No Buko, No Pie


Day 213: K-pop has his moments, too.

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There was in urgency in his voice when he called me up that Friday night. “I’m being transferred to Vietnam as soon as next week. So we have to go out for a drink tonight.”

In the one year I’ve been friends with him, K-pop and I have formed a friendship in inebriated times and sober times. During this one year, he would bluntly turn down some of other invitations or cut short our session. At certain times this was in favor of some other proposal, the nature of which remained unspoken. While OPM would bring me home to my doorstep, K-pop would go off on his own, moving on to the next party with an altered state of sobriety. He has been brutally frank with his opinion which doesn’t go unappreciated. OPM has transferred to Korea since, so it has been just K-pop and I for the past couple of months. And so I had no hesitation turning down this evening’s invitation knowing that there could be another night together. I had my suspicion that he wanted to drink immediately because he has some hot pursuits in the weekend that would follow. That, and knowing that he may just be paranoid with when he would be sent off.

“I only had two hours of sleep last night so I just might fall asleep on the table. Plus, I want to wake up at 3 am to watch the opening of the Olympics.”

“F*! You give more importance to the opening that with the actual games? Who watches the opening of the Olympics?!”

“I do. And I’m tired. We can always re-schedule for Monday night. I’ll be free then.”

“Fine! We’ll look for a sports bar so we’ll watch the opening there tonight.”

And that’s how I got my way done.

That night, we dined in a restaurant, drank, walked, drank again, then waited for the ceremony to start in our chosen sports bar. In between these, we have been interrupted by a group of flamboyant lady boys in the table next, except their table was six feet higher than ours, as if they weren’t high enough… And by interrupt, I meant incessant, annoying and obviously not welcomed. But what do they care when they’re so high up there? Before our time together was ruined, we promptly left and started walking.

It’s amazing he didn’t let it ruin our night.

While we both agreed that the opening ceremony in Beijing was more spectacular than this one in London, we were still entertained. He thanked me for dragging him into it. “No, this is for real,” he insisted. Maybe it was, cause we weren’t buzzed and he was smiling.

“I can get a girl every night, but a friend like you – if I’m lucky – I only get every couple of years.”

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Day 260-ish: The Dwarf and his Umbrella

Maximizing one's drink.

Maximizing one’s drink.

It was breakfast at a cafe. We were not in a hurry and we had not much to do that day. He was staring outside, probably waiting for what to do next.

“Ok, I’m going to give you something to solve. Afterwhich, you can ask me an unlimited number of questions answerable only by ‘yes’ or ‘no’ until you have figured out the answer to the riddle.”

“Alright.”

“Steven goes to work on weekdays and his office is in the 26th floor. On holidays and some sunny days, he is only able to reach the 23rd floor, but on rainy days and most of his usual work days he can go to the 26th floor straight away. Why?”

And this launched a series of questions and answers that lasted an hour. He had his quiet times, triumphant times, and times when he looked as though he was getting frustrated. He had some good insights, amusing ones even, but he prevailed eventually.

The answer is that Steven is a dwarf, and on rainy days, he brings an umbrella. On the usual days, there are people who can help him press the 26th floor button. On holidays, and maybe even some sunny days, he is without any aid, hence, reaching only the 23rd floor.

There was a smile on his face and a warmth inside of me. We soaked a little more of the morning sunshine and the cafe before we got up and left. He was still smiling.

Today, I may very well be solving my own version of a dwarf and his umbrella and haven’t gone out of that cafe yet.

You’re reading this, I know.


Day 330: I am a supportive friend, not a shrink.

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“I’m a mess, sis,” my cougar friend reports to me as soon as her tooch hit the couch. “On one hand, there’s my loyal husband (who’s not really her husband), and on the other is my boytoy.”

She didn’t say boytoy, but I was hoping she would. Boytoy he is a very dedicated boyfriend. While her husband is a very mild-mannered and faithful partner, Boytoy is young, fiery, and wild in the sack, which are exactly what’s lacking in her life. He also publicly displays his affection, calling for his “honey” when out in public with those booming vocals. She finds it very endearing and embarrassing at the same time. His work is not at par with her. Like I said, boytoy. Describing him as unrefined is an understatement. Contrast that with my friend who is very demure in her ways, is educated and successful. But these traits don’t figure in love.

Or should I say, addiction.

“If you had to make a choice where no one else would get hurt, who would you choose?”

With tears welling up and her hands trembling, she clearly stated Boytoy’s name.

My friend is a lost cause.

“I am rooting for hubby, but more important than that, I am rooting for your happiness. So pack up and leave. You are being kind by sparing your husband and grown kids the pain of being unfaithful, and the guilt that they are hurdles to you being happy. Cut hubby out cleanly and quickly, and start a new life.”

“…but I can’t do that!…”

“Of course you can! Imagine the happiness waiting for you on the other end! Just pack up and leave.”

She was visibly stunned. She remained unmoved for what seemed like hours as I poured my next cup of tea and drank in silence.

Like I said, I am rooting for hubby.


One Year

It has been a year since I counted from that day I decided to pick myself up. And yet I stopped blogging less than a month after. What’s happened? A lot. For one, a friend convinced me to bring my walls down and open my heart to someone new. And although that was short-lived, he still remains to be a valuable friend and confidante.

It didn’t take one year for me to turn my world around. It only took a month. And in one month, I had the great privilege to work on a Hollywood film – not too many doctors in this country have experienced the same. It was an even bigger deal for me because while others see it as a gig, I have built my specialty around that industry. Some of the best compliments I’ve received came from the Safety Director. Knowing that he thinks I’ve done a great job was fuel to my diligence fire.

In one month, I met new people. And it warms my heart when they express their appreciation for how I have been with them.

In one month, I cultivated existing relationships. It truly makes one richer to be able to name even just a handful of people whom you trust your life with.SSA45382_opt

And in just one month, I could honestly say I was already happy. Some people even swore they saw a twinkle in my eye, even though I think they were just teasing me. Regardless of its veracity, I knew in my heart that was true.

You don’t need one year to make life fulfilling. If you truly want something, you will have it in one month. In some cases even less.

I need some rejuvenating once more. I know now that I don’t need one year.


Day 12: I feel, I laugh

Yesterday after my taped interview, I went straight to the wall. It was the first time in more than a month where I climbed and came down happy. I felt so accomplished and so ecstatic that I kept climbing until my body told me it was enough.

I realized I need to re-build my endurance. The wall instructors were regaling at how my endurance was some months ago. I feel that fire again; I want everything back – my endurance, my balance, and to progress once more.

Today I got an unexpected call from my bro. He told me last month that his Christmas gift for me is a full tank. And so I got a wake-up call from him telling me that he’s on his way out of town in a few minutes and since he’s gotta give me my gift, we should go out and gas up.

This is the lasting image from the hilarious thought my brother had implanted in me. I know it's cute and it's happy, so let's leave it that way.

So that’s the story of how I got my butt off the mattress and got out of the loft before 10am without a meal in my tummy and a shower – a welcome break from my routine.

Luckily, he felt some hunger pangs, too. The next thing we know, we were having brunch at Mc Donald’s and dessert at Krispy Kreme.

My brother has always been the class clown. But during this long and happy conversation, he gave me an insight on how to attack a job

differently (and it was really good advice, too) and an image that made us laugh so hard we made so many heads turn our way. (I would share it with you if it were not too graphic.)

Laughter remains the best medicine.

Sadly, Cobra Starshp had to cancel on our afternoon coffee. That would have added icing to an already peachy day.


Day 11: Crumbling


I knew from the very first time I met Sailor Moon, we would hit it off. Last month, I had a feeling that there was a tinge of heartbreak when she mentioned her husband. I told her I have a feeling we have so many things in common in that arena. So today over lunch, she spilled everything.

I got stuck with one thing she said – that her husband had reasons for not having kids. To me, the reasons were shallow. It signalled that there is a red flag there. Having gone through discussions and different scenarios, I have once again arrived at the same conclusion – having kids won’t solve your problem…

…and that she probably needs to have an affair.

Even more fascinating was that she also thought that an affair will help.

In return for her openness, I told her the source of my depression.

Later that evening, 7-11 dude and I were catching up and he now sounded relieved and enlightened. He was thankful for the help I have given and gladly reported the epiphany he has had. And although the consequences of this epiphany meant the crumbling down of his relationship, he remains hopeful that someday they may still end with each other but with the right reasons. Staying together just isn’t the right solution.

I felt happy with his progress.

Which lead me to think: Why am I suddenly surrounded with friends whose marriages are falling apart?! What is the universe trying to tell me?


Day 8: Pseudo-vertigo

I am drinking for the sole purpose of feeling how it is again to need an assistance to ambulate, or that I have to prop myself up against the wall and railings as I ascend to my bedroom because I have no sense of muscle coordination. I am curious how it is like again to be in a state of pseudo-vertigo where everything around me is constantly swirling. And I find it amusing how it’s like to once more convince those around you repeatedly that you are still fine, all the while doing your best to keep your head off the table because it suddenly had a tremendous affinity for the floor.

I swear, that’s my main goal – to be heavily inebriated just to recall how it feels.

However, those who know what I’m going through were concerned that I am drowning myself in alcohol while wallowing in self-pity or in misery. While that may be subliminally true, I am consciously diverting my thoughts away from the source of my dreariness. I am not the one who can solve this current predicament, and it also takes time to make itself clearer. Thinking about it and torturing myself by celebrating the confusion and heartache it has caused will not solve anything.

 

Having put aside those thoughts gave room for new ones – for serious thoughts, for happy thoughts, and new ideas that can inject some enthusiasm in my every day. And these are things I desperately need because having succumbed to melancholy has pulled me down and kept me out of focus.

I am determined to find my old self back.

***

I have already downed 1 vodka ice cruiser and I thought misery loves company. If I can’t be happy, no one can be. I mean it. But as I dissect this thought, I realized this is only applicable to two people playing tango with my life.

I could continue being miserable, but I would only be digging deeper into a pool of  agony. Would I rather drown there or in a renowned amusement with the aftermath of alcohol?

You obviously figured out what I chose.

After a few raunchy episodes of Californication and at the end of my third bottle, I was in that limbo between the outposts of sobriety and possibly the first stages of mild intoxication – none of the physiological responses that I was looking forward to. At the end of that third bottle, gastritis kicked in and knocked me off the mild intoxication I was trying to penetrate.

So much for getting delirious. Epic fail.


Day 5: New Year, New Day


I spent some time on the phone with two colorful characters – Cobra Starship and 7-11 guy.

7-11 guy is my newfound friend. We’ve had some discussion on relationships and psychology. It was amazing to me that I can still enlighten some people – even though they are older and wiser – on some issues with relationships.

On the other hand, things with Cobra Starship are getting a little cheesy. I know the guy probably has had a crush on me for some time now, and I really appreciate him keeping some distance despite the fact that we feel we are kindred spirits. I say that because every conversation with him is so fluid, we can probably talk the whole day. I recall that he was a heartthrob, but given that, I am not in any way drawn to him. I feel good with the connection, but never was I comfortable with the thought of upgrading current status beyond the friend zone. I found myself being careful with my words so as not to mislead him into a parallel universe where it would seem as though I were interested.

I have to start putting Cobra Starship down. The last thing I want is a reversal by the universe – that wherein the universe will conspire to bring you towards someone whom you feel (somewhat) strongly against when it comes to the possibility of a relationship.


Day 4: Finding Value

On my 30th birthday, I was so anxious about getting old that one of my best friends tried to settle my anxiety with this – you don’t measure the quality of your life with the number of years you have been living; you measure it in love. It made sense to me that night. Unfortunately, I don’t even remember what it meant.
Perhaps I’m overthinking the message my friend wanted to impart. So I thought of the simple things that bear great meaning for me this past year:

  •  The time when Captain Barbel told some people that, “I’m alive because of her (me!).” And that before we parted ways, he whispered to me, “Thank you for saving my life.”
  • Or when Snakegirl’s mom thanked me for saving her daughter’s life.
  • When countless of adventure seekers thanked me and my team for an awesome weekend.
  • When someone I respect told me I’m a newfound friend.
  • A young producer exclaimed that “My doctor is so cool!”
  • When so many of my colleagues were amused/impressed with my so-called talent with rapping.
  • When I asked for some emotional uplifting, a friend told me,
    “Im a contractor, busy paggawa ng bahay ng client ko.But then i got a notification na friend is requesting na pakiligin sya. So sabi ko sa mga tauhan ko, “Break time muna. i need a few minutes to remind a friend of mine that she’s special in many people’s lives” 🙂 ………. Too bad, di ko natagalog. Di naintindihan ng mga tauhan ko. Pero sana naintindihan mo <kabibe> 😉 ”
  • Those times that I felt that my nurses gravitate towards me or run to me for support.
  • The feeling that came over me when I was able to look over and take care of my team during a drunken night, all the while remaining sober through all those shots.
  • Friends I haven’t seen in so long had successfully found me and re-connected with me.

We can all find love. We just need to learn to appreciate the little things to see that capsules of it have been in front of us all along.


Day 3: Rizal Day


If I had to extract some important life lessons from Rizal, it would be the following:

• You can be whatever you want to be, and there’s no better time to start than now.
• Fight for what you believe in.
• Travel and experience the world.
• Do not be afraid to be who you are.
• Learn – it’s never too late.
• Anybody can be a hero.
• Unleash your inner playboy and enjoy life to the fullest.