Saccharine Irony

This site is a compilation of fluid thoughts, a collection of poetry, random glimpses of humor and tragedy, spontaneous notions of an extremely sensitive mind.

Quarter of a Century October 30, 2007

Filed under: Events,Sarcasm — Aimee @ 3:52 pm
Tags: ,

180px-birthday_candles.jpg 11:15 a.m.

So today is my birthday. An hour from now, I’ll hear the noontime mass at the cathedral with Mom and Chad, and maybe go to the salon for a haircut after lunch. My boss just has sent me an SMS this morning saying that I might be one of the office people soon to be assigned at Pasay City, Metro Manila, if I am willing. If not, I’ll probably end up jobless by the end of this year, which means I have to start packing my stuff very soon, and sending out resumes, and to relive again the entire job hunting rounds.

I have to admit that for a few minutes, I was overrun with emotions and actually started to cry. I mean, working so hard for something and then getting told that I won’t actually reap the rewards in the end is not a very easy situation to handle. If I would begin to recall those days when I had wanted so bad to leave but never got around to it, I’d be doing drama for an entire day on my birthday. But very quickly enough, while I was in the middle of my bath, I snapped out of it and began to realize that things could not be so freaking awful. I just turned twenty-five, quarter of a century old, today, and I have always told myself that when I reach this age, I have to make the decision on sticking to my current career or finding something else that really makes me deliriously happy. So now that the day is here, I should be celebrating because I’m still around to actually take control of matters finally, for the first time in my play-it-safe life.

Now, the choices face me upfront. I could go back home and apply for a banking job or maybe even a teaching stint at the university. And when I have a steady, decent, paycheck enroll myself in grad school, take up creative writing and/or masters in business, or enroll in a cooking school and finish culinary arts. Creative writing and cooking are two of my most cherished occupations and if I would get to do both every single day in the near future, then that would be my good karma.

Or hilariously, I could choose to get married and pro-create a dozen children. Not that I find a housewife kind of life generally appealing, but planting roses in my garden and cooking dinner for a big family sounds tempting enough. However, I can’t stand wailing, snot-nosed children, and a house in pathetic disarray, and a husband who comes home late reeking of alcohol. And besides, no one has gotten down on one knee and made a proposal to me just yet; it’s merely that I usually get too run away with my thoughts when I’m trying to be happy.

Even more riotously, I can choose to hibernate at home, jobless and bored, and be a burden to the rest of my family. I am very useful in walking the dog, washing the dishes, and cooking a decent dinner. Maybe I can just accept laundry services from the neighbors and be a labandera. Or look after a snot-nosed toddler and be a yaya. I can just imagine the look of horror on my mother’s face when she’d realize that the most rapacious reader in the house, the English-language loving student, the one her amigas thought to be clever and bright and most likely to succeed, has condescended to be thoroughly domesticated and apathetic, as if she no longer has any choice left.

I just wonder, when will I ever wake up from this nightmare? Because so long as I don’t wake from it, I’m just in one corner, hysterically laughing, knowing that anytime soon someone is going to ring a really loud bell to my ears and tell me, “ Wake up! The demigods have drowned in their own shit!”

Meanwhile, I greet myself a happy, happy birthday.

 

Pre-Birthday Ruminations October 25, 2007

Filed under: Events — Aimee @ 3:45 pm
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Five days from now, I’ll be turning twenty five. So I’m two decades and a half, quarter of a century old. I don’t particularly feel anything above ordinary, except that I’m quite excited baking my perfect lasagna on that day. I have already informed my bosses at work that I’ll take a week-long hiatus beginning the 29th, a Monday, so that means I’ll soak up more sun, inhale some traffic fumes, and maybe even drop by the nearest beach for some salty air during the seven straight days that I’m home. It’s been raining almost everyday here in the mountains, and traffic has never been a problem in this quiet city. So I’m expecting to get a bit sunburned back in the city of golden friendship, though I really have no laid-out plans yet, because the crazy sun just seeks me out whenever and wherever, and gives me annoying prickly rashes even when I’m hiding under the bed in my room.

An idea has just occurred to me moments ago, and I am now planning to do at least one thing that I have not done yet in my entire quarter of a century existence, on my birthday. Well, the list could go on infinitely, and can range from the sensible to the hilarious, and from nonsensical to downright bloodcurdling (I can perhaps pretend I was blind and cross a highway without opening my eyes, which actually translates to suicide, or I can yank the hair of some annoying preschooler, or even bake oatmeal cookies for those exasperating rascals at Mc Arthur park). I have not yet decided what, but I want to try doing something that, ahem, I can be proud of. Maybe spend my birthday money buying someone else a gift (imagine- surprise, surprise!), or wake up really early and watch the cheesy sunrise on a deserted stretch of beach, attend the first early-morning Mass at the cathedral, or perhaps get idiotically drunk for the first time in my life, until I vomit on someone else’s lap. Now, the last idea doesn’t sound near like it’s something I can actually be proud of but I never ever allowed myself to get drunk in the past— I usually stop drinking when I feel like my head is already weighing tons— and the thought of allowing myself that bit of unrestrained craziness on my special day feels liberating, and dangerously fun (my advance apologies to whoever gets to relish my drunken puke).

There is one thing however, one thing that I can be proud of sharing, and that is before my twenty-fifth birthday, I finally stopped being a chronic pessimist. Now, I am not certain if this is bound to stay, or if it’s just something of an erratic nature, but for these past weeks, I did not fear nor doubt the workings of this twisted universe as much as I used to my entire life. Something must have rearranged in my system, or possibly my pessimistic atoms got tired of the entire drama overload, that they ultimately succumbed to the enticements of the bullish ones. These days, worries do not bother me because I have arrived at the conclusion that so long as an individual has done his finest, has stretched his limits to indefinable degrees, has stayed honest and humble, works hard and smart, and prays without ceasing then nothing in the cosmos can stop good karma from favoring him. And in the event that the good karma turns the other way, it eventually changes course in due time, and favors the person all the same. The biggest secret of the universe is that it plays jokes on mortals all the time, twisted jokes mostly, and those who laugh the loudest even when their hearts are torn into tiny splinters always, always gets the biggest rewards. I had to get to the year and the month that I turn twenty-five before I finally understood all of this.

The demigods can laugh, dance, and sleep in silken sheets all they want. At twenty-five, I never got to realize the most feral of my dreams, like earning my first million, writing my first book, having my first book published, getting married in an old castle. Heck, I still do not even have a stable job yet, nor do I have the vaguest of ideas on what I want to do with my life if things get even crazier. But I have myself; I still have my unfinished book, I have pages that need a lot of ink, and I have people who think I’m nuts, but incredibly smart witty, and pretty. If I don’t get to do all these before I turn thirty, I still have an entire lifetime ahead, albeit one with more wrinkles, and worse back pains.

Which reminds me; I have to stock up on more bottles of moisturizer these coming years. Tonight I’ll slather on more than the usual, and have my haircut and salon treatment on my big day. There are just so many things worth celebrating, however twisted and however caustic these jokes are.

🙂

 

Little Bandits October 23, 2007

Filed under: Faves,Fleeting childhood stories — Aimee @ 7:43 am
Tags: ,

The Days of the Cloth Diaper :p

I can’t say I had a perfect childhood, but mine was a happy one. As far as I recall, my siblings and I traveled to more expansive spaces using our imagination, even when we were never allowed to venture out of our house without adult supervision. Our favorite activities therefore took place nowhere else but inside our property; but we were permitted to play house, tear up leaves and stems from Mom’s garden for make-believe “culinary” sessions, fashion mud and sand cakes, skip rope and play piko, place newborn kittens in a wicker basket and pretend we were selling them, dig a hole in one corner of our lawn to make room for a shallow “swimming pool” for barbie dolls, and mess the kitchen to make chocolate ice cubes out of frozen Ovaltine and milk.

Because children are famous for their weird imaginations, I’d usually pretend I was some successful professional living in her luxurious apartment each time a play-house session was in order, and my sister would fancy herself a store cashier, using our broken piano as her cash register. My brother meanwhile would either be a bus driver (the living room sofa was the bus), a debt collector, an annoying messenger from the electric company, or anyone annoying, period.

Pops and Mom were often away because of work, so whenever school was out, the three of us would be locked inside the house and forbidden to play outside until Madame mother would return home between four and five in the afternoon. We were always instructed to take naps after lunch, wake up at three, and watch cartoons while having our merienda. We weren’t allowed to leave the house and play with the neighbors’ kids until after Madame mother gets home. But we were too much of a restless bunch to think that a nap would do us any good. By the time we had the house to ourselves (Mom would leave soon after we’d feigned sleep), we were already plotting the roles we wanted to play that day. If I remember correctly, some days I would be a schoolteacher, and other days I would be some sort of Muslim princess, draped in a malong and wearing long strands of plastic pearls. On really boring days I would pretend to be sick or even dying, in a hospital perhaps, where I am immobile and almost out of breath from the makeshift oxygen tubes stuck into my nostrils (little beverage straws that I’ve managed to breathe into), and “dextrose” needles that keep pricking me  (a plastic bottle ingeniously turned upside down and hung just beside the window jamb, taped with a pair of long threads at the end of which two needles were attached and taped again onto my wrist). My younger sister would play nurse, wear  a white shirt and white jogging pants, carry a clipboard and shiny ball pen salvaged from my father’s old office stuff, and deliver me a small cup filled with white candies for my medication. My younger brother at that point would either be a family visitor, or someone who did not care at all if anyone in the house was dying because he was busy with some other little schemes all by himself.

Sometimes, if we were feeling more adventurous, we would plead with Madame mother to allow us out of the house after our naps. And some days she would be generous and permit us out, but only with the condition that we’d remain as fresh-smelling as the time she’d left us.  We’d troop straight away to the empty lot facing our house, and where the rest of the neighbors’ kids busy themselves with their usual tricks. One of those summers I finally learned to ride a bicycle. For quite some time I have even mastered bicycle-riding with only one hand, until I hurt myself so grotesquely that I could not stand straight naked in front of my mother for weeks.

We also participated in pointless fights with the other kids, fights that usually involve nothing more than name calling, territorial disputes, and nonsensical kiddie gossip. Being the cry baby that I was, I would go home crying sometimes, but that would not deter me from my resentful machinations. One time, a little kid from the other group did not allow me access on their part of the street while I was on my bike, and when she remained undaunted by my threats of squashing her with my “wheels”, I delivered on my threat without any further ceremony – I ran her over with my bicycle, and left her bawling and lying on her pathetic side on the ground. I immediately regretted what I had done, but she dared me, hasn’t she? She dared me; I took it, and that was it.

We would often look for signs of Mom up the street while we were playing and the moment we spotted her walking toward the house, the three of us would scamper home, prudishly sit on the sofa all sweaty and grimy, and give our poor mother an apologizing look. She would reproach us for being dirty and reeking of earth, but we would simply look at each other with foolish smiles, and start finger pointing. This was how the day would usually end: we would take our afternoon baths, wait until Pops got home from the office, and eavesdrop a bit on his conversations with Mom, the topics we couldn’t care less about. All we ever cared about were play houses, bicycles, street fights, endless running and playing catch; and we dreamed of all these too, perhaps in the darkest, deepest parts of our sleep.

I was unlucky to get my first period after a few summers, and soon I was no longer allowed to participate in these childish games; behave like a proper lady I must. Where was the justice in my young life, when I was no more than eleven then? How I resented my mother for all her rebukes, and how I yearned to skip rope and ride a bicycle as I used to. Truthfully, I never wanted my childhood to end, never appreciated my budding adolescence. I was miserable for a long time, praying for that day when my mother would assure me that my menstruation had stopped for good and that I can finally go back to my sweet, carefree, messy, tomboyish ways.

Fast forward to fifteen or so years later and the three of us will have finally earned our university degrees on time, gotten ourselves jobs, and lived our lives as any independent-earning twenty-something would. Amusingly, my sister is now living out one of  her favorite childhood roles; she works as one of the tellers in a big private bank, handling money as she had done many summers ago on her make-believe cash register. My brother works in a private bank as an accounting assistant and I am just thankful he did not turn out to be the bus driver or annoying collector of our play-house afternoons, although I have nothing against bus drivers or collectors, really.

Well, I’m still far from the successful professional who lives in a luxurious apartment, but I do have plans of getting there very, very soon :p.   I know I can’t be crowned a Muslim princess in one of the far-off islands of my native Mindanao unless I marry a Muslim blue-blood, but thank heavens my health is doing fine, which means I am not about to die (knock on wood) in a freaking hospital, or freaking anywhere, either.

 

Those Puffy Clouds October 19, 2007

Filed under: Food,Weather — Aimee @ 7:45 pm
Tags: ,

blue skies of my mind

I am a weather person. My temperament, interests, and even my little imaginings are all directly affected by the weather. What I would choose to eat during the day, for example, has to be patterned on how the weather is, and though I do not have the liberty at all times to be rather picky with my meals, peeking out the window to stare at the skies has become almost a ritual for me. The other day, somebody brought gallons of ice cream at the office but no amount of prodding on my colleagues’ part could make me eat even a single spoonful, since outside everything was gray and wet. If for instance, the sun is out, the trees are dancing, and the air reminds me of a summer midmorning, I would crave for tempura and chocolate cookie milkshakes, because a few years back that was what we always had on humid summer afternoons back at home, or at the long canteen at Xavier University.

Sunny weather keeps me cheerful whenever I’m indoors, and sometimes even under trees or under an umbrella (when the sun’s heat has not yet reached its smoldering peak). But the noontime sun usually drives me mad, and so does thrashing rainy weather. These extremes are usually worse on my physical self: I get annoying prickly rashes under intense heat, and I suffer from back pains and dry, peeling lips during cold weather. I get crazy whenever it rains after office hours are over, because that translates to getting home in wet high heels. But I do so love rainy Sunday afternoons, because that would mean lounging inside the house with not much of a plan for the rest of the day. Reading and sipping coffee or hot chocolate beats everything else, except when the phone rings and some girlfriend needs to have some pointless chismisan with me.

But rainy bedtimes have got to be my favorite. The thing with me is that I have difficulty sleeping whenever everybody else is asleep but myself; I have to sleep way ahead of the others. There is a certain eeriness to a silent late evening when everyone has gone to bed and all the lights are turned off. Of course I can always play some music but since I usually end up humming the tunes, drifting off to sleep would be an even bigger problem. But when it starts to rain, that’s when I would slide under the blankets in perfect contentment, the steady patter of water on the rooftops drowning my solitude away.

Today’s Friday was an odd mixture of sunny and wet – I woke up to a blindingly sunny morning, walked to lunch under scorching noonday heat, and listened to the rumblings of thunder by three in the afternoon. A few hours afterward, the ground was soaked with rainwater, the downpour slowing down to a steady drizzle by five.

But if the rains don’t come tonight, I won’t go to bed until I’m drowsy to my bones, and my head voluntarily drops face down on the pillows.

 

Resolutions of an Impulsive Shopaholic October 8, 2007

Filed under: Mall Trips — Aimee @ 12:59 pm

I am presently reading Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and Other Stories, and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. This is my first reading of Flaubert, my second for Kafka and Austen, and hopefully before this month is over, I shall have finished all three books. I have made the resolution to purchase new books at least once every two months, and if my funds fall short, consider borrowing some from the café across the street, whose owners have a decent collection displayed on shelves. I have just realized that if I can spare money for new clothes or new bags, or my periodic visits to the salon, I can spare some for new books, too.

Last Saturday, Sora, Estee, and I set an afternoon rendezvous at some mall café, and as usual I was the first to arrive. Some minutes into my waiting, I was becoming fidgety and bored, and starting to hate the fact that I kept on glancing at my cell phone every ten seconds. So I left my table and started to walk through some of the shops.

At the center of the mall, a pageant was held that afternoon and a small crowd had gathered facing the stage. It was a search for SUPERMOM 2007, or something like that, and I was momentarily amused that these mothers were sauntering down the stage in sparkling bridal gowns, living out perhaps, their deepest fantasy these days: to be the blushing brides they once were. I passed by the spectacle shaking my head, and checking out my cell phone for the millionth time.

My friends were still stuck in the middle of traffic, and out of increased boredom, I went inside a bookstore and bought a new book without a second thought, even when I had no initial plans of buying anything whatsoever that afternoon. There goes again my compulsion for buying anything that strikes my fancy every time I’m bored to tears. The last time my friends had been late for our afternoon merienda; I bought a new top and a skirt without hesitation, as if I was planning such a purchase for weeks. Last year when my boyfriend and I were having one of our weekly spats, I took refuge in a bookstore and bought an Umberto Eco book, which I have yet to finish reading until now, for five hundred painful bucks. And more than once, I shopped for bags in a downtown boutique, a spur of the moment kind of thing, simply because I was too fed up with work and wanted some kind of release.

I ended up giving the skirt to another friend because I never found reason to wear it, and the bags, well; I ended up having too many bags in my small closet. But when I bought Madame Bovary last Saturday, I felt victorious at having chosen to buy a piece of literature; which is something more timeless than a piece of article subject to the caprices and dictates of erratic fashion. Finally, a purchase that will sit by my bedside table for many years to come, one with a quality that will never depreciate ( if I cover it properly or if it doesn’t get wet or burned), something which I may be able to share with my future children and grandchildren over steaming cups of dark chocolate long years from now (not necessarily Madame Bovary, though). Someday, I know I would get to finish Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco, after so many useless attempts. The fashion victim in me has given up, and the voracious reader has willfully taken over, after considerable rumination.

Hopefully, I’d be able to fill up my library in no time.

 

Bride of Chucky October 1, 2007

Filed under: Politics,Sarcasm — Aimee @ 7:44 am

There is something about our president that is so uncanny. Sure, she looks innocent and pleasant enough, what with her diminutive height all dolled up in Paul Cabral suits and gowns, designer heels, and an ear-to-ear smile for an accessory. She speaks good English, delivers immaculate speeches, and looks unfazed with all the scandals and natural catastrophes that have shaken our little archipelago to its core, appears confident enough in the presence of powerful world leaders, and doesn’t look her prime age at sixty. But there is something about her that has always kept me intrigued, one might say, and eventually I have grown to distrust her civility, her outward confidence, and her schoolgirl smiles. That day when President Estrada finally stepped out of the Malacanang Palace, the nationalist in me rejoiced silently, optimistic that finally this country will soon rise from its long-forgotten ashes. I celebrated even more, sensing that the then vice-president seemed to be the exact antithesis of the ousted president: well-schooled and articulate, an economist by education, unaffiliated with the showbiz world, and a female.

Staring at the television that day, tirelessly watching coverage after coverage of the EDSA Dos Revolution, and the proclamation of the new leader, I did notice however, that there was something about the new head-of-state that bothered me. She was smiling crazily, as if she were on booze, grinning with unabashed triumph and celebration, as Senator Teofisto Guingona raised her hand, facing the countless Filipino masses that trooped to EDSA in an admirable showing of faith, unity, and nationalism. It appeared to me that she was too happy to be president, someone atat na atat to be in control of power. Yes, there was cause for celebration that day, but then again at that point the battle would have been far from over; the impeachment case would soon follow, stocks would be adversely affected by all the political turmoil, and as always, our economy would need a 360 degree overhaul. She nonetheless, could barely conceal her foolish excitement, her apparent giddiness for making history, in the face of such an unfortunate event that would hound this country for years to come. My eyes stayed glued to the television but I remember feeling uneasy, perturbed at the way she waved and waved, and owned the stage as if she had won the national elections, or the one-billion jackpot lottery.

So, six fateful years later, I was proven right. This doll-faced president has been implicated in numerous controversies, all of which she has treated with a shameless indifference. During her reign, our country has been branded as the second most dangerous place for journalists, next to Iraq, by reason of countless killings of activist-journalists. She confessed to communicating with an election official during the 2004 elections, and with a “cute-puppy” face, repeated apologies to the Filipino people over live television. Her infamous husband too, has dragged her name in his own web of transgressions, such as the Jose Pidal controversy, and more recently, the NBN ZTE Deal, which our doll-faced president has approved in slapdash fashion as if it was her and not the people’s money that was at stake. Whether or not all these accusations will prove them responsible in the end still remains to be seen. After all, didn’t we just look the other way when the Hello Garci hubbub erupted, accepting her sorry as if she merely stole a piece of bubblegum?

No, I do not hate our Madame President. She is indeed intelligent, a devout Catholic, and has her own brand of charisma. Sometimes, I find myself admiring her resiliency, the way she remains stoic and expressionless in the wake of intrigues, and her strong confidence in the country’s economy. But I do not claim to love her either. I just could not bring myself to do so, because that would be a feeble pretense on my part.

There is something uncanny about her, which I find so disconcerting. Each time, she reminds me of a chubby-faced porcelain doll who conceals her evil powers behind her toothy smile.

For our poor country’s sake, I hope I’m wrong.