Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Am still alive aren’t I?

1.

I woke up with a terrible toothache. It all started from there. From this rotting tooth, which has been bugging me on and off for several months now. Of course I couldn’t help but think of Raskolnikov. I wasn’t only psychologically and emotionally in pain, I was, damn it, also disintegrating physically. This has been my thinking ever since the year kicked in: My life as I know it is over. Over!

And so I woke up with this toothache and the physical pain soon turned into an emotional one when I saw that the guy I’m currently infatuated with hasn’t sent a text message. I knew then I was off to a rocky start. But first, of course, something has to be done with the toothache. My plan was to have the tooth extracted. I wanted it out of my fucking life. Ganun lang naman dib a? If something is causing us pain then we should simply take it out. But the dentist, after seeing how swollen my gums were, said: Nope, no can do. Apparently I have to live with it until the swelling subsides.  On the upside, I get to snack on painkillers for the entire week. What really bothered me, however, was the diagnosis. The swelling, it turns out, was caused by my waning immune system. And my god, my immune system hasn’t been so hot lately. In fact, ever since the year started I’ve been sick several times and have grown considerably thin. Although there are legit factors as to why I’ve gotten scary thin. For one, I run every day, and two, until recently I was on a strict diet. But then, yes, given my improprieties in the past several months I’ll have to be stupid not to worry. I was panicking internally. Have I finally gotten it?

Several people have told me to get tested. I knew I had to. For the last three months I had this suspicion that I’ve finally had it. There was even a moment early one morning when I woke up totally convinced that I’m sick. I was sweating and I kept lighting one cig after the other and pacing around the apartment muttering incomprehensible words while thinking of my imminent doom. Finally I sat down and admitted to myself that at 36 I still needed to be parented. Even at my age I needed adult supervision. Yes, I lost my marbles that morning.

But I can’t get tested, I would always argue to myself. I have begun to be emotionally invested with someone and the mere thought of telling the guy that I am infected scared me no end. I wouldn’t be able to do it without breaking down. I’m not even sure if I could handle the result if things didn’t go well. I might kill myself. I might just finally go berserk for real. I definitely wouldn’t be able to handle it, not with this kind of year, not when I’m having a terrible day. But the trip to the dentist had already set off a series of paranoid thoughts and as luck would have it I had an entire afternoon free. Alam kong masisiraan ako ng ulo sa kaka-isip so fuck it, I thought, let’s do it!

But I wasn’t prepared, not by a long shot. I was scared shitless. Even before I had stepped into the clinic, I was already breaking down. I walked around the mall vacillating if I really should do it or not. I kept thinking: What if? What if? What if I’ve been infected? What will I do? Could I even handle it? What about the people I’ve been with? Should I tell them? What on earth should I tell them? That sorry I fucked up and you’re one of my casualties?

I paced around the mall with my mind running in several directions when --- Bam! --- I bumped into, well, Bam, who is a very dear friend. He doesn’t visit this particular mall but on this faithful afternoon, just as when I was so lost, we found each other in its decrepit corridors. And his presence brought me relief, sort of. Apparently, I needed a friend that afternoon. I dragged Bam to the nearest cafe and with my frayed nerves told him my plans. He had this serious look on him and he said: “Do it. Do it now.” I don’t know why but knowing that there was one soul on this miserable earth who knew my predicament made me braver. And I just knew the moment I saw him that I had to do it. I had to get tested, now.

2.

The afternoon was already over and the clinic was almost empty except for the nurses and this cute guy who I assumed was also getting tested. After taking my blood pressure I was made to wait and so I started reading a book. While reading though I kept my eyes on my surroundings and I kept seeing this gay nurse. I sort of wished that he wouldn’t be the one to counsel me because I needed eye candy for this situation. I wanted a cute counsellor to divert my growing fear. But faith, apparently, wasn’t on my side that afternoon because I eventually found myself sharing a cubicle with him, with me telling the gay nurse the nitty-gritty details of my sexual history. It was at that moment when I realized that despite having an open mind I still had a few prejudices. And my prejudice was directed at him. He wasn’t straight-acting. He had make-up on and the uniform he wore had a woman’s silhouette. I have nothing against transguys but I thought that he wouldn’t be able to relate to my story. The counselling wouldn’t be effective because I thought we lead totally different sexual lives. But eventually though I would realize how stupid and wrong I was.

As usual I tuned out during the lecture. Instead, in my mind’s eye, I was framing the nurse in a shot. He was discussing about repercussions while I, imagining him in the middle of the frame, was seeing a man with a huge window behind him and beyond the window a noisy train running across the tracks. Perhaps the train could mean a transition? A literal visualization of how I am moving from point A to point B. I only found myself focusing on the guy (the camera zooming in) when he said that the results might be inconclusive. I thought that in the event that the result turn out positive I could hold on to that piece of information for hope. Though I was generally nice to the nurse, deep inside I knew I was being a pompous ass.

3.

And then they had to get a blood sample. Usually, I’m scared shitless of needles. The only time when I’m not frightened of it is when... well, never mind. But of course I survived the ordeal without fainting and of course I was made to wait again. Having to wait for tests like these is excruciating. This small pocket of time is mostly wasted on anxious thoughts and grand declarations of sins and desperate prayers of absolutions from one’s god. I, for one, ditched Sartre for a bit and talked to my personal god, who I’ve known to have a terrible sense of humor. I felt that I was at a crossroad and curiously enough I haughtily thought that somehow I had a choice in the outcome. I really did. If only I could be really sure that I wanted to have my life as it is then I would have it. But if, in a fit of rebellion, I decided to fuck it let me know how this story ends then my personal god would give me the ending that I wanted. Out of fear though, I begged to be spared. Even if, as Saint Teresa once said, more tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones I pleaded my god to give it to me this time. Just this time, let me have a lucky moment. The cute guy was finally called in and in a few seconds came out with this big cute smile. Fuck! If I came out of that door with a reactive slip I would definitely do a Dolzura Cortez on them (“Diyos ka ba? Ikaw ban a nagbigay ng buhay sa akin? Sino ka ba? ... Ayoko pang mamatay!”).

When I started walking towards the room I still wasn’t sure of the outcome. Normally, I’d have this instinct, this feeling that somehow everything will be okay but at that moment I had nothing. I felt that it was up in the air. Parang Russian Roulette lang! My heart began doing summersaults. My limbs were almost non-existent. Outside the train continued to cross the line. Inside, I was a fucking mess. The gay nurse started talking about precautions in the event that I am, indeed positive. Yada, yada, yada... I wasn’t paying attention until he said are you ready? Yes, just like a game show host but this time I know I’m not to win big bucks but if things turn out well I do get to have my life back. And it was...

Fuck it, non-reactive!

The gay nurse leaned towards me and sheepishly asked: “Are you happy?” He himself looked relieved. Yes, I was fucking wrong. It didn’t matter if we led different lives or didn’t date the same set of guys. In fact, it was a bonus that he was a gay guy like me because at that moment I knew that he understood me all along. We were one and the same and I was just lucky that he was as compassionate and as patient as he was.

I looked at the piece of paper and I started to grin. And the grin turned into this big fucking smile. I was relieved. I was fucking relieved big time. And I started searching for the nurse’s name on the paper because I wanted to thank him. I wanted him to know that I appreciate his help and his kindness. And so I said:

“Thank you Deville.”

“Ay,” he said, totally surprised. “Hindi Devile ang name ko!”

Ahhhh... no wonder his name sounded weird. His name, apparently, was Divine. Talk about signs heh? And Divine, thank you so, so much for the help. I apologize for being such a pompous ass.

Divine ushered me out and asked if I wanted condoms. Man, I grabbed as many as I could but of course I wouldn’t be using them anytime soon. I think my libido just committed suicide.

3.

When I got out of the clinic I had the sudden urge to smoke an entire pack (so para next time, lung cancer naman ‘di ba?). I went inside a 7-11 outlet and saw this cute guy. When I got out I saw another cute one. Suddenly the entire Quezon City was filled with beautiful, desirable men! But sorry guys, I think I’ll enjoy my new life first. And yes, I sort of consider this as another shot at life. I’ve been unbelievably careless before but now baby I’ll live by Freud’s Reality Principle. My id will now have to take a back seat because damn it I still have a movie to make.

Note: And yes, after writing this kumanta ako ng “Dahil Mahal Kita.”


Monday, July 21, 2014

After the storm


Sounds like a Haruki Murakami novel, no? The title I mean, parang After the Quake lang, only I haven’t read that book and the storm in this case has been, well, less catastrophic compared to Yolanda and Milenyo, which is good. I have just finished Baby Cakes though, Armistead Maupin’s continuing saga of the residents of Barbary Lane. I remember liking Tales of the City and so I signed up for this one as well. It’s actually light and a little bit predictable, perfect for those long rides to Ortigas and back. Last night, I was on a bus trying to read its last few pages. Traffic was surprisingly breezy despite the incoming storm. I was feeling shitty and defeated because we had to wait for our salary to be released until 6pm and because, well, I’m currently into this guy who’s being ambivalent about my not-so-subtle declarations of love. To be honest, it’s more of the latter rather than the former. And so I felt like a big loser. I am 36 years old, barely making ends meet, I haven’t done anything of significance and to top it all off I’m chasing after this young man to be my --- what? --- source of happiness? I looked outside where streaks of rain have violently started coming down. Inside, the harsh white light fell cold on our faces and on the radio Peter Frampton was singing that song that I’ve always secretly liked. My heart was sinking and I was staring at people’s faces, poor, ragged faces just like mine, and felt like a total loser. But then I thought how can I feel defeated when I’m still breathing. I’m still alive, aren’t I? (To which, my suicidal other self quipped: Not for long, old man!)

Today I woke up at seven and sat with the dogs to watch Glenda surge through the city. Water came in torrents --- sheet upon sheet of blurry whiteness came down as the trees swayed ferociously. Maybe I could find meaning in all of these, I thought. A metaphor perhaps that could help me realize something which will lead to an Aha! Moment. I recently read an article about the difference between being sad and being depressed. Sad people find meaning in the face of tragedy. Depressed people, on the other hand, can’t see any meaning in anything. To them, everything is meaningless and hopeless. I stare once again at the rain and I felt nothing. I felt dead inside. I sent a text message to the guy but received nothing in return (which is understandable, the city has been without electricity for almost 24 hours. Bumabagyo na nga bakla, ume-emote ka pa!)

Later as I was walking around Cubao I ran into a former officemate, a gay guy who traded the gay lifestyle for a wife and a kid. In fact he was with the wife and son when I bumped into him. Lately I’ve been bumping into people from my past. Two weeks ago, I was talking to a former boyfriend (who I’m glad have found new love!) via Facebook. I bumped into my other former boyfriend on Saturday when I went out to get load. That same day I was at the mall when I received a text from someone I once slept with. He saw me at the mall daw but was surprised that I didn’t bother to say hi. Of course, I didn’t even know who he was. Sunday, I saw a guy I used to hook up with in a cafe with his former wife and daughters. Wednesday, I was having my daily morning jog when this guy suddenly called my name. Again, I don’t have the faintest idea who the guy was. And yes, again, I struggled to find meaning in all of these. Maybe I am just waking up after a very long sleep. Sabihin na nating binaklang Sleeping Beauty ang peg. Only I’m hardly a beauty because the booze and cigarettes and all that (funky) jazz had permanently “monsterized” my fez. That or it’s time to get another HIV test. 

Now I feel old but hardly enlightened. My heart has already been kicked around more often than a soccer ball at the World Cup and, damn it, I haven’t even made a goal. On some days I wake up and go for a jog and I head to the office with sunshine beaming out of my heart. On most days however especially at dusk it’s Glenda all over again. But, as the guy I’m currently infatuated with constantly tells me, I have to keep on looking at the bright side of life. Alam ko naman ‘yan eh but coming from him it seems to mean something. Maybe we are meant to be no? Or maybe I just need a good psychiatrist who is also tall, dusky, and cute?



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

the cock song


Kalokohan at kalandian on a cold, lonely Wednesday night (haha!).


The thought of a seven-inch cock is making me very, very lonely
Because honey, oh dear! I haven’t been getting laid lately!
But I haven’t forgotten, mind you girls
How I used to make guys’ toes curl
Oh what a sight to behold
When those little turnips go hard to hold
The bulb-like head that gets almost red when they cum
And how quickly it deflates when they’re done
Blame it on the weather, I guess
Your ate has just been awfully depressed
And honestly all this talk of cock is making me gag
Is this what we’re supposed to do because we’re a fag?
Really honey, I’d rather be a hag
And yes, I confess a certain boy is making me feel like a rag
Hay, who am I fooling?
When it is the man and not the cock that I am missing
The hell with fucking!
Once I’ve tasted the sweet cum of loving
Tragically, he becomes my everything!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mrs. Parker and her razor sharp wit



I don’t remember how or when I became aware of writer Dorothy Parker. I don’t even remember reading anything by her. I did, however, read something about the writer on Vanity Fair. Perhaps I discovered her back when I was reading about these literary groupings in the past (Beatniks, Angry Young Men, Bloomsbury Group, etc.). And of course I did try to watch Alan Parker’s Dorothy Parker and the Vicious Circle but Jennifer Jason Leigh was mumbling her lines and if one is portraying a woman famous for her wit we, the viewers, should understand what she’s saying, tama ba? I came across this interview with Dorothy Parker today on Paris Review and I thought it was funny, entertaining and the woman makes so much sense. She’s such a character that she jumps right off the page (or screen or whatever). And yes, if this interview is any proof, her wit remained razor sharp even after she had left the Algonquin Round Table.

On being expelled from convent school:
“But as for helping me in the outside world, the convent taught me only that if you spit on a pencil eraser it will erase ink. And I remember the smell of oilcloth, the smell of nuns’ garb. I was fired from there, finally, for a lot of things, among them my insistence that the Immaculate Conception was spontaneous combustion.

On living comfortably while being a writer:

“The people who lived and wrote well in the twenties were comfortable and easy living. They were able to find stories and novels, and good ones, in conflicts that came out of two million dollars a year, not a garret. As for me, I’d like to have money. And I’d like to be a good writer. These two can come together, and I hope they will, but if that’s too adorable, I’d rather have money. I hate almost all rich people, but I think I’d be darling at it. At the moment, however, I like to think of Maurice Baring’s remark: “If you would know what the Lord God thinks of money, you have only to look at those to whom he gives it.” I realize that’s not much help when the wolf comes scratching at the door, but it’s a comfort.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

undateable

Oh my god, I super love Frances Ha. I’ve been taking my sweet time in seeing this one but damn it I’m glad I saw it tonight. I’ve been having a crappy night and I needed something to, um, cheer me up at least. It’s about this girl, a dancer, named Frances, who is 27 years old, who still doesn’t have her shit together. I can’t write lucidly about it now because I’m drunk but then it’s actually a simple movie. That’s it, Frances can’t get her shit together but by the end of the movie she sort of does. And I love the dialogues particularly this one:

“It's that thing when you're with someone, and you love them and they know it, and they love you and you know it... but it's a party... and you're both talking to other people, and you're laughing and shining... and you look across the room and catch each other's eyes... but - but not because you're possessive, or it's precisely sexual... but because... that is your person in this life. And it's funny and sad, but only because this life will end, and it's this secret world that exists right there in public, unnoticed, that no one else knows about. It's sort of like how they say that other dimensions exist all around us, but we don't have the ability to perceive them. That's - That's what I want out of a relationship. Or just life, I guess.

And by the end of the movie France’s wish actually happens but not in the way that I had presumed. But she does have this great sexual chemistry with this guy, a former housemate, Benji, who always tells her that she’s un-dateable. Watching the apartment scenes made me wish I was living on my own right now and not back at my mother’s house. God, I miss being on my own. The best dialogue for me though was this:

“I think it's a great day. I ate an egg bagel that Lev's slut made me. I internet-acquired three pairs of very rare Ray Bans. I'm doing awesome.” – Benji.

Uh, it doesn’t work pala without the actual scene because he was being sarcastic when he said this. I wish I had a Benji right now. Someone who would kid that I’m un-dateable but deep inside wants to date me constantly. Such is life. 







Tuesday, June 17, 2014

rilke says wait lang

1.

8.30am. i fell asleep when we somewhere in timog. i remember my seatmate then was a guy who i wished was cute sana. there were a few cute men i saw on the bus who for a moment i thought would take the seat beside me. but no even they shun me at this godawful hour. must be my scowl? nang magising ako nasa cubao palang kami at babae na ang katabi ko. she's sleeping as well and something's telling me it might be you was playing on the radio. na-depressed ako. the situation could be a start of a romcom and i was sharing the moment with a girl. when i got in a cab in ortigas an hour later my favorite jonalyn viray song came on the radio. naalala ko tuloy si dennis, crying oh so cutely without any tears habang sinusunog niya ang pictures nila ni tom. what is up with today? i feel like i'm living out someone else's love life. 

but that's good right? at least im not the one personally pining. 

2.

11am. bill murray says that you have to live the moment. Be alive and learn to be always present so you could enjoy life. but i say maybe sometimes it's okay not to. it’s okay to just waste a few seconds, minutes, hours, days perhaps? i mean, it's difficult to be always in the moment. that's hard. but sometimes i try. i pour coffee and watch the thick black liquid swirl inside my small cup. i watch as tiny black bubbles form in the middle while steam rises. i look at the metal cup, at the wooden table and wonder wow am i living the moment? no, i'm just staring into my cup. 

3.

1.30pm. “I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. “ - rainer maria rilke 

Yeah, to me this makes total sense. I get it Rainer. Thank you.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

Time to take out the corduroys and the flannel shirts and Doc Marten boots


I just had a long day. Well, not naman that long but I had to wake up early to go the office. The vehicles were stuck somewhere in Edsa and I had to haul myself up to the MRT station just so I could arrive in Ortigas before the boss does. Mrt in the morning. Oh god, I just can’t deal with it. I just can’t. And I’m sure neither can you. But damn it, we live in a country where there’s too much inefficiency and corruption and utter stupidity that our brains had already turned into mush no? At the office I spent the whole day struggling to piece together words to create a cumulative effect. Sometimes when I stare at my own words long enough I start to see abstract shapes that would probably only make sense if something is unlocked in the brain. I actually like what I’m doing. Earlier during a yosi break I started thinking of going back to print full time. It didn’t help that I was thinking of this someone and his face kept ping-ponging inside my head, making me eat my cuticles. As the afternoon wore on, however, my TV work began to intrude. I had a scheduled afternoon meeting in Timog only I couldn’t be there because I had no energy to go up to the boss and tell her that I’d be leaving early. Finally I did get to Timog way after the meeting’s done and was able to talk to my other boss about the episode. It’s basically same old same old. Nothing exciting there. Maybe when I sit down to write the script there’ll be some excitement. But not now. Now, I’m just tired and a little bit lost. I’m neither here or there. So as I download the season finale of Game of Thrones I found myself listening to Chemical Romance which eventually led me to Pearl Jam and REM. Suddenly I wanted to go out. I wanted to listen to a rock band and drink. Just relax. At first I thought it was probably because I was tired and that I desperately needed to unwind. But soon I realized it was because I was angry. I was angry because the day had been long and all these hassles were making me very lonely. Someone called also, inviting me for something that I no longer do. I don’t do anything these days and so far I’m happy with my decision. I’m a bit saner, a bit healthier, and yes I could now sit in a cafe and not think that I should be doing something else. I’m calmer. But tonight though, tonight, I wanted to rock out. I wanted to get out of my system this tug and pull, this inis at life that’s silently eating me. I wanted to release something, burn this negative emotion, turn it into sweat and tears and bask in diluted happiness and let everything pass just so I could sleep soundly tonight and start all over again tomorrow. June 16, 2014







  

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quezon city, Philippines

i survived this