Saturday, July 31, 2010

that of sleep

Saturday, July 31, 2010

“…just once let him sleep and come to his senses. He knew that this desire would not be fulfilled until the fight was fought to the bitter end, and the last dot put on the last “i”—and he knew, too, that each new duel would end in a new defeat and that there could be no possible doubt about the final result. Why, then, did he go on tormenting himself and letting himself be tormented, instead of giving up the lost battle, so as not to be wakened anymore? The idea of death had a long time ago lost any metaphysical character; it had a warm, tempting, bodily meaning—that of sleep.”
~ Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon, 1941

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Withdrawal

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The urge to write has not dissipated; there is simply nothing worth writing about lately. The ideas living in my mind all seem banal, superfluous and uninteresting. In these days when every mundanity is posted, twitted and blogged about, it feels refreshing to withdraw from the onslaught, even for just a while.

Monday, July 26, 2010

She was waiting, yes, but then what?

Monday, July 26, 2010

“…I’ll wait for you. Come back. The words were not meaningless, but they didn’t touch him now. It was clear enough—one person waiting for another was like an arithmetical sum, and just as empty of emotion. Waiting. Simply one person doing nothing, over time, while another approached. Waiting was a heavy word. He felt it pressing down, heavy as a greatcoat. Everyone in the cellar was waiting, everyone on the beach. She was waiting, yes, but then what? He tried to make her voice say the words, but it was his own he heard, just below the tread of his heart. He could not even form her face. He forced his thoughts toward the new situation, the one that was supposed to make him happy. The intricacies were lost to him, the urgency had died.”

~ Ian McEwan, Atonement, 2001

Friday, July 16, 2010

Earthquake, Hail and Thunderstorm

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mrs. Filomena Andres, our Ilocano-American teacher in sixth grade, was illustrating the heart’s right and left ventricles when the classroom began to shake. Rocked, jolted and jerked up and down, we all rushed to the door, desperate to get out of that old colonial school building. The short corridor seemed very long and the wide doorway awfully narrow when hundreds of us simultaneously tried to squeeze our bodies out. Fleeing headlong in panic, we stumbled and rolled over that short flight of stairs, frightened out of our wits. Finally reaching open air, we looked around and asked ourselves, what are we supposed to do now? The tremors persisted, and as though it could not get any worse, a violent hail and thunderstorm ensued. Amidst those stunned and tearful faces, I found my younger sister, who had been waiting for me in the school ground when the quake began. The relief I felt when I saw her was beyond all my words to express.

Classes resumed after two months. In makeshift plywood classrooms, with the condemned school building looming over us, we came close to—but never quite achieved—normalcy. After twenty years, how that earthquake felt-and how I felt then--remains fresh in my memory.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Relating

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Surrounded with chatter so unfamiliar it sounded like a babel of foreign languages, I sat there in silence, barely tasting the congee that sat in front of me. At break time, my colleagues usually talk about things that I cannot relate to – television shows I do not watch, movies I have never seen, music I cannot stand, ‘in’ places I have never been to and stuff I am not—and could never be--interested in. It is as if they inhabit an entirely different world from the one I live in, a world for those whose concerns are opposite to mine.

Wrapped in self-imposed obscurity, I sat there in silence, marveling at how effortless they relate with one another and wondering why I cannot.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Independent

Monday, July 12, 2010

Freed from parental leash since high school with nary an authority figure that would guide, shape or limit my thoughts and actions, I’ve always been free and independent. Without a child to be responsible for or a husband who always needs to be consulted and informed, I am free to make my own decisions. Utterly self-reliant, I can do what I want and when and how I want it.

Or so I thought.

Last week, while curled up in bed trying to endure the excruciating pain in my left ear and feeling sorry for myself, I wished for some presence I could depend on. To distract myself from the throbbing agony, I thought: wouldn’t it be nice if there’s someone to offer me comforting words, prepare me a bowl of soup, buy me pain reliever or take me to the hospital? Such thoughts eventually brought me more pain, so I got up from bed and did everything myself.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Anal

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

You are so anal that it baffles you why others are not. You hold them to standards that only the mighty can achieve. You forget that they are not simply traffic trying to keep up with you and your endless demands. A congenital pessimist, you perpetually expect things to go awry, and you do everything in your power to prevent it. It disquiets you when there are matters that fall beyond your purview of control or that do not fit in your small, organized world.

Perhaps when you finally comprehend that circumstances are fluid and inchoate you would quit asking unanswerable questions that only lead to more questions, and you would learn that silence, composed and deliberate, sounds better than your merciless vivisection.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Travel Wardrobe

Monday, July 5, 2010

Travel light – that’s what people always say. But when your itinerary includes temples, operas, rapids, museums, jungles, churches and beaches, how on earth can you pack light? Squeezing two-week’s worth of clothes--that are appropriate, comfortable yet still stylish--into a single suitcase is no mean feat. And clothes only make half of it, for each outfit is not complete without the right shoes and accessories: hiking shoes, trekking gear, sandals, hats, sunglasses, scarves, and the rest.

I wonder how people do it.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

the world changed while I slept

Sunday, July 4, 2010


"The world changed while I slept, and much to my surprise, no one had consulted me. That's how it would always be from that day forward. Of course, that's the way it had been all along. I just didn't know it until that morning. Surprise upon surprise: some good, some evil, most somewhere in between. And always without my consent."

~ Carlos Eire, Waiting for snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy, 2003
 
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