong.
And I kept quiet because it was a dinner not for a debate on politics but for a reunion with college friends that I had not seen for a while. But I cried from the inside because this friend cannot rightfully call himself a journalist, that at some point I felt ashamed for having a friend who thought like a moron. But I kept quiet because it wasn’t the right place to call a friend a moron in his face in front of two former classmates that I had not seen for years.
There is, after all, always a right place and time for everything.
Before I went to bed last night, I had conditioned myself to wake up at eleven today because today’s a Saturday. I wanted to make up for the lost hours of sleep this week. But breaking a habit is difficult, so at seven I was already making coffee and reading news online. From my table, I could hear the caged birds (they’re love birds, and so many of them) chirping from the nearby apartment.
I opened a box of Pepero and munched on these chocolate-covered pretzels. They’re my breakfast. It’s a drizzly morning. If it were a weekday, I’d be feeling down and bleak, but it’s the weekend, and except for taking my phone later to a service center in Ali Mall, my day is going to be free. No amount of drizzle will ruin it.
I’m spending two hours of my morning reading some poems. I want to do four today. Poems are a little tricky. They only manifest themselves after some painful extraction, but, if a poem is good, it’s worth all the bruises and cuts.
I think, this can be good life–a free morning, a cup of freshly-brewed coffee, a light breakfast, chirping birds, and Pablo Neruda.
I quit for a reason:
The freedom from it is refreshing.
For a guy in his 20s, adult moves include but are not limited to establishing a family, changing career path, going to law school, buying a car, giving up the city, or getting a mortgage. I’m doing the last.
One has to do an adult move at some point in his life because it is but normal doing so. Although the ‘normal’ here may be subject to some degree of disagreement among readers, to a certain degree, we all have an idea what normal is. And although it might be interesting to write a post on what constitutes normal, it is not the object of this post. Normal is that realm of security some of us would someday want to settle in.
And I cannot anymore pretend I am not one of the ‘some.’
A home loan means making sure that I must not default on my monthly payment, ever. It means I will have to work harder because I need to pay my monthly rent while paying my monthly amortization for the next two years until the turnover of the unit in 2016. It means I will have to postpone the purchase of that nice-fitting Zara coat I was meaning to buy for a friend’s wedding this weekend. It means moving some part of my savings to that other account that is solely for the monthly payment of my loan for cover if, God forbids, I run short of cash. It means cutting on my weekend eat-outs. It means not buying anything impulsively, bringing with me a list whenever I do my grocery. It means planning my vacations well and doing away with some, having, at most, one in a year.
Honestly, it’s a decision I made because I went tired of my sister’s constant goading to find a place for myself and my conscience telling me that I will not stay a marauding nomad for the rest of my life.
Perhaps, the normal has gone too tempting to resist as nothing can be more normal than finding that place one can call his.
It’s a bit scary, though. That idea of being tied to a place by a mortgage, at least for the next ten years or so scares me.
But of course, I got to do an adult move.
Our parents are visiting us for the weekend. The last time they were in Manila was thirty years ago. I found out while rummaging into my mother’s documents when I was ten that she and my father got married in Pasay in 1983. It must have felt odd for my mother who’s now 53 to see how much the nation’s capital has changed after all those years. And even more dizzying for my father. They will leave tomorrow evening for Baguio City with my younger brother. In the afternoon, my sister and I plan to take them to Quiapo to attend mass or maybe say a short prayer and Binondo for those delicious dumplings sold in that quaint hole-in-the-wall dimsum place I know.