Waiting for One Last Piece of Good News from 2009

With only a few hours ’til the doors of 2010 open in front of us, I’m here in our house in Quezon City, wishing to hear one last piece of good news as firecrackers pop in the distance.

2009’s track record isn’t bad — it’s criminal. A year, which gave us more of the global financial crisis scare, freakish typhoons and floods, staple government scandals, and other incredible international and local fiascos ought not to be trusted when it comes to good news. But when you can’t do anything, hope naturally oozes out of you, like perspiration from an exhausted man. And so now I’m drenched in hope; and even though I don’t pray to a deity, I helplessly entrust the future into the irrational and that which can’t be explained.

To be honest, I think we’re kind of foolish to think that the new year is some kind of a new destination where all of us will move into in batches. First the Asians, including us Filipinos, will move into that shining new destination, and then the Europeans go in, then the Americans, etc. It’s foolish because we made that system up. What is January 1, 2010 but another moment in the endless river of time where anything could’ve ended and anything could’ve started? Of course the Earth would be completing one hell of a revolution on that date (and I guess we could give it a pat on the back for that) but really, if it was indeed a circular revolution, then for all we know, the year could have started or ended on August 14, 2009. Which is my birthday.

What I’m saying is, I would be really happy to leave this psychopathic 2009 behind, but if I were more technically serious about years and revolutions, I should just give up and remind myself that nothing is really ending and nothing is really beginning. This way of thinking basically leads to the conclusion that I should now accustom myself to the fact that the one last piece of good news I’m waiting for is spiraling down the drain as I type. Because as 2009’s track record shows, 95% of the time, we’re heading for epic failure.

But I’ve just finished watching “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” just a while ago. Yes, I am freshly exposed to 3 full hours of legendary uruk-hai-slashing and sticky Aragorn hair again. I watched Denethor go insane, Theoden get massacred by a Nazgul, Frodo and Sam struggle to throw that wicked ring into Mordor’s volcano, and Gandalf riding on the back of a giant eagle to save them and bring them home safe. I was teary-eyed once again as my favorite heroic fictional characters risked life and limb to give the film a happy ending. And as all these Wingnut genius flashed once more before my eyes, I couldn’t help but be filled with hope. Yes, as stupid as it is, my heart felt that if Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry made it back to the lovely land of Shire alive despite Sauron’s great power and evil — my one last piece of good news should have a chance of materializing despite 2009’s psychopathic tendencies.

Some people would say I’m being unfair to 2009. Not all people had a bad year, or not all people would say 2009 was that bad. I happen to know that if you’re one of the richest people on Forbes, you might snore at the thought of blogging about 2009’s ills. Perhaps this feeling of negativity is just shared by people on a certain income range. Perhaps it’s a statistical fact — an economically driven view of objective events, which is valid but certainly not applicable to all members of the population. Yes, of course that’s it. How can it be otherwise? I’m quite sure many people didn’t break a sweat in 2009. A few probably went inside a posh bar in 2008, had a few glasses of margarita, came out and found out they were already on the brink of 2010. No big deal. Meanwhile, many of us Filipinos have long felt like we’re forever plodding on toward the end of this year, hope bubbling on our burnt skins.

One glance at Facebook’s Live Feed and almost all of your friends are shouting out “Happy New Year.” These same people were devastated when Ondoy plowed through their homes last November. So perhaps some people are just naturally optimistic and happy and positive, so they’re free to post those bright shout-outs. Somehow, I can’t do it. But just to nod to custom, I guess I’ll do it anyway — post “Happy New Year” on Facebook even though I know, deep in my technical heart, that the year isn’t really ending because for all I know, the year could’ve ended already on August 14, my birthday. And 2010, wherever it might be, isn’t opening its doors soon.

Geez, I’m pessimistic. No, this is not the way to live the rest of December 31st. I have to summon my inner Frodo and cling on to hope. I did get “promoted” this year (even though in some mysterious way, my pay didn’t change). I also won tickets to a live showing of Pacquiao-Cotto, and Nike promised to send us a pair of rare Pacquiao Air Trainers. That Boracay trip was also a blast (though I really looked like a complete loser when I tried to snorkel because I almost drowned even when I was wearing a life jacket — go figure). And of course, Chemae and I are still together, which is probably all that matters in the whole damn endless river of history.

Yeah, I guess I shall give 2009 a chance. 2009, maybe you’re not that bad. Maybe you’re just a cuddly lion inside a cage and all you need is a little pettin’.

Almost 6:00 PM. Better post a “Happy New Year” on Facebook now and continue waiting for that one last piece of good news after I take a cold shower.

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