A proclivity for the mundane

One is often left to wonder what has become of our world today. We are all parts of a system that goads us to look at the ‘bigger picture’ but often we end up nitpicking about the most banausic of topics and non-issue. Most of the time, our nonchalance in the face of most events occurring before us is rivaled only by our passion for the least germane aspects of the issue at hand. What is worse is that more often than not, the issues we chose to get ourselves involved in are those that matter to no one, not even to us, but which we chose to get involved in still because in this age not being a part of a fight, not being a member of an advocacy group, not being driven by something, not having an opinion on something are tantamount to letting go to waste the freedom we are supposed to be enjoying, for not doing so is an unforgivable ingratitude.

And so we’ll fill any space imaginable with all the refuse our minds happen to contain. The internet has become an open dump site for all the trash we cannot afford to bleed into our reality, but, as is inevitable, this bloody business we are a part of is hemorrhaging freely into the material world, all for the sake of the ‘freedom (of speech)’ which we all feel we’re entitled to. It’s not whether what we say is inspired by some noble motive or that it’s a product of careful thinking, the more pressing question for us is whether we have something to say right at this moment. And there is where the peril lies.

This is how we cope with the gnawing insignificance the world is making all of us feel, but which none of us will whole-heartedly admit; this is a very human response to something as dehumanizing as living in this point of our present. It is perfectly human.

When we’re confronted with the uncertain, we talk endlessly, in gibberish, to drown any suspicion that this reality is a mirage. And so, to remind us of our corporeality, we talk, using a language only we can decipher. And the others, yes, they’re our conspirators. Of course, they also talk using a language, theirs, but certainly not our language. And, we talk, mimetically. What is interesting, however, is that there is a semblance of comprehension, a constructed reality existing in a vacuum, a phantasm perhaps, deluding us into thinking that communication has occurred when in fact what has only transpired is a useless exchange of meaningless but intelligent-sounding, grammatically correct, syntactically appropriate arrangement of words we all refer to as our opinion. Verbalizing this is the be-all and end-all of talk. After all, this is a time of unbridled liberty, where one man’s rubbish is as significant and as worthy of our precious little time as the other man’s puke.

A romance with public toilets

My job this summer requires me to travel to different places every day. It means waking up before five in the morning if I have to go as far as Batangas or just before six if my destination is to the nearby province of Cavite or Quezon City. Although traveling to these places puts on me an unimaginable level of stress, the pay compensates for all the hassles so much so that I am willing to give up little comforts such as having extra hours of sleep, eating my breakfast of corned beef and sunny side-up eggs, and a nice time spent sitting on that ceramic throne while reading yesterday’s paper.

The first two I am willing to let go. But my affinity to the third morning habit in the list has become too strong that I felt evolution had hard-wired it to me with such exaggerated gusto that it is impossible for me to vary the routine.


I wake up every day with a hope that my body has finally coped with my changed schedule of two months, that it will rid itself of harmful waste bound to poison it, and that it will do this fifteen minutes after I wake up, but to no avail. I’ve already done everything my resources can allow like increasing my fiber intake, drinking lots of fluids, even meditation, but none seems to work.

So I leave for work downtrodden and distraught at the feeling that I have not been successful in taking full control of my own body. But what is more distressful is the idea that my body mocks me and plays with my vulnerability.

Right after the first gush of frigid blows from the bus air-con hit my skin, the world begins to take a different hue and a more sinister character. I automatically become a different man oblivious of anything but the odd feeling in my mid-section. Coupled with my rich imagination I conjure images in my mind that are too vulgar to be written here.

That evolutionary mechanism I’ve been hopelessly summoning an hour ago while in the bathroom makes its presence felt right when I need it the least.

Modern societies do not think of this bodily process an apt topic for writing much less for a meaningful conversation unless the involved parties are doctors of internal medicine or philosophers in search of the best analogy for life. In fact, in some cultures, this subject is taboo that members have to devise euphemism if only to cover up for the ‘unmentionable’, which explains the overuse of pronouns to take the place of this unwanted antecedent.

Because of the torturous feeling and indescribable angst, these moments of helplessness might have given the world’s most notorious terrorists and suicide bombers the most ingenious plans and ideas in materializing their plans to change the world in however they deemed appropriate when they were right in the middle of the endeavor. Any normal human being will think of the worst things about mankind in general if confronted with this dire situation.

As in all things, succumbing to the powerful pull of gravity can be the only way to go. With no choice left but to find the nearest encampment, I would pretend to be an innocent customer of a diner, eat my breakfast meal as fast as I can, and head to the safest place, my enclave.

There I passionately evacuate all my fears, hopes, aspiration, shame, pride, lust, (you may complete the list of the seven deadly sins here) down the sucking vortex of nothingness. There I feel that I am indeed a free individual who can do whatever he wants, uninhibited by any external force that will curtail his much valued liberty and pursuit of his personal happiness.

However the fragility of the supposed freedom disturbs me. The fact that I have to conduct my search in such clandestine a manner makes me question the fundamental grounds where this freedom rests.

If I look at defecation and public toilets in the perspective of romance, of love, then things are bound to change. Liberty is a shaky business, but romance isn’t.

I am beginning to love public toilets because they may not give me a clean welcome but they allow me to trust them.

Clandestine or not, they willingly open themselves to me. There is no challenge so big and so insurmountable that they cannot handle. Had I been a philosopher, it wouldn’t have taken me long to find the perfect analogy for existence, love, and life. I would have easily found this comparison in the whiteness and coldness of the porcelain seats in public toilets. They are perpetually forgiving  and do not keep grudges. They unconditionally forget the shortcomings done to them. And they love as unconditionally.