Sunning

Everyone left for the Memorial Day Celebration in Sturbridge so the house is all to myself today. It’s beautifully quiet. I accomplished the tasks I listed down the other night one by one in a leisurely manner. I took a shower at 9:30, came downstairs for breakfast of fried eggs and coffee, responded to several emails, and then read a few stories. From the windows, I saw there were birds squirrels, and chipmunks gleaning grains from the ground. The view was too tempting, I took my book and sunglasses and lay under the subtle hint of the sun.

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Bath

Filipinos are wont to say “I took a bath” instead of the more accurate “I took a shower.” They both mean the same to us, but there’s a slight difference, of course. Taking a shower means having running water falling from a shower head several inches above a person done usually to start the day or after a strenuous physical activity while taking a bath is submerging one’s body in a warm or cold water contained within a, what else, bath tub.

I have begun cultivating this desire for afternoon baths ever since I moved to Augustine house uphill. Though I am often stricken with a feeling of guilt whenever I am right in the middle of one of these, due maybe to my environmental stand and those pamphlets distributed before to high schoolers that warned us about the dangers of living a comfortable life that leads to climate change, scarcity of fresh water, and other negative impacts on the environment. It was repeatedly iterated to us that comfort is sinful, destructive, and immoral. I still vividly remember an illustration showing how many pails of water are saved when one’s using pail and dipper to take a shower compared with using either a shower head or a bath tub.

And whenever I deprived myself of the comforts of modern living, I felt good because in a way I knew I was doing my share in saving the environment. So instead of using to pails of water for my morning shower, I limited it to the barest minimum of a pail or, if I am too passionate about saving Mother Earth, half a pail.

It never occurred to me to question the rationale behind this thinking. How could a boy from an unknown part of a country in the backwaters of the world have an impact on the moves to save the environment, or save the world from man-made destruction by attempting to save a pail and a half of water? I had kept myself from enjoying the convenience modern technology has offered my generation because I thought that my little ways will in any way change the tide.

Here in the US, Americans do not heed all these calls for changing their ways and living in a sustainable way. Waste reflects consumption and the more one consumes the more highly it will reflect affluence, the cornerstone of the American dream. The more conspicuous is consumption, therefore the more waste is produced, the better upheld is this value.

I stood up from the shackles of the bathtub, washed myself with warm water, pat myself dry, and left the bathroom without looking back at the dirty water draining out of the ultimate symbol of American comfort.

For breakfast, granola and soya milk

Oh and coffee, too.

My mouth is reeking with protein now. Looking at the bowl with the disgusting mixture, I am reminded of that infant food my mother would force feed my younger sisters when she was weaning them from milk. I loved Cerelac at first, secretly eating them whenever she asked me to help feed them. But I eventually had nothing but disgust whenever I see a bowl of Cerelac when one day, due maybe to my intermittent fits of greed and gluttony, I ate the entire content of a 500g box of this infant food.

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I suffered badly after that. I vomited the whole day and endured severe headache for two straight days.

From then on, anything that looks and has the same consistency as a wet infant food sends shiver down my spine. And the one beside me right at this very moment I’m writing this post looks like it.

Half-smiles

I know. I know. This world is a sad one and my being sad now will not make it a little less sad. A sad company is still a sad company. It was raining today.

I went to school, did my perfunctory role as a student, listened attentively, and sometimes gave my opinions on matters that for me were not as pressing as, say, the current problems of the world such as hunger, wars, diseases, or the impeachment of the chief justice of my country. The pretentiousness of academic discourse. Everything after all is artificiality that mocks us in our face. This paragraph and the rest. All these are mirages.

I got out of the car and transferred to the seat in front. I forced myself to ask the priest some questions so he would not think I was some dumb Filipino who had no package of smart generalizations his kind usually carry around with them. I listened to his response to my inquisitiveness. It was one way. He never bothered to ask about me, what I like, what are my hobbies, what I think of him. I half expected it. I hate sounding like a child by asking stupid questions. Language has had endured too many brutalities and using it in order to drown silence was the basest insult one could hurl at it. It was still raining outside when he pulled over in front of the house I am staying. “Thank you, father, and you have a great afternoon,” I said to him with a forced smile.

From the side of my left eye I saw him returning the smile as forced as the one I gave.

I am thousand miles away from home, but it seems like I have not left. Travel has lost its appeal in me a long time ago since Google stripped the world off of all its mysteries.

When the only best thing to do is to shut up

Being in one’s 20s, he is deemed inexperienced, too green, a directionless chatterbox who loves hearing himself talk, etc. by those who already had enough of this stage. Regardless whether there is truth in the opinion of these more experienced group or it’s nothing but plain air is immaterial. What I believe, however, is that what these people with more ‘experience’ do not have is a sort of introspection about who they were and what they did when they were in their 20s. It saddens me how they resort to unfair tactics such as ‘you’re-too-young-to-know-what-you’re-saying,’ ‘been-there-done-that,’ kind of nonsense or some similar kinds of questionable lines of arguing.

If indeed these older generation’s methods worked, then why is the world where it is now? And it’s a very valid question I supposed.

Engaged (to be married)

Finally, after years of searching, and a year and a half of being together, we’ve come to a point when things have begun settling down. We have thought that since we’re both ‘not getting any younger’ then the only rational thing to do after is to be engaged and to direct all our individual plans toward a common goal: marriage and the life from here on.

Today, the 20th of May 2012, but I bet it was a bit earlier than this that we arrived at this decision, I declare myself engaged (to be married) to the person so perfect I’d be an ingrate if I’d ask for more.