I cringe every time I see a spike in my Stats. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it usually means that one curious cat got a tad too curious and decided to dig through my dusty archives.
Which is fine, actually. It’s dope. It proves that some people still find this space interesting and it makes me feel a little less alone (shet ang lungkot ko naman?). On the flip side, however, it also means that these people get to see more of my shortcomings as a writer. Exhibit A: my “very sad and very poor” grasp of the English language.
I’m aware of it, and I’m trying to be better at it. My about page says it all: please feel free to judge my grammar mistakes. I apologize for the lapses; I apologize for making y’all cringe.
Now let me digress a little and say that it’s been freezing cold out here. The temperature has been dipping down to -35 ‘C and the roads have been covered in bumpy, slippery ice. I just bought new winter tires in December and my car still skids every three meters or so. Hay, winter.
I used to think that if the Philippines were located closer to the poles, maybe the government would pay more attention to its housing services. Anyone who doesn’t have access to a sufficiently insulated room in the winter will certainly die a Little-Match-Girl death. And with the country’s current urban housing situation, a Philippine winter could spell death for at least half of the metro’s work force.
But soon I realized that, for a country that suffers through typhoons multiple times a year, the Philippines somehow still fails to streamline an efficient (i.e. zero-fatality?) response to these disasters. I know we have scientists and techs who are working on it. I’m aware there are people from non-profit groups who are helping out. I guess what I’m getting at is, snow or no-snow, it probably wouldn’t matter anyway. The people who can afford central heating systems in their mansions wouldn’t care either way.
And since I’m already getting a little discursive in this post (as with most things in this blog), I might as well mention that a few days back, I got a surprise video call from my high school friends. They had a sleepover in D’s place and when they woke up, they figured I’d already be home from work so they phoned me.
It was nice talking to them, of course. D is about to finish med school (she majored in Fine Arts, graduated magna cum laude); G plans to go to an arts fellowship in Indonesia (she’s also an FA girl, also magna cum laude); and R is working on a project for a Mindanao-based non-profit (she was in Art Studies and, yes, also magna cum laude).
So these are the type of people they’ve become, and I suppose y’all would understand if I share that I felt a little distant while talking to them. When we were kids we talked about how “weird” it would be to work from 8 to 5 and to be in somebody else’s employ. Somehow all of them ended up doing the things we once dreamed of — they’re now artists who matter, still as ambitious as when we were 13.
I’m not begging for a pat on the back here, kids. I learned early on (thanks to my good friend Frances Ha, charot) that art and passion — sometimes you need a little cushion of privilege to pursue them. My friends are smart and talented, and to say so is already an understatement on its own. They’re that good. But they’re also from well-to-do families, they were never forced to be this-or-that, and they all grew up in households that supported whatever it was they wanted to pursue. They’re just awesome people, and for someone like me to be a part of their lives is a huge mystery that isn’t worth solving. Right?
And I’m doing fine myself, I think. I’ve done a few things that are worth some merit in this merit-crazy world, and my decision to pivot towards a STEM career has so far proven to be a good one. The four years I spent in engineering have maimed my self-esteem, but not once did I ever seriously consider quitting. I see myself growing in this profession, and to be able to say this when almost a decade ago I was so close to failing Math 1 (opo, hindi Math 17, Math 1 lang talaga) — baks, I didn’t just go inside that Room for Improvement. I fucking renovated it.
The only thing that’s pulling me down is the fact that I’m here, that I’m far from everything and from everyone. But I will deal with this later. I know in my heart (charot) that this isn’t bound to last forever (not charot).
The featured image was patterned after the works of Kasiq, a Korea-based fashion illustrator. And because I’m feelingera and I want to give this “piece” a title, I came up with two options: A) Spaghetti Pababa / Spaghetti Pataas or B) Ulong Pugot Nanlalagot. Pili kayo, charot.