Friday, June 30, 2006

Blog down

Uh-oh. Blog seems to be down. Why can't I open it? Argh.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I exist!

Hindi pala ako singaw lang. I wasn’t just forced out of someone’s ass.

The first week of June, I went to the NSO to get a copy of my birth certificate. I needed it so that I can attach it to my petition to take the Bar. The thought of going to the NSO revolted me. I thought of long lines, and a crush of people. I’d be wasting the whole day falling in line, drenched in sweat, while I was swearing at the inefficient effing bureaucracy. I’d learn the day I went to the NSO that there was a semblance of efficiency after all. You were given a number the moment you went in. And there were chairs where you can sit down and watch teevee. And the guards, who were busy ushering and controlling the crowd- the guards were surprisingly polite.

You’d think that maybe, there is some hope for this country after all. The rub though, is that the reason why there is a throng of people at the NSO is because so many of them are wanting Out, to work in other countries or whatnot. You’ll need your birth certificate to apply for work abroad, I reckon. Or maybe to get a passport.

My classmates told me that there was a number I could call so that I can have my birth certificate delivered in three to something days. I didn’t entirely trust the service, and I thought I could get the darn thing the next day- read: quicker- if I just went to the NSO personally.

I didn’t get it the next day.

The guys at the counter told me that they couldn’t find a record of my birth in their vaults and that they’d have to conduct a manual search. I was to come back in three weeks. Maybe they’d have found it by then. Maybe.

So for a few days, I quietly doubted my existence….

Until finally I got the nerve to call and ask my mother, “I was wondering if you and Dad ever found a baby in a gutter, say, thirty years ago…?” Which was to say that I asked in a roundabout way if I was really their son or not. (Hah!) My mother quickly caught on and gave me a photocopy of my birth certificate, should I need it, she added. Okay. But I needed the government to affirm that I was for real.

A few days later, I went back to the NSO and got the certificates I applied for. Kudos to the NSO. It took a while, but you can plainly see that they’re trying their darndest to improve their services.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Moving Day

Why is it that sometimes you have to get the general feeling that… life sucks? To say it in the colloquial.

Why can’t life be one smooth, uneventful ride, where all you’ll have to do is watch the rumps of several guys on bikes that are faster than your car pass your car. Yep, just sit down, lay back, and relax.

But you can’t do that. It’s not possible.

Sunday, I went to my mother’s, ostensibly, to pick up my books. My brother had just gotten married; they were going to move in to my old room in Makati.

So my mother was in my old place, supervising the cleanup (and doing a lot of the chores herself), begging me to please take my books. I relented after she warned me that once my brother and his bride take roost, I’ll have a harder time retrieving them (the books).

So I went.

Up until few years ago, I had a whole lot of books. A lot of them. They spanned every phase of book reading I got into. I had a Vietnam phase, an occult phase, a Hardy Boys phase, a sci-fi phase, etcetera. I didn’t get into a Classics phase, by the way. I don’t know what’s up with that.

After I moved to QC, so that I could be nearer the School, termites attacked my books- my helpless, defenseless little books. I suppose I should be lucky that they still left me with two shelves-full of books. In that case, I suppose they’re lucky I didn’t see them before I could torch their tiny book-eating little mouth… mandibles… jaws, whatever. Though I still can’t figure out why the books couldn’t defend themselves. I mean, there were a lot of them. And several of them were hard-bound, like my math and accounting books. All they had to do, really, was to band together and maybe crush the little buggers….

… where was I?

Ah, my books.

So I’d gone back to Makati to get my books.

I’d always loathed going back to Makati. Not that I was repulsed by the whole idea, and I don't really rue the place. As the resident nerd (one of two), I got beat up there a lot, by the local tambays. But the rest of the folks were generally okay…. I grew up there. Literally. Figuratively.

Maybe that’s why I hate it so much. Because being there, it always reminds me of how wonderful things used to be. If I could only bottle the past…. (I'd buy carpets and live there.)

Bottle the past, words which I texted to claude_girl. She replied that she loved the double entendre. Me, I didn’t get it. I kept on staring at the words. Bottle the past.


Not that I’m a big drinker. I hate beer. It’s bitter.

I know. I’m probably the only person in the world who descended from the apes who hates beer. But there you go. I’m malt-ose/barley/whateverbeerismadeof-intolerant. Though I’d always appreciated hard liquor, something which I said to Nutmeg’s dad while he (the dad) was offering me beer.

“I only drink hard liquor, po.”

Silence. Then I heard it as he heard it. A teenager who doesn’t drink beer but drinks hard liquor. Hmmn. That'll improve my good image a good ways.

Speaking of which. I don’t really know if my parents knew that I drank a lot in college. Literally, in school. The School of Economics (Econ) had a back lot which was poorly lighted. Or maybe it wasn’t lighted at all. The light from Katipunan spilled on to it- which might explain why it was dark… I can’t recall….

Ah, well, the point was that it was dark. And we had the rounds of the security guards pegged to a tee.

Me: (Alarm ringing.) Hide the bottles! Quick!
Guard riding on a bike: (Passes the three of us by. Looks at us suspiciously.)
Us: (In unison) Hi, manong!

When he’s gone, we drink again. Oh, he’ll be back, but we’ll know when. Exactly. This guy was strictly OC, getting on his bike and doing the rounds every thirty minutes.

I stopped drinking after a sorry incident a few years after college. (It's actually funny in hindsight.) I lost consciousness in front of the office staff after drinking a whole bottle of Johnny Walker. (Don’t ask why.) The guys had to drive me home while I was spraying Chinese food in their car.

I couldn’t move for a week. It felt like whisky was running through my veins….

And there were a lot more memories. Boxes of them. I was channeling them while I was arranging my books in their own boxes. It kind of felt like I was moving - but in reverse. I was bringing my books with me to QC, where I now lived. I was lugging my memories back to me.

Boy, if we could only bottle the past…. Wait. I think I still have some whisky downstairs.