Monthly Archives: January 2009

I Quit Smoking (After Three Sticks)

Lit three sticks of cigarettes and I quit. You can call me a p*ssy for it but that’s that.

Just before work was over yesterday, She and I had a little “psychological battle” again, so just to breathe new life to these psychological battles, I tried to do something I’ve never done before.

I’ve never smoked a whole stick of cigarette before because I can’t endure the cough that always goes with it. I sometimes even think that smokers must be really stupid to like something that bad. I mean, yes, smoking looks cool and all, but the stuff feels like hell initially. Why bother to push yourself to like it? Of course, there are people who’ve liked cigarettes from the start and who miraculously don’t cough their lungs out when they blow that nasty stick, but I’m not one of them.

How to Smoke a Cigarette Like a Cool Dude

I was really excited at first, even to the point of being jittery. I was a little scared, but more excited than anything else. The excitement itself pushed our issue of the day to the back of my mind.

She guided me all throughout the training session. BI or not, it’s what I wanted so it doesn’t matter. I casually picked up the white and green stick and gently tapped its closed end on the table and on my thumbnail. Yeah, I know the drill. Smokers supposedly do this to compress the contents of the cigarette. Tap, tap, tap — I already felt cool and laid-back just tapping that little devil like a clever man of the world.

Taking a deep breath, I inserted the stick between my lips and lit my first stick with her lighter. It didn’t light up instantly. Apparently, I was going about it the wrong way. She said I was supposed to huff it as soon as the fire touched the stick’s end. OK, I got it. I did it and the embers glowed a bright orange.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t coughing. I thought I had it all figured out but she said I wasn’t inhaling enough of the smoke. She said I should just allow the smoke to fill my throat and then puff it out. More experienced smokers would let the smoke all the way through their lungs, but that’s already advanced stuff. I just have to huff enough to puff enough to do it right.

When I finally learned the proper technique, my lungs were already violently rejecting the stuff out. It’s not yet time to back off, however. My issue wasn’t still gone. I was gonna learn this universal vice whatever happens.

Results of the Experiment

A few minutes before I felt it, she told me that I should feel a kind of dizziness. All smokers she’d talked to felt dizzy the first time they smoked. When it hit me, I realized it was not so much a dizziness but a real high. I got high from huffing and puffing for the first time in my life.

Awful. All my spunk was gone after a few minutes. I thought the world started to turn a little bit too slowly even while my heartbeat seemed a little too fast. Things around me were losing color fast, like an oil painting smudged by gasoline. As I felt this substance-induced depression creeping over me, I decided not to light a fourth stick.

I tried to relay to her what I felt during that moment. I said that it’s weird that it felt so wrong. Creepy, but I said it was like having sex for the first time. Now I realize it’s nothing like sex for the first time. It’s hell of a lot worse than that. I told her something precious was definitely lost. She said it was innocence. That was cliche but maybe she’s right. However, I think it’s something more than that. My happiness was really being carried away by the smoke and I felt cold and indifferent to the world.

The effect was so bad that I only fully recovered from it once we had already gotten off the train and walked through the mall. I felt so strange that I said she just felt like a sister to me at that moment. The night also was too sad, too poetic even. If my thoughts were lines of a poem last night, I would have written the saddest lines like that overly romantic poet she reads.

I Get it But NO

OK, I get it. Cigarettes relax the body and the mind so smokers can ponder the world more freely. I can imagine myself getting used to these little white monsters, increasing my tolerance, and getting addicted to the relaxing effect. However, after my first try, I choose not to.

The sticks were minty but they were also bitter. Inhaling and blowing the smoke was a mildly interesting activity but I’ve always had my chewing gum. Holding a burning cigarette stick between my fingers looked rebellious and all but the smell was revolting. The vice was cool but I don’t need it.

Plus, it killed my sexual appetite. What the f*ck will I get from that?

And so I’m done with smoking. I forgot to mention it also kills you, but there you go. Remembering all of that just now, I can’t help but be reminded again that smokers must be really stupid to like something that bad.

Drink beer, folks. It makes you happy, which is more useful to me.

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Monthsary: A Filipino Invention?

It seems like the concept of “monthsary” was invented by Filipinos. Google the word “monthsary” and 99% of the links you will come up with are Filipino blogs. I said 99% because I didn’t bother to check if there’s an international link there. There should be a few, though, because Filipinos are all over the world and they’re bound to spread the concept of “monthsary” to foreign countries.

The first link in Google is from Urban Dictionary. The first definition says that a monthsary is celebrated like an anniversary but you only celebrate it for the first eleven months of the relationship since the twelfth month is already an anniversary. It has 52 thumbs up and seven down as of this writing.

Urban Dictionary’s third definition is even more revealing. It reads:

“Commonly used among Filipinos. Its actually supposed to be monthiversary. for some reason they use it. monthsary mean that a couple has been together for a month, thus, monthsary!”

I’m quite sure a Filipino wrote that definition or a foreigner with a Filipino partner. The definition ends:

“used rather than anniversary coz couples are playas and b*tches enough to be together for only a meager amount of time.”

Now, that’s informative — or at least, insightful. Indeed, a monthsary seems to be a convenient way to enjoy the pleasures of celebrating a committed relationship without necessarily being committed to a long-term relationship at all.

Love in Bite-Size Pieces

Through monthsaries, couples can cherish their romantic moments together and celebrate them with dinner dates, sweet gifts, mushy lines, and beautiful kisses — without actually having to plod through a whole year. It’s romance in bite-size pieces.

Nothing wrong with that. In fact, I believe that love naturally comes in bite-size pieces. It comes in short bursts of passion and heartache that consume the two parties in love. I think love, due to its fickle nature, should even be marked every day.

It is merely due to people’s strong wish to make things last forever that they choose to celebrate anniversaries rather than monthsaries or daysaries (Filipinos actually are inventive enough to also think of this term. Google “daysary” for proof).

Anniversary: A Milestone of What?

Anniversaries don’t tell you anything about the quality of love that’s in a relationship. The assumption is that the love must have been really good for the relationship to last that long. But assuming that, yes, an anniversary tells you that a couple has been together for a year, what else does it say? Doesn’t the term hide a whole calendar of events that took place during that time? Doesn’t it skip the question of feelings that were felt, energies that were spent, sacrifices that have been made, and changes that may have changed the two people forever?

I think that in the end, the term “anniversary” is more misleading than a “monthsary.” After all, this is the modern world and we’re always talking about love. We’re not talking about arranged relationships and marriages here. Wealth, though still an issue, is kind of taboo and gets swept under the rug. No, we’re definitely talking about love here. People celebrate relationships because of love.

Isn’t it awful to celebrate something that has lasted a whole damn year even when you’re unsure if that something is love? It could just have been your own weakness or vulnerability that has become an addiction for you for a year. It could have been powerlessness or fear. It could have been any sad something that is other than love. The thought of celebrating your own monsters is horrible.

Of course, anniversaries could also say love has lasted a year — but why wait to celebrate love? By then, it might already be too late for you to celebrate anything.

Proud of the Pinoy Monthsary

I’m quite proud that we, Filipinos, were the ones who invented monthsaries. I think it goes to show how much we value loving each other. We just can’t wait for a year to paint the sky red with passion. It just doesn’t make sense to our culture of closeness and intimacy.

As the postmodern world speeds up each hour however, the rest of the world might eventually see the merits of monthsaries. Think of how convenient it would be for people to love and fall out of love through monthsaries. People need double, triple jobs to get by, so the time for romance gets shorter and shorter every day. Monthsaries would become achievements worth celebrating universally. Pretty soon, most people would probably just count months and not years due to the impracticality of the latter! That is a sad thought.

I’m really not against anniversaries. However, if you tell me that you’re celebrating your monthsary rather than your anniversary, I might give you a sweeter smile and a more heartfelt pat on the back.

__________________________________________________________

To Chemae: Happy second monthsary! I love you like the mind loves ideas.

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On a Google Plane

There’s nothing now and I see air.
Words used to escape from the lips to encapsulate the world,
Now they just sink into my throat and choke me.
They choke us.
I draw lines that don’t end,
Write things that have been said before.
I speak cliches.

How could a day decimate a whole mighty calendar of events?
Rubbles fall on my head and I feel dizzy.
This is strange.
A white board,
Vacant desks,
Faint footsteps,
A light meal –
These are strange.

Last night I dreamt that you flew away
On a Google Plane –
A Google Plane.
It’s blue and yellow, green and red,
And white. And you typed your destination
And you were gone.
Fancy that? A Google Plane.

I scratch my head at the future.
Tempted by religion, I try to see the Purpose of things,
Of Stuff and Things and Thingamajigs.
Flushing the toilet is a relief.

Convincing silence, a ghostly presence –
“I must have been wrong.”
One look at my wallet and,
“Yeah, I must have been poor.”
You look different, sound alien,
“Indeed, it must have been a mistake.”
All late realizations with nothing to offer
Than the taste of dried saliva in my mouth.
F*ck the world.

Hate, typed on the phone, sent on cyberspace
Lands with raised eyebrows on the righteous screen.
Hate says “F*ck the world.”
“F*ck the b*tches and the cliches,
People’s plans and wishes,
The white board, the desks, and footsteps.”

“F*ck the strangeness, the silence,
Men from Mars and from Venus
Riding our elevators.”

“F*ck knowledge and truth,
Opinions and issues,
Soulless objects that get us to the other side,
Where we laugh at how the Universe f*cks itself into oblivion.”

And the hate dissipates leaving only the cold wind
That chills January nights and numbs my cheeks.
A white cat descends the stairs, glowing against the hungry shadows.

So I take my pencil and draw more faces.
Once again, I try to conquer this world with little funny strokes.
I send text messages, erased in a split second.
The online private messenger grieves.
I cough my lungs out, drain my heart out to this poem,
But late realizations have nothing to offer,
And there’s nothing now and I see air.

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The Global Economy Falls Into Recession and I’m on Facebook

I’m watching YouTube and surfing Facebook, Multiply, and other websites while hungry and determined applicants take exams to get hired by the company. The irony of this unproductive life is sometimes overwhelming.

I’m still floating, still waiting for a client to descend from the heavens and save me from joblessness. It is pathetic and I don’t deny it one bit.

But what is the better thing to do? I’m still getting paid to do the boring things I do. No one seems to be bothered by the fact that I’m watching Pupil’s music videos for eight hours. They pay me the same thing, so why strive harder and look for a job out there?

I have a month or more of client-less surfing and cyberslacking (if you can even call it that) before the company chucks me out. I say enjoy the relaxed, stress-free life rather than seek a new job.

I’m aware that my reasoning here stinks, especially to people who are dedicated to their careers and to their future. I’ve always been cool when it comes to my career though, so I’m not easily bothered by these things. Jobs will always be out there. My e-mail is still filled with ads for writing jobs. I’m getting one of those jobs when the company finally decides to throw me out. Until then, I’ll gladly use their free and fast Internet connection.

My resume should get me somewhere. It should give me my bread. I try not to worry, and I really don’t, most of the time.

There are times when I feel like I’m walking leisurely in a field of land mines or I’m rowing a small boat in shark-infested waters. The global economy is ailing, people are losing their jobs, homes and getting hungry, while I sit here, updating my status on Facebook. Worse, when there’s nothing better to do, I spend my lunch break in the mall. Yes, I’m malling and surfing as the world crumbles down.

And today, I feel kind of guilty that I’m so relaxed when all around me, these applicants are really putting their brains to work to answer the test. The guilt is not enough to push me to find a new job later, though. No, I’ll definitely surf some more later.

The irony of this unproductive life is sometimes overwhelming.

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To the Strongest Person I Know

Being a distrustful pessimist has its merits. You may not like my dark philosophy in life, but my philosophy may be closer to the true state of things than many happy philosophies out there.

I believe that men, when left to their instincts, are not generally good.

They’ll always exert their will to power, their will to dominate and propagate themselves if given the perfect opportunity. Greed is a natural instinct for survival and dominance.

Yes, there are people who care, people who pray, people who share their wealth and themselves to others. That fact however, does not erase the evil in this world.

Just Google it. I’ve seen videos of men rejoicing over the corpses and decapitated heads of their fellow men. The evening news tells stories of murdered, raped, hurt, shamed and robbed people night after night after night.

I really don’t have to explain it because it’s obvious that that evil is out there. Everyone’s been robbed and shamed before. Everyone’s been hurt before. Sometimes, people even hurt you for no apparent reason.

Guts alone cannot save you every time from that evil. Yes, you are strong, probably the strongest person I’ve ever met, but if you’re not careful, you may encounter something that’s beyond your strength someday. In fact, guts alone haven’t saved you completely in the past.

Trusting people is a virtue but it is also, at the same time, just a roll of dice. You can’t know a person completely. You can interpret his character, gather some information on his personal background, but you can never get to the bottom of his being. You will never know what’s inside his mind.

To trust a person means to surrender all the unknowables of his personality to fate. Those unknowables may be good things or they may be things that are not worth much, but they may also turn out to be things that can lead to your harm or ruin.

I see the good in seeing the good in people. It’s not like I view everyone with a suspicious eye. It’s not like I brand everyone a demon. But my eyes, these eyes of mine — and I’m so proud of them no matter how dark they may be to you — see the potential evil in their actions. They see fires before they even blaze, floods before they even drown anyone, wounds before they open. I am proud of my dark eyes.

But I am not a dark person.

I’m a person who is just more distrustful than you. It comes with being a weaker person. I’m always on the defensive. You’re strong, so you can afford to look at people quite innocently, naively.

What happens though when chance rids you of that strength for a brief moment — a split second?

To the strongest person I know, please listen to the words of the weak, because this weak person loves you like hell.

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