A sojourn

By now I should already be in my warm room in Cornell sipping hot coffee, maybe sleeping, compensating for my lack of sleep after more than a day of journeying from Manila to New York, or probably daydreaming about my talk on Sunday. Instead, I’m now in a deserted bus terminal in Syracuse, shivering, waiting for a 3:30 am trip to Rochester, or just waiting to be mugged like how it is in the movies. From Rochester, if I get very lucky reaching it, I shall wait until 8 in the morning later for a bus bound for Ithaca.

This is the most recent misfortune in a string of misfortunes.

I left Manila on February 27 on an Emirates flight going to Dubai that had to layover there for 8 hours (!). I did not realize before purchasing the ticket that I would be spending eight hours figuring out the best way to position myself in those narrow airport seats attempting to sleep knowing fully well that I can only sleep horizontally.

At least this decision to take the Dubai route was something I feel could do nothing about. Since it’s the cheapest among my three options that time.

But.

I forgot to bring my suit which I carefully ironed the night before I left. This means I shall look like a naked banana on Sunday. Thank God I remember to stash a necktie in my shoe.

From Dubai, I was asked, and gladly said yes, to give up my seat for a family of three that wanted to be on the same row, then only to be seated next to an elderly Indian couple who seemed to be fighting each other over everything.

Did I say I spilled hot coffee on my crotch? And since it was too much of a hassle to request the couple to stop fighting for a moment and let me pass, I endured the pain of the heat and the later uncomfortable feeling of the soaking sticky liquid that’s beginning to dry up and stain my gray jeans.

As I am getting off from a shuttle at Port Authority in Manhattan from JFK, just when the van was speeding off, I found out that my pair of wayfarer were missing.

And now. Caught in this cold Greyhound bus station in Syracuse, many miles away from my real destination, I have no idea how to get to the next bus that will take me to Cornell. But I am feeling these misfortunes will soon end.

It’s cold. But at least I got this for a view.

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A wild turkey (or should I just drop the adjective wild?)

One gloomy morning, I saw this wild turkey a few feet from my window. And it’s here immortalized.

Simple sentences and fragments

I woke up very early, at 8. It was very cold. The first thing I did was to wash my face and brush my teeth. I gathered my whites and washed them at the basement. Then I went to the kitchen. There, my books and computer were waiting for me.

It was drizzling outside. A gloomy day. Rainy days vex my spirit.

I boiled some coffee. It would have been in a samovar. If I were in Russia. But I’m in America. So it’s a whistling kettle. Between a samovar and a whistling kettle. There is no competition. A samovar is poetry incarnate. A Whistling kettle is prose.

And how I detest conditionals.

I cooked a cup and a half of rice. I washed it first. Thrice of course. It should be that way. My mother said. The bag of rice was imported from Vietnam. It’s the best variety. A little sticky. Not too wet. Moderately soft. Bright white. My appetite wasn’t with me, though. I approached the table. Opened a book and read. I realized. It was already 10. I stared at the view outside. The falling rain water mesmerized me. I closed my eyes and said a short prayer.

                             

The prosaic whistling kettle announced the conclusion of its reason for being. I poured its briskly boiling content into my cup. Where’s the coffee maker? I seemed to have heard. In case you asked. It’s cracked.

I prefer my coffee black. It’s less fattening this way. I don’t like my coffee bitter, however. So today, it’s black. With a dash of Splenda. I’m already fed up with all the bitterness. Including the bitterness in my coffee. A little sweetness won’t hurt. I guess.

It rained the whole day. I stayed in. I was alone. Everyone left.

Two questions: negative capability

From a rumination while drinking beer on a hot afternoon:

It often comes rather late to an artist, writer, or to anyone who sees himself to be either or both, that the decision to be any (or both) is a disconcerting choice. In the end, consumers of an artistic production matter less because the production of a piece of art or writing anchors less on what the reader thinks than the artist’s. After all, the reader has long considered him dead, so might as well return the favor and do a piece of art or write as if the reader is as dead.

This graphic story by Linda Barry aptly captures this problem.

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My reflection in the the mirror

Since moving to this new house, I have been using the kitchen as my study area instead of my room upstairs. My bedroom feels too big, drab, stuffy, dark, and I have better internet connection here; the router (or however you call it) is directly an arm’s length from where I am seated now.

Tonight, for the first time, I noticed my countenance (such fancy word!) reflected in the glass window in front of me. I’ve gained weight since I arrived here. I consume on average 3000 calories every day and I hardly visit the gym because of my tight schedule in school and my homework that pile up faster than I can get rid of them. If not for the regular push-ups and ab crunches I do every 15 minutes, then for sure all those definitions I worked hard to achieve will give way to the flabs that take minimal effort to gain.

I also have grown my hair long since I cannot afford to part with my 15 dollars to pay the barber. This is the longest time I have gone without a haircut. I look odd; my head feels heavy. My unusually curly, more correctly, kinky, hair is beginning to take charge and dictate on me the rules of its daily upkeep. I spend more than ten agonizing minutes each day styling it and making sure it stays in this position during most part of the day.

I have also been growing mustache in order to look, I don’t know, sleek. And seriously mature. It’s itchy but I feel relieved it has not led to a pimple break-out so far. I suppose spring here helps. The air is dry so my skin remains dry the whole day; there’s much less dust hence the pores of my face are not clogged. The result, a much clearer skin.

I also want to add that diet may also play a crucial role. Vegetable and fruits are a staple in every meal.

I sounded vain in the previous three paragraphs or so. But it’s the fault of the glass window before me. I would never have been conscious had the table been placed somewhere. Now, it’s the table.

Man is one of the few creatures on this planet conscious of his existence and how this existence render changed and never-the-same-again everything and everyone around him.

This awareness, by the way, also changes him.

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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