Thursday, April 27, 2006

God wants me to panic

If you'll ever need a panic person, I’m your guy.

My teevee went on the fritz two weeks ago, its picture suddenly going blank. Great. Must be God’s way of telling me to panic for the Bar this early.

What do you do when you suddenly have a TV that goes radio on you? I tried talking to it, asked it nicely to show me pictures. I tried threatening it. I tried seducing it with a lady TV. Nothing worked. In frustration, I gave it a whack at its back side. The picture came back.

But that was only for a week. And after a few hours, the picture would go off again. Maybe it suddenly decided that it needed a vacation. Maybe even just so that it could take away some stress. Last week, my TV decided that it wanted a permanent vacation. No amount of hitting made the picture come back. Since I decided that I don’t want to listen to TV sound all day, I called my father and told him that the TV’s broken. He answered, “Okay. I’ll buy you a new one.” (Yahoo.)

So, the universe will, every once in a while, apologize for giving you fits and do you favors. I personally thanked the Heavens. In my dreams. In real life, I don’t think I can get to heaven without forsaking… real life.

So my father had a Kolin teevee delivered to the house. After two days, it switched itself off. I couldn’t get it to turn on again. Maybe it joined my old teevee on a vacation. This was getting really annoying. It was as if the whole of TVDom decided that it wouldn’t let me watch teevee till maybe September, or maybe for the rest of my life. (I’ll make a report of this in November.) Maybe God did want me to panic for the Bar already, I don’t know.

Yesterday, I went to the store where my father bought the TV and asked that it be replaced. They agreed. It was a dead set, they told me. No amount of threatening will make it work. "What about seducing it with other TV’s?" I asked. I know they have plenty of slim women teevees in the store. Couldn't they maybe ask some of them to coax the new teevee out of its rest? Wait. No. Don’t call the asylum. I’m sane. I swear to god, look, there’s a teevee in a bikini right now, behind you. I swear.

Anyway, they were going to deliver the replacement teevee today…. Or they were supposed to deliver it today. It’s already one o’clock and it’s still not here.

I’m only anxious because I don’t have proof that I returned a defective TV and am asking and waiting for a replacement. Having just graduated from Law, you’d think that I would have asked for greater protection (as in making a contract, and having them sign several receipts). I didn’t. If they deny that they were obliged to deliver a replacement TV, I’d be dead in the water, and with hardly any shred of evidence.

Or maybe God just wants me to panic for the Bar right now. (Where is that blasted teevee anyway?)

Friday, April 14, 2006


Two afternoons ago, I was agonizing over the fact that my friends decided to go to Intramuros Thursday (yesterday). I really wanted to go to Tagaytay.

In hindsight, I’m thanking the gods (God) for giving me such great friends.

Car15 said it best when he told the Prince of Darkness- henceforth, PDid- that I was more into the nature trip. And of course, I spent most of yesterday trying to sell another climb. The last time we made a climb was two years ago in Makiling. We were clearly long overdue for another, and since Sagada was clearly out of the question because my friends had to work on weekdays (I'm doing the Review, so I'll be relatively free until after September), I was thinking that maybe another climb to Makiling was possible. All we’d need was an overnight stay. (Isn’t there a three-day weekend coming up?)

We met at the Law parking lot at 0830. Very very early morning for a holiday.

It’s only 0830, mind you, because I told PDid in jest that maybe we should meet early, as opposed to meeting at our usual time of, well, the afternoon. My friends agreed, haha. I’d forgotten that we were all morning people.

After we’d exhausted our high-fives and our kamustas, P drove to Pasig to pick up B, then we headed for Intramuros.

The last time I was at Intramuros, we (the Team and I, for OLA, the Office of Legal Aid) were supposed to meet with our clients in the COMELEC building. Of course, it wasn’t the COMELEC building in Intramuros that we were supposed to go to- I’d understood the directions wrong- but there you go: the last time I set foot in the walled city. I mean, I’d gotten to see the Cathedral, but that was only for its parking area. That was it.

Yesterday, the traffic was very light. In fact, there a lot of Porsches careening happily about. "Di sila takut sa tansan ngayun," Car15 observed, guffawing. We parked near the Cathedral and promptly joined the throng doing the Bisita Iglesia.

Oh, but the bisita we were doing was remotely religious. We only wanted to do the rounds of the old Manila. In fact, a little while later, I nearly lost my temper at a 7-11 when this clerk refused to give me a phone card just because I didn’t have small change. I thought 7-11’s Should have change for big bills, I mean, they do have people coming and going and leaving them money and all. It was a good thing that PDid came to the rescue before I stormed out of the store. He had change for my P500. Anyway, doing the rounds, losing temper, equals hardly, maybe not at all, religious.

It’s amazing how Intramuros, that small piece of real estate, can connect you with your past and with your identity. Or not. Before the day ended, I quickly realized that we really haven’t our own identity, or, maybe it should be more apt to say that, we really don’t know who and what we are.

I remember that there was time when everyone seemed to want to talk about our possibly joining the US as one of its States. That was the vogue then. As if, by becoming Americans, we’d suddenly rid ourselves of our myriad of problems. Maybe it will; maybe it won’t. It’s just sad that we’ll want to look to others for solutions before we look to our own selves for the answers.

We clambered up the wall after the short stop at the local 7-11. The sun was beating down on us, but somehow it didn’t seem hot at all. I think it was the ocean breeze that prevented us from breaking into a terrific sweat. You thank god for small favors.

We looked at the cannons. We marveled at the thickness of the walls. The old lookouts all smell of piss, by the way. The City of Manila should take better care of the place.

After passing by the marker which marked 1 Victoria Street, where McArthur used to have his home, we sat down and thought that we could maybe play a game of Games of the Generals there. It would have been a fitting tribute to the General, by playing a game of strategy created by a Filipino, where an American general's home used to be. But there wasn’t a shaded area we could annex and play on.

By the way, PDid and Car15 were telling me that Intramuros was a better place when Dick Gordon was running Tourism. You pine for the good old days and wish that things stayed the same.

We walked by the old Ateneo compound and explored the ruins of the old Jesuit church. It sat across the street from where AdM used to be. Car15 reminded me that Rizal looked towards the spot where Ateneo was, before he was shot. I’m really not your history guy.

We walked towards Chowking, in front of the Cathedral. Maybe we could play Games of the Generals there? Nah. It was too crowded. I pointed to Max’s. That should do fine.

Walking towards the resto, we can’t help but notice the marker for the plaza fronting the Cathedral. First named for the King of Spain, then its name kept on changing depending on who our conquerors were. It’s kind of sad, really. There we were, looking for identity in the Old City of Manila, and all we could find were the chains that bound us to colonists. Maybe it’s high time we conquered ourselves for a change.