Monday, June 22, 2009

Next to Normal

This was homework in Philosophy I (the first one, actually). We were made to write about our very own question about… well, anywhatever.

I was six years old when I first became aware that a school called UP actually existed. Before that, I used to think of that long stretch of stone wall that we’d pass on our way home every evening as just ‘one of those places’ that didn’t really concern children. However, what many people told me about this ‘UP’ was entirely different from how we’ve been taught to define ‘school’ in school.

Don’t go studying there. It’s the home of weirdoes.

Of course, I’d have to find out for myself a few more years later, when college seemed near enough to matter already, that UP transcends the disparaging descriptions I’d been fed with as a child. Weirdoes, however, and the concept of ‘weird’ continued to linger in my mind. After all, school and church are one in saying that we must avoid judging people and should accept them for who they really are.

But what is weird? What is it in someone or something that makes us say he, she, or it is weird? Is it in the way he looks or makes us feel, or the way by which he lives every day? Does how a person affect another define weirdness – or normality, for that matter? Or does everything simply have to do with the standards that society itself set and adheres to?

Many would say that a man who cannot sleep without his right hand covering his right eye and his left hand grasping his right wrist, or one who eats with his mug and drinks with his plate, falls under the category of ‘weird’. But if you sleep without any bother as to where your hands are, or if you eat with your plate and drink with your mug, then what are you? Normally, people would call that normal (at least, under the dictates of psychology or human behavioral science). Normally, what’s ‘not normal’ has to be ‘weird’. But weirdly enough, nobody’s exactly normal.

So then, does what other people label you really matter? Is there truly a difference between normality and weirdness? Because on the contrary, many times, weird simply happens to be normal. And by then, many, many people would rather call themselves weird – or weirdoes.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ang Unang Linggo sa Peyups

So there, the first week of college is over. And, I dunno, am I supposed to say something about it? Yeah, well I feel like I have to actually say something about it… But it’s not like I’m really supposed, or, uh, required to say something about it… am I? Oh well, whatever. Anyway, college classes – uh, the first week of college classes is over. So, um, what do I feel? Hell yeah, what do I feel?! What kind of question is that? Pretty lame, I must say!

Do I speak Tagalog with an accent ba? I guess I do… well, all people from the provinces, I firmly believe, speak Tagalog with an accent (unless of course they’re from Tagalog-speaking land). But let’s go back to my accented Tagalog. Well… I dunno, I’m proud of it, I guess. No - I'm so darn proud of it.

There have also been developments concerning my name. Of course, none of the 2016ers know my Iloilo nickname (and I don’t plan to propagate it, don’t worry). But yeah, vinceN with an emphazised letter ‘n’, um, uh, t-less (it’s stupid, I know, but hey, allow the people freedom of nomenclature… but it actually sounds kinda ingenious), and, uh, someone’s calling me ‘cen’. Otherwise, it’s vincen without the ‘t’, or just plain normal vincen, which is totally fine. Why am I talking about my name here again?

Then there’s that thing about Mr. & Ms. Freshie. I mean, come on people! Where on earth did you get that crazy idea that I can be Mr. Freshie for Block 14. I could have, might have agreed to do the gig, but only if all of you rallied as one to make me Mr. Freshie (and, thankfully, you didn’t). Ugh, no way!

In general, first week’s been pretty sane. At least I’ve managed to be pretty sane. People have generally been okay - some standout personalities occasionally, but anyhow, it’s been all fine.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pasherpa-ers: Disconnected

There are brainless people, and there are people who are unaware that they have brains. Which one are you?

You hold my quivering hand as if to tell me that everything has become alright. As if I’d buy your ridiculous statement. How many times have I heard or felt you say that to me again?

I’ve been there all afternoon, watching her sleep in the most peaceful manner I’ve seen lifelong. Lifelong… now there’s an irony – don’t look at me like that!

And please, please, let go of me! I’m sick enough not having someone to tell me they know exactly how I feel. You don’t, okay?

Monday, June 8, 2009

airport pests: man, woman, and children

When I’m already seated and settled down at the pre-departure area of an airport terminal, I’d usually set my gaze beyond the glass walls, out into the airfield, the taxiways and the runway. Plane-spotting has been one of my passions for the longest time, but only those who have traveled with me know this. To the untrained eye, I'd look like I'm daydreaming or contemplating some deep philosophy. And then, the unmistakable roar of wheels and engines pervades the surroundings, grasping my full attention.

But I’m not going to talk about how boiling-hot my love for airplanes is. Instead, let’s talk about something that happened this morning, when I was in the heat of this passion.

Setting: NAIA Terminal 2, Pre-departure Area, near Gate S7.

Status: Waiting to board aircraft bound for Iloilo.

Problem: The plane-spotting activity was wrecked!

Why, you ask? Because someone in the form of a female-looking potbellied man happened to be occupying considerable space in my peripheral vision. I loathed him the very instant he stood and blocked my view. It was as if we needed a supervisor to oversee our seating activities, or as if he had proclaimed himself supervisor of a virtually nonexistent activity.

But he eventually went away – and was replaced by two annoying kids who also invaded my peripheral vision. Perfect! But the kids also went away… and by now, you should already know that another, even bigger annoyance stumbled along the way.

Behind us were around eight Americans (healthcare volunteers from Guam, we discovered) minding their own businesses (thankfully). From where we sat, one could see that the loading of checked-in luggage for our flight had commenced outside. Too obvious to miss.

All of a sudden, we heard raucous barking. This woman seated to my brother’s right was talking to the Americans (she was their guide or head or whatever, we intuited). She was broadcasting to the entire Pasay-Paranaque area that our baggage were already being loaded (making sure that passengers of the Northwest and Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific jets over at Terminal 1 could hear her clear as hell). Boy, did she get on my nerves.

The conclusion, therefore, is that I was in a very irritable state at that time. 

Saturday, June 6, 2009

One Week

Date: June 6, 2009
Time: 1:14 PM

*As I’ve mentioned in this blog, blogger’s time is erroneous.

Swine Flu’s now along Taft Avenue.

Plus, many LU 6 people took up their elective abroad this summer.

Ergo, UP had to come up with the decision yesterday.

Classes moved to June 15.

Okaaay, so parang nagbakasyon lang pala ako dito sa Maynila ng isang linggo, ano? Abangan po ninyo ako sa Iloilo bukas ng umaga. Magbabakasyon na rin ho ako ng isang linggo diyan.

ETD: 8:50 AM

Return flight, Sunday, June 14, ETD: 3:35 PM

P.S. I can go to the 1st instruction of the applicants!


I looked straight into his eyes
And fathomed an unknown wilderness

There were ancient trees
Growing wildly across untamed woods
Their barks shaped creepy shadows
On the soft, musty forest floor
Their roots hunched on the soil
Casting grave, silent glances at
Unfallen leaves and the lifeless sky
The crisp, fallen brown-and-yellows
Lay weak and futile amidst
Rocks wedded to lichen
And the violet chained to undergrowth

There were also raging seas
Pounding sand and shore after shore
The waters lashed the innocent
Sweeping away all trace of life
Like the joyless crab making its way
To a hole in the ground that soon
Collapsed, burying the poor animal
Beneath the madness, an army
Assembled and the blue sharks
Orcas and blue-ringed octopi
Cried their frail battle cries

The wilderness was just too much
And I had to close my eyes

Friday, June 5, 2009

coke zero is a necessity

at least that’s what
the hospital woman said
when she came striding into
the marble hall in her
sparkly white dress
and spanking white body.

i didn’t at first
had any wish for conversation
with her lovely lips,
but it seemed, when she stood,
that mother liberty by
the mouth of the hudson river
would be just as shocked.

never in a decade –
that’s the least I could remember –
have i seen such bodily contours
that seemed a mimicry of
the sierra madre nearby.

blame the spanking dress, i say,
or protrusions would not have been
so overtly obvious.
(ironic, the redundancy, isn’t it?)

(well, maybe, two is one for this one.)

but back to the lady
(without the little dog),
and brainlessness says only this:

jack would reconsider
calling the heavenly deity
residing in some castle on a cloud
a giant, and his domestic partner,
a giantess.

meanwhile, she declared
her love for coke zero
like an aging spinster’s wedding-wish wish.

“it’s gonna make me slim!”

honey, slim or not, you’re one big zero.
one big, round, circular zero.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

wild thinking at its best

I’ve been around humans long enough to know that they will do things only when they feel like it. Words like “duty” or “responsibility” hardly make sense. No, people have this so-called free will. Most people would do ‘big’ things, like saving a life or earning money, but what of the little things, and when? What most people fail to comprehend is that it’s the little things that matter. The world does not revolve around the ‘self’. Everything is not about honor, or fame, or something to actually compensate for ‘effort’. Sometimes, it has to be just for the sake of doing. But humans are not like that. There has to be necessity in every action, and what of it, anyway? It's always this reason behind the things that do happen.

Opinions do not matter. Everyone - from newspaper columnists to sidewalk peanut vendors - has lots to say. But opinions never matter. You can talk all you want for hours, days, weeks, even decades; eventually, the only opinion that matters will be the speaker's – and the speaker's alone. Your words are pinna-deep to the next listener. No one cares about what you have to say, even if you happen or eventually happen to be right. Egotistic arrogance. Unless circumstance proves you right, your opinion hardly matters.

Still, keep talking to other people. It’s a powerful form of healing. We're made to convey our emotions and thoughts to others. Talking is therapeutic, and a stranger's ear is the best listener. Fear not irrelevance. Just talk.