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A Million Times Smitten, Never Once Shy (Thoughts On Valentine’s Day 2014)

I like to think of today as Halloween, neither because it’s a scary day (the real Halloween is not even scary; it is a lot of fun, in fact) nor I’m bitter (why should I be?) but simply to poke fun at, not love, but how some people make a big deal of today. Like, seriously, why would you set aside just one day a year to go BIG on and with that four-letter word? I mean, isn’t love (and chocolates and flowers, and everything else), like, always in, cool and en vogue, all year round? What would St. Valentine, whose Feast it is today, would think if it weren’t so?

Anyway, earlier, I was waiting for mass, at the Fashion Walk, when a guy sat next to me. He started playing Flappy Bird the moment he had his bum resting on the hard stone bench. I am not one to care about what others do on their mobiles, or how great or awful their progress is on Flappy Bird, but my peripheral vision just couldn’t keep its, er, hands (if it has any; figurative, most probably), off this guy’s virtual avian business. His first try, sitting next to me, ended in a pathetic 31. A pathetic 31. Coming from me, whose best Flappy Bird score is a hard-earned 22 (I had a total playing time of 1 hour, 2 minutes, 26 seconds, in a period of 2 days; genius, I know). His second try was better- he was on 100+ when I decided to leave. I just couldn’t take it anymore. Manipulating an innocent bird, virtual notwithstanding, to flap its way through a tunnel of pipes, with no moral or professional goal or whatever, just seemed so wrong. I mean, where is the meaning in that? What impact is it going to have on one’s life, on world affairs? Right? LOL.

So, anyhoo, I left that bad, bird-abusing guy to himself (I wanted him to feel like an outcast, alone, blah blah) and, very far away from him, I checked Twitter. Where I discovered a grammar booboo here and a punctuation nightmare there- all my own, by the way. It was horrifying; so horrifying that I decided to just update my Tumblr, where more of the more or less same errors I have on Twitter are to be found, but who cares?

Who cares, indeed? Especially today, Valentine’s Day, when people- the very young, these days, especially- care so much about romantically caring or being cared for that nothing else matters. Truth be told, it worries me to see these Valentine’s Day-related topics trend on Twitter, trended (if it’s a valid word) by 13-, 14-, 15-year olds, or younger: Single Awareness Day, National Nganga Day, Date, et cetera. And it disgusts me to read tweets like, “14, NBSB. Why?! (insert sad, sadder, saddest faces)” or “I’m so sad. Cold Christmas. Cold Valentine’s Day. Might as well live in Siberia on my 13th birthday.” Like, at their age, they should be concerned about these things?!

Let me talk about MY age. It is legal. I don’t want to talk about my relationship status. Well, okay, just a bit: it is either “Single” or “In A Friendship.” Sometimes, I call it “Happy” (if that makes any sense), so, strange as it may sound for some, I AM NOT IN PAIN. Which is why I still cannot understand why that 25-year old lady- who’s never had a boyfriend- being interviewed on TV last night, said that it pained her to be single this Valentine’s Day. Or maybe, I smell a faint whiff of a hint of an idea of that pain she was referring to. Some people I grew up with did seem to detest the idea of not being in a relationship (I’m talking early teen years here), now that I think about it.

Now, I also want to think that romantic love has never made it to my list of priorities because I have a surplus of love, in the other forms it takes. I have always received lots of it from my family and friends. That’s not to say others who look at romance as the be-all and end-all of their existence are not getting enough from their respective circles. Maybe, they know something I don’t, eh? Or, I don’t know. It may just be how, where, when and with whom and what we were raised?

Speak of “raised,” it’s been about two years (or more or less; I lost track or I don’t count) since I last raised the red flag for crushing on someone. I have had crushes, I have gone crazy over them, my friends have gone crazy over the things I would do in the name of crushing and I have lived through all of them all the easy, breezy and- I’d like to think- beautiful way (me = beholder, see?). The weird thing (and by weird, I mean, really weird) about me crushing (is the word “crushing” equally weird, or is it just me?) is I never see myself and my crushes going beyond that stage where I’m just crushing on them. Like, everything is just about me chasing after them and the moment they stop and take notice, in a good or bad way, is the end of it.

Okay, this post has to end. This is getting rather long, longer than necessary. And I’d like to end this with the word CHOICE. Everything, people say, is a choice. Or not, really (genes, for instance), but the point is, today, this Valentine’s Day, you can make a choice, as you always do everyday of your life. Today, you can choose to do or think of things that will make you either happy or sad. You can even choose to make every “ordinary” day Valentine’s Day or treat Valentine’s Day just like every “ordinary”day.

There’s the choice to use the prefix “extra,” too. See? Choice.

Bad Friend (To Whom It May Concern)

I am.

I do not show up on your birthday. I do not show up on your wedding day. I do not show up on the day they bury you. I do not show up when you need a hug, or a laugh. I do not show up, period.

I am a bad friend but I am afraid I would be worse if I did show up on any of these special occasions. I am sorry.

That out of the way, I would very much need you to stop thinking that you do not matter enough, because you do, way more than enough, even. Know that my actions- or inactions, as the case may be- do not reflect the ardent desires of my heart (nothing romantic here, mind).

One of these days, if you stay, I will tell you everything. Until then, please bear with me- my silence, my absence. If you choose to leave, to walk out of my life, I will understand and will let you just like that, but here’s a caveat (just one of many): you will not know everything (see first sentence of this paragraph). LOL.

Yes, this is a letter of apology.

Goodbye 19; hello 19!

I stopped counting at 19, so today is my last day at being 19, and tomorrow, I will be 19 once more.

I guess I’ll jump from 19 to 90. And 90 is a long way from where I am now. That makes me very happy, indeed, but when it finally comes knocking on my door, I plan to welcome it with open arms. It can overstay its welcome, too, if it wants to.

Well, anyway, aging, really, is not about quantity; it is about quality. We’ve all been hearing that in this life and I seriously take that to heart. You can live a full 100 years and still will not have lived. Or die at 20, and will have lived a life as full as it can possibly be.

That said, I mean to attack this life with the same passion whether I’m 19 or 90.

Happy 19th, everyone!

P.S.: I pray for God to will me a long, happy life- long and happy enough for me to appreciate being really old.

Curiosity killed the cat.

It just wounded and left me a scar- that curiosity.

I was a kid, not knowing any better, when I first found myself face to face with Experience, that Great Teacher.

It was about that time when the house I would later grew up in was still in its work-in-progress stage. It was a little after noon when I stopped by, a little tired from playing with the then-would-be-neighbors’ kids. The carpenters were on lunch break (I think) and one of them left his toolbox open.

Oh, what a sight. The open toolbox. The curious pre-prep. Imagine the scene. Or not; I’ll narrate: I saw one of the tools- the chisel- took it out of the box and marvelled at the sharp cutting edge-end. I had seen it being used on wood, but I wondered then if it would cut human flesh, my flesh.


So, I wondered and wondered. And there was no one to tell me the answer to that all-important nagging question: “Can it cut through human flesh, my flesh?” I had to know.

There was the chisel. There was the flesh. What was there to do? This is what happened: I positioned the chisel at a 90-degree angle to my palm- sharp edge touching my flesh- and drove, pushed it deep into, and felt it cut through, flesh.

It was bloody after that. The blood had stopped oozing out of the cut in under an hour. I did not die of hemorrhage, thank you.

More than a couple of decades later (right about now), I look at my palm and I see a scar. It feels hard against the generally lovely-soft(!) feel of my palms, reminding me that some things, really, we learn about them the hard way.

This post, hopefully will remind you that you don’t have to go through everything to know; sometimes, you just learn from other people’s mistakes.

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