We’re like fire born by firewood. Life goes to ridiculous extremes to make our young embers ignite only to douse us with water or shower us with sand to put us out when we’ve already grown hot enough to become a roaring flame. Then it’s all over as we quietly send our farewell smoke into the traveling wind.
Remember, as a child, your life was measured by what you can do? You could run around the playground without getting tagged and tired unlike your fat playmates who just couldn’t keep up. You could swing like a real monkey at the monkey bars unlike your frail nancy-boy schoolmates. You could play with X-Men action figures unlike your cousin who only played with cheap plastic toy soldiers, which were boring as hell as they’re all painted the same color. You could numb your red lips with ice cream everyday while the dirt-poor street kids only watched with their drooling mouths agape. You could also probably house your Barbie doll in a huge white house and make her flirt with Ken; totally unlike your bestfriend who merely had a stinky hand-me-down ragdoll from her grandma.
Think about it. Back in those days, you could do a lot of things.
Armed with this knowledge that you could do a ton of stuff, you entered school. At school, in that classroom as silent as a bathroom and as uniformly dreary as Sunday church, one thing stuck out: all of you runts in there thought you should rule the place. Those plain, crisply ironed uniforms were the most deceptive of all, for they concealed the fact that some of you were better than others, and a handful were unfairly “gifted” gits. This innocent-looking room would suddenly turn quite violent and stressful as this shared knowledge of egoistic invincibility resulted into fierce competition — manifested by hands shooting up into the sky to catch the attention of the bespectacled, big-bellied arbiter known as the Teacher.
In all subjects, you were always trying to trump someone else. It’s either that or the other guys stomped on you. No field was free for you to conquer. No monkey bars there, nor ice creams or Barbie mansions. Every goddamn place was a battleground: the track and field, the canteen, even the bathrooms. There was always some prize to strive to win, whether graded or not. Even your crushes didn’t come easy and things would get really disgusting when your own cunning seatmates got them first.
In school, you learn that there are things you can do and things you cannot do. Continue reading
Let me tell you about myself.
I have a sore throat that’s three days old. By now, of course, it is obvious that this is no ordinary sore throat because sore throats do not persist this long. The weirder thing about my sore throat is that it’s just affecting the left side of my throat. Right side’s completely fine but the left side is creating havoc whenever I swallow my own saliva.
Cringed a little?
Yes, humans swallow their own saliva and blog about it sometimes, which is considerably disgusting but you can expect such a thing from us. We are a species that tends to get surprised by our own disgusting daily habits. I sometimes look down when I’m on the tiled throne and I stick my tongue out like I didn’t know the stuff came from the hard work of my own digestive system. Some girls are even scared stiff when shown a mirror reflection of their own labia minora and majora. I know shudders ran through my spine when I saw my shaved balls for the first time.
But back to my sore throat, it’s really weird that it’s just the left side that’s hurting. The hypochondriac in me conjures images of Roger Ebert in my head and I immediately think cancer. I see myself trapped in my house with my chin pasted to my neck because all the meat there is gone.
Don’t we all think like that? When it comes to petty pains and big pains alike, we just cut through all the bullshit and think cancer. “Colds? I got no colds. I’ve been healthy since forever so I must have lung cancer.” “Blood? I don’t get blood this early on my period. I must have ovarian cancer.” We can’t help just self-diagnosing ourselves with cancer because it’s a waste of time and energy to think of any lesser disease. That’s right, even when it comes to worrying about our health, we are efficient. Efficiency means living a life devoid of all bullshit. And if we like to hear or to have bullshit, we want it as soon as possible without any hassles. Bullshit without bullshit is modern efficiency. Continue reading
Who cares what others think about how we think, how we speak? Why must we play along with this web of rules and standards they have set upon themselves? Why must we feel pressured for the correctness, righteousness or validity of what we have to say? Why must we tremble in our own bedrooms, afraid of their cold vengeance? Can’t we shout “We’re not part of it! I’m not part of it! I refuse to be defined by it!” Have we really been plugged into this monstrous machine of dreams and sleepwalking since the day our unknowing mothers set us free in this shackled world? Isn’t there a means for an uncontroversial escape? Is there a way to live without agreeing to the term “responsibility?” — therefore, without agreeing to any “term” at all?
Yesterday, I saw two boys lying on the steps of a footbridge. They can’t be older than 7. They were fighting because the younger boy seemed to take up the space of the older one. All the while, we were passing before their sleeping space as hundreds of vehicles disturbed the dust on the paved roads underneath. Continue reading
Someday, when the page no longer begs for my ink, when I can sit in front of the TV and actually understand what’s going on with all those explosions and visual effects, when my arms are contented squeezing a simple, soft pillow, and when my mornings are finally as predictable as a cliche first sentence in an amateur essay, jealousy will die. By then, I may remember a thing or two when my vision lands upon a familiar book on a bored Saturday stroll in the mall. A thin scent of something like coffee or mocha may make my nose sniff uncontrollably. People would be talking about important stuff but my ears may hear faint laughter or “oohs” and “aahs.” Perhaps I’d be too tired then since I’d have too many Saturday strolls and too many TV marathons. So what I’d do is just find the nearest bench from where my weak feet are planted on, and I’d sit there, breathe deeply, put my hands in my pockets and let my fingers feel the scraps of the other day. I may pull out an emotionally crumpled piece of paper and a cheap, greasy pen and start writing something. The first sentence would be a complaint about the music of the times and the second sentence would be a glorification of yesterday’s food. The third would be an apology for another mediocre blog entry on the Internet. The fourth would be about the futility of plans and the constant vacuum of the past. The fifth would be about some old room in an aged building that seems to have plans to stand eternally. And at that point, I’d have no choice, but not to finish writing or whatever I am doing, breathing perhaps and sitting, because at that point, I’d have no choice but to think about you.
She told me that a friend told her that the building looked like a waffle.
I rarely see the entire building when I’m walking briskly to the office. I just know it’s blue, grimy blue.
And in that grimy blue waffle building, as I wrote that impromptu resignation letter in the same interview room where the best days of my working life started, my mind couldn’t help but be filled with flashbacks.