A Happy Schizoprenic Holiday – Part One

Fact is, my holidays are over. Ten days of supposedly having fun, spent in…well, supposedly having fun. Let us define “having fun”, this simple phrase could mean a whole lot to different people. To the “mentally delusional” (meaning “mga taong ilusyonada”) it could mean hearing voices that confirm their long suspected notion of being Napoleon, Genghis Khan, John Lennon or Prince Charles. Of course it doesn’t matter that’s its all in their head. To serial killers it could probably mean tons of murdered people/bodies lying underneath the supremely polished floor boards (or in some cases inside le chic cellar) of their American dream, white picket fence houses (on a side note, ever wonder why there are no Jeffrey Dahmers or Ted Bundys here in the Philippines? I believe it is partly because of our unshakable habit of ‘tsismisan’ (gossiping) – who would have thought something good would come out of it? – I mean we could gossip away the serial killer’s motivation, he might be reduced to thinking, “where’s all the fun? they’ve already figured out what I’m up to…”, this is upon hearing the neighbors prattle…”naku yang nasa kabilang bahay, weirdo yan, tingnan mo na lang…di na ko magtataka kung serial killer yan!” There goes. The point is, where else can you hide when the neighborhood knows what brand of underwear you are wearing??  The whole serial killer schitck is a lot more complicated of course, but Im not here to analyze and discuss the quirks and habits of serial killers, Im here to tell you about my holidays. To impose upon you the mind-deadening and soul- scorching events that occured within the span of the mysterious “ten days” (eh, that would make a good movie title!) Now let us “flow-walk” to “ten days earlier” (in case you have been living on mars or not a Star Wars geek like me, “flow-walk” is a term for…uh..anyway, I didn’t come here to explain the immensely scientific terms peppering the whole SW universe, you just be the smart fellow and figure out what it means by analyzing how the phrase was used…ok…a little brain flexing wont kill you.)

Dec 23rd – Can’t remember much, besides the fact that I got home at this date (sitting on the back-row aisle of the bus..getting my butt fried and all), and that I distinctly recall that tingling sensation (not THAT sensation you swine!) of infinite possibilities! (a meteor could hit the Asia-pacific and obliterate us all, thereby eliminating the need to go back to work or the Philippines could become the next superpower, or I could look like Angelina Jolie without taking Michael Jackson’s path)! I could boldly go where I have never gone before.

But I ended up watching a couple of movies (Pirates of the Carribean 2 -Johnny Depp makes me drool by the gallons & The Shawshank Redemption – so does Tim Robbins). And reading passages from Jane Austen (got stuck somewhere between Pride and Prejudice). Activities of the damned.

I also contemplated if I should go visit my friend Gabriel, Bard of San Antonio Quezon on the 24th or the 25th. Since I felt quit lazy, I decided to inform The Bard (through text) that Her Royal Highness, The Lady Vader will arrive at their humble abode on Dec. 25th (get the red carpet ready, not to mention The Calamay and the salad.)
Dec. 24th – Bonding time with mom. We went to the supermarket to buy some stuff for the New Year (since we are Pagans we don’t celebrate Christmas, we instead worship the sun, the moon, the ground we walk upon). I realize that is is a bit thick of us to get into the whole “holiday rush”. But do you know I have figured out a lot of things about the human condition while standing in line at the Ultimart Supermarket, waiting for my ice cream to melt, so that I won’t gave to worry about it splitting my molars into two. I might as well be drinking Ube/Makapuno shake.

Truth # One:  To Cheese or not to Cheese – I saw several people picking up  blocks/boxes of (insert brand here) Cheese. They take some time to reflect then shake their heads and either pick up one “cheese-ball” (MY english for quezo de bola) or several boxes (perhaps they were wondering what disasters might occur if the need for cheese were not met, or why is cheese such an integral part of the holidays?)

Truth # Two: There will always be HAM – It is everywhere (very much like Cancer, McDonald’s, Jollibee and Starbucks) and come in assorted brands and sizes. I wanted ham for the New Years eve, but since there are only five of us, eating a one kilo ball of meat in just one night was just pure waste, not to mention stupid. A couple of customers go to the meat section, not to buy, but to poke and prod the already abused ham, roll it like a basketball on their sweaty palms (some even sniff it, i shudder) then dump it back into the open freezer. I think they’re in for that infinite gratification by thinking, ” I held the Ham in my hands, I COULD buy it, but I WON’T!” Still many people do buy this star of the noche buena, a symbol of prosperity (after w/c most of then go broke – but the thing is “I dont care! Nakakain naman ako ng ham!”)

Truth # Three: Forever in Lines with You – It’s not the chilly breeze nor the simbang gabi which heralds the coming of the holidays, it’s the LINES, most specifically the supermarket lines. Despite repeated warnings/advice of “Thou shalt not engage in last minute holiday shopping” lest you suffer from heart attack, heat stroke, asphyxiation and most tragically a loss of identity by standing too close to one person for an hour or more. “Las minit” cannot be avoided. Maybe…it’s this infernal itch to “show off”, I mean, how many carts can you fill, how many bags can you carry and what big bulging packages are sticking out of those bags, or it might be because most companies believe in “Las minit” as well, why else would they give out salaries on the 23rd?…ah..must we follow the winds of destiny?

Truth # Four: Parents should leave their spawn at home when conducting their shopping – I don’t hate kids but I’m not too fond of them either. And there’s nothing more annoying than kids running around while I, The Lady Vader were having difficulty finding the Swiss Miss section! Kids put me off balance…they scream, they fidget, they cry out loud (not unlike some pseudo-adults I know).

After the shopping disaster (finally out of those hellish lines). I went straight home and took a much needed nap. But not before playing some songs on my portable CD player, I found myself hopelessly crooning “Far Away” by Nickelback (its an amazing song, I could listen to it for two hours and not get bored, maybe it’s Chad Kroeger’s throaty, melodic, rockstah vocals. It doesn’t hurt that’s he’s also handsome. And the lyrics are mushy without being mushy. Get it? No? I thought not.

And so while the rest of the world ate their ham and cheese and salad..I slept on…dreaming of Hannibal Lecter. Sweet.
Dec. 25th – Yey! It’s Christmas Day! But I’m not at home. HRH The Lady Vader visits Gabriel, Bard of San Antonio Quezon.I left as early as I could manage it…9:00 – I overslept a bit – (to avoid the inevitable human wave of “namamaskos”). Mostly they are little buggers, I mean children who could be future players in our political scene. At the age of seven they already know to weedle their way out of other people’s money. Next time you meet, they’ll weedle your vote out of you. But maybe I’m being too pessimistic. It’s not just the children, they are frequently “accompanied” by “well-meaning” adults. Evidently taking advantage of the fact that people are excessively generous during this time. They’d hand out 500 pesos to you with a smile. Tax Free. No Interest. But try to borrow 100 bucks at some other time. They’d give you a scowl, maybe a finger & slam the door to your face. I encountered some “namamaskos” anyway, but not that many enough to send me screaming to the hills.

Now The Bard’s aforementioned abode is nestled deep in the valleys and hills of San Antonio. A literal pain in the butt to travel (rough road, bouncing and bouncing in the tricycle, after a 15 minute ride to the boundary of “Niing”, you have to stop and check if your nose is still in the right place, then you have to walk some distance more.) When I met her at the San Antonio junction, she was accompanied by two Male-forms (The Bard’s workmates), whom I will call Jin & Mugen.

Mugen seems like to be your typical guy, easy to talk to, prone to making silly jokes and all. But I like Jin better. This guy possesed a subtle sense of humour, likes to utter remarks not so different from the ones which spew out of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh(sarcastic, delivered in a stiff upper lip manner, loaded with irony and hysterically funny). He has this air of quiet dignity about him. Now I make it sound like I have a crush on the guy. But no (I’m still married to Johnny Depp), I just happen to like guys like that. They don’t try to talk your ears off.

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