December 2007


Today I can breathe a huge sigh of relief as I put the final touches on a task which took nearly three months to finish. This is probably the hardest endeavor I had to accomplish this year. Much of the difficulty, I’m quite embarrassed to admit, comes from several days – even weeks – of inactivity. I had been, during that period, no different from this lazy feline –

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Btw, this is our cat, this is not our cat. This stray cat that Curlytop named Ser, has found shelter at night or during lazy hours of the day in our home. Or it could be, that we humans have found his shelter which Ser so graciously allowed us to inhabit. Nearly two years of living together haven’t endeared us to Ser. Most times we are regarded with varying degrees of contempt, condescension (This silly humans) or treated with outright indifference.

Our pleasant greetings of, “Hi, Ser!” are never answered with any semblance of being heard or our presence acknowledged. Even repeatedly calling him, “Ser! Ser! SER!” will surely fall on deaf cat ears. Ser will simply continue what he is doing like licking himself, looking the other way, or keeping his eyes shut until we tire of trying to get his attention and simply leave. Rejected once again. By a cat!

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Our frustration and dejection from this cat’s oooh so annoying behavior sometimes tempts us to maybe fling something at him — like an old slipper — but we can never quite bring ourselves to do anything more than cast angry glances at Ser. Our eldest child tells me Ser has some mysterious power that holds us back. I tell her, no, kindness stays our hands. Darn.

It’s eleven days till Christmas, I can sense our videoke-loving neighbors gearing up for the celebrations ahead. I don’t think I’ve encountered any other place where Extreme Magic-singing is taken very seriously. I mean, how else would you explain doing karaoke at high noon? While the singing may not be that bad (we even find ourselves singing along to some tunes from time to time), some of the oft-repeated songs are just grating to the nerves.

Ushering the new year with “singing” however, may seem to be a safer alternative. But sans a firecracker ban in Quezon City, karaoke and firecrackers are air and noise pollution at their worst. I remember close to midnight last New Year’s eve, some guy turned the darn videoke machine full blast and kept shouting “Boom tarat tarat!” over and over, his “song” and the barrage of firecrackers (something else our neighbors take very seriously) turning into a horrible crescendo. While it did drive away the evil spirits, the living nightmares are still around to haunt us this coming holidays.

I told Curlytop, if ever I pulled something like that, I wouldn’t know how to face anybody afterwards.

The other night, both of us dreading what would be in store for us come New Year’s eve, we started to consider holing up in a hotel room where the kids could watch some fireworks display from a safe distance (if going out of town wouldn’t push through). Seems a bit anti-social no? Unfortunately, I don’t know how turning this relatively peaceful neighborhood into a war zone come New Year’s eve could be a (welcome) community event.

How I envy Davao City residents who can stay in their homes and welcome the new year in peace.

It’s been several months since my last trip to Salon.com and I was a bit disappointed that the featured articles weren’t very interesting. There is one on Go green this holiday season — timely — but I feel there are too many articles like this going around, posing as being Earth-friendly and yet trying to convince you to keep buying stuff. In keeping with the true, green spirit of the season, one would be better off with this Greener and Simpler Christmas article by the EcoWaste Coalition.

From Salon I checked out another favorite, Slate.com and got a bit overwhelmed. Literally, too much info. If you want to know, though, why Shrek’s “better out than in” motto doesn’t hold true anymore, check out Hold the Fart and Global Farting. Peta scores, while as carnivores, can we simply not care or are (tasty) alternatives in sight?

I just suddenly remembered (without really knowing why) this Pablo Neruda poem. In my mind I hear the voice of Glenn Close as she reads this piece, included in the Il Postino (The Postman) soundtrack. I miss this CD which was borrowed from me a long time ago.

I Like for You to be Still

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
and you hear me from far away and my voice does
not touch you.
It seems as though your eyes had flown away
and it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouth.

As all things are filled with my soul
you emerge from the things, filled with my soul.
You are like my soul, a butterfly of dream,
and you are like the word Melancholy.

I like for you to be still, and you seem far away.
It sounds as though you were lamenting, a butterfly
cooing like a dove.
And you hear me from far away, and my voice does not
reach you:
Let me come to be still in your silence.

And let me talk to you with your silence
that is bright as a lamp, simple as a ring.
You are like the night, with its stillness and constellations.
Your silence is that of a star, as remote and candid.

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
distant and full of sorrow as though you had died.
One word then, one smile, is enough.
And I am happy, happy that it’s not true.