Fallacy

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.

This world is lonely

This world is filled with so much loneliness. And the sad thing about loneliness is that everything that can be said about it has already been said and any attempt of anyone to come up with a unique articulation of it suffers the inevitable failure we familiarly call a cliche. And all cliches are detested.

Such is the sorry story of my dinner tonight that reminded me of humid nights spent alone in a room I rent in a staff house back in college.

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Such is the lonely image of my dinner that has to be filtered several times to create a tone, a tone of desolation to keep it in tune with the theme of today’s post.

Ha ha.

Sadness

I left UP in the afternoon after a grueling four-hour comprehensive exam. I was tired, drained, exhausted. This, together with all other life exercises, is deemed necessary in the life of a well functioning, sane individual in a sane society. Deemed necessary by whom? I cannot avoid the passive because I have no idea who deems it necessary.

At a certain point, when I was travelling home, I thought of escaping to the beach and watch the setting sun in the horizon turning yellow then orange to fiery red until nothing is left but a sad indigo hue.

bataan

I gulp another mugful of dark coffee.

Suddenly I feel that unmistakable feeling of sadness. For a long time, I almost thought I’d never feel this again. But I do, right now. And the even sadder thing is that I have no one to share this with.

It’s a bummer to be alone.

How I hate it whenever I begin to sound like a whining college student.

On the road

Amid frenzied reviewing for the comprehensive exams in grad school on Monday, I’m reading this. And the book makes the concepts and theories even more incomprehensible – and looking more closely, the question ‘what are all of these for?’ is too distracting to set aside.

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

On the Road, 1957

(from the writer who will endlessly remind me of a friend I lost.)

Kerouac

Compre, etc.

I am presently preparing for my comprehensive exams this September; this after finishing all my course work in two years. The thesis writing part, arguably the more challenging part of graduate school, will probably take as long, if not longer. I’ve braced myself for the long and grating tow ahead, but at times I catch myself feeling terrible at the prospect of years spent unproductively. I plan to proceed to law school right after I’m through with grad school, that’s if I still have enough energy and drive to go on schooling.

I spend most of my days now preparing for my classes in Ateneo and reviewing lessons and lecture notes from as far as two years ago. Often I read journal articles whose extreme academese irks me. But I need to tread on because there’s no way to go but on.

Life’s a little slower these days. I already ran out of reasons to feign being preoccupied. I can now truly savor reading papers of my students and appreciate attempts of each of them at writing elegantly and clearly. I quietly smile at their blunders and feel exceptionally happy if I see glimmer of hope that one day one or two of them can be great writers. In fact all of them can if they work harder and try some more. It’s difficult to teach writing. What makes it worthwhile, though, is my regular conversations with them in class. Yes, they’re more privileged than most Filipino youths but they’re like any regular Filipino youth. They dream. And they dream big.

Vacuum

I’ve been sitting in front of my computer for two hours now waiting for something to happen. Occasionally I would check mails, read some Facebook statuses of friends and other ‘friends’ I got no idea how we became friends, and browse random sites that eat up much of my time. I originally planned to spend this morning recording papers of my students, computing grades, and fixing drafts of grad school requirements due next week. But the web beckons with so much promise and invitation the little control I thought I have is of no match to this beautiful hole that sucks everything in, as it feeds on my time like a flesh-eating bacteria lurking on this part of my living room.

It’s a battle that’s waged in many fronts; in fact, I am currently thinking of the best strategy on how to escape this vacuum whose suction is too powerful I predict that I shall waste another precious hour staring at a broken pixel of my screen. Behind me is a stack of dirty dishes waiting to be washed and a bagful of a three-week worth of laundry waiting to be taken downstairs. And how stupid can I be for having allowed it to slip me that the laundry service will be closed until Monday next week? And, I need to mop the floor, dust the furniture, arrange my books, and drop by the library this afternoon to return 10 overdue books.

I have not done this for a long time–staring in front of my computer aware of the the fact that if I stayed here longer than necessary, I shall need to readjust all the other things, miss other appointments, and sacrifice the already little sleeping time I have doing those things I could have already finished had I been not too weak to resist this idleness.

But isn’t time only an abstraction? It’s not something that can be ‘wasted,’ is it? If I sit idly here for the whole day, it’s immaterial because I shall be given another set of inexhaustible time tomorrow (but isn’t the word tomorrow an admission that time is culturally material?). Can time  be given away? Funny how we view time this way as if it’s something that can be saved like money or a broken relationship. Funny how we view our time as a precious entity (so long as it’s our time), as if it’s a currency that can be exchanged. We all feel terrible when we “waste” time. But when we simplify all these abstractions, time will then be all about, in its most fundamental, being here and being dead the next moment.

Should we decide to use it on inconsequential matters–say doing what I mentioned a while ago, writing this post, or reading this post–have we really wasted time? I looked around and saw the rest of the day.

I cannot stay here.

Lecture

My professor extended her lecture until it felt to me staying in that room was beyond my ability to endure. She stretched her talk for 7 minutes. It was 8:07 in the evening. Every extra minute was an affront to decency. At that point, I wanted nothing but to go home, eat dinner, and sleep.

I’m tired.