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.

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Sunday night self-destructive thoughts

It’s probably because moments ago it was Sunday. It must have been the fear I have of Monday. Or the report I have not even started because I love screwing myself by procrastination, which, feels so good all the time, only for these undone work to haunt me in the middle of the week. But the reason isn’t in any of those I mentioned.

I’ve been unfamiliar with this emotion that I thought I had ceased feeling sadness. But I hadn’t. It took a hiatus only to surprise me tonight. And I saw myself laid bare, unable to protect myself from it. I slept, for two hours, only to wake up still with a lingering feeling of that utter, unexplainable bleeding inside. I attempted in vain to comprehend where it’s coming from. Is it solitude? Idleness? Or an emptiness that sprung from a void I’ve never bothered filling in.

I texted my mother several times, but she seemed to be preoccupied with her own concerns. I didn’t want to bother my brother. And my sister was dating a high school fling. I tried looking outside my small window, trying to find the reason for what I felt from the unflickering lights of the huge metropolis, but I felt emptier all the more. I leafed some pages of a borrowed book but I gave up as soon as the words started dancing erratically before me.

I am indulging far too much. And it is easy to do a free fall in this infinite pit of self-destructive sadness.

I will never be able to resolve this article just like the rest, those that were recently written. Because even if I try to convince myself that I left scot-free that, that I moved on after that break up, I am as bruised, as hurt. I guess one can never say ‘I was hurt more’ because in the end, getting hurt is a shared experience, but unlike love, it is selfishly kept. Pain, sadness, they are far more complex than any emotions there is.

But while they hurt us like hell, we can’t deny that inside, we somehow enjoy them. We love being miserable.

Procrastination

I got a journal to edit, a lecture to prepare, and a class to attend later. But I do not have the will to start working on anything. Because the thick paperback looks more tempting this time, my blog is shouting at me to be updated, and I feel like sipping a cup of hot coffee (after all, it’s a cold Thursday morning).

But:

Procrastination is like masturbation. At first it feels good, but in the end you’re only screwing yourself.


There’s something about Melanie

After two years of being away, the first time I entered JD Bake shop again on E. Lopez Street, I immediately looked for that familiar face behind the cash register.

http://exploreiloilo.com

I first saw her, in that same place, behind the cash register, six years ago when I was still a college freshman visiting my sister who was then studying in the city. My sister brought me to the place to have lunch as it was one of the least expensive places to eat for students like us. That moment I saw her I knew that there is something exceptional about her.

There is nothing special about her appearance. She looks unremarkable, if not altogether plain, if she stands side by side younger and prettier girls who are also working at JD as waitresses.

In an ordinary day, there are, at most, ten women who stand behind the counter, serve food, and wait for the customers at JD. These ten women are divided into two groups, those assigned in the ground floor and the level above it. She is assigned, in the upper floor. Most of these girls are unmarried, in their mid- or late twenties. They flirt around, walk a bit seductively, and give their male customers meaningful smiles. But not Melanie.

http://www.simondinnerstein.com

She seemed to be uninterested in this mundane pursuit for flings. I suspect she is married but I could not gather even a slight courage to inquire about her personal life. Although she looks like a caricature of an overwhelmed, overworked-underpaid Filipino worker, there is that air of dignity in her character, that sense of pride that will send anyone pitying her for the boring work she has, to shame.

She doesn’t look in the eyes when she asks for two-peso loose coins in exchange of giving you a 20-peso bill for your change. She doesn’t smile. And whenever she speaks, she makes use of her flat, monotone, unaccented, but slightly nasal Hiligaynon.

As it appears, she’s the oldest and the most experienced of the girls. At times, I heard her giving tips to the younger waitresses how to do things faster and more efficiently.

I know that I do not figure in her universe. Although I regularly eat at the place, I’ve never seen her, not even once, looking to my direction, or unwittingly looking at me in the eyes. Our paths never converged except for those brief moments when I stand in front of her to hand her my money, and she asking for loose two-peso coins so she could give me a twenty-peso bill for my change.

But she seems to play a role in my life more than being a cashier of the diner I always go to. Soon I’ll find out. There are people who touch our lives without them being aware of it. There are those who silently do what they are supposed to do but inadvertently doing more. Melanie is one of those.

The next time you happen to pass by JD on E.Lopez Street in Lapaz, look for a girl whose name is Melanie. Who knows, she’ll make you see things differently this time?

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I saw this in the net, and love it. It’s entitled ‘Procrastination’. Speaks for me.