Monthly Archives: November 2008

Early fogey-ness

All bloodcurdling symptoms are pointing towards one alarming hunch: early fogeyness.

The trigger? I actually didn’t flinch listening to the Bee Gees! Freaking Bee Gees! What’s worse, I didn’t bother flicking the clicker and idly letting How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, Run To Me, How Deep Is Your Love and Emotion stream on my eardrums without, at the very least, chuckling, and, at the extreme, erupting into a spontaneous killing spree. The thing is that the aforementioned songs are prime equivalents of a root canal in my book.

Listen. I am as shellshocked as you are.

There is no way I am going to listen to the Bee Gees unless I’ve had my fourth Strong Ice and happened to be in an unavoidable situation like being plagued to irreversible insanity with ten drunken renditions of My Way in a karaoke bar. As I deeply care about my aural well-being, I haven’t been within a ten-mile radius of a karaoke bar in the past five years. Last time I heard the current heavy karaoke rotation is undisputedly Love Hurts by Nazareth neck to neck with Wonderful Tonight (by whoever sniffed prohibited substances and croaked this loser’s anthem). Two songs favored by talentless business executives everywhere.

I’d cite resurging depressions as an excuse but that would be lazy. In the dark corners of my childhood I recall growing up with a spinster aunt who used to play Bee Gees and Neil Sadaka until our ears bled pus. This must be the reason why I am such a psycho mess. Maybe I’d sue her for imperishable mental trauma and forfeit her estate. Evil thought, but so appealing it must be good.

Barring malevolent legal plans, the whole Bee Gees incident had me thinking: am I becoming a dried plum?

Oh my Gooood! I’m ooold! I’m gooooona dieeee!!!

Excuse the unscripted bratty melodrama; I’m trying to contain my forged terror.

Let me clarify something: more than the dread of possibly occupying the geriatric ward or being snacked on by earthworms and maggots, my greatest fear is not having anything substantial to account for my measly experience. The whole random privilege of one opportunity to make a sense is squandered, wasted, irretrievably diminished into slapdashes of embarrassments, fuckups, pains, dementia, irresponsibility and horrors strung together.

This kind of quick stop in Slumpville, I usually reserve two weeks before my birthday, but this whole Bee Gees shenanigan is hurling me head on towards Valium Country.

Trust me, you’d not want a visa there.

I recall what a beloved humorist once wrote: If life is a bowl of cheeries, then what am I doing in the pits?

Answer? Listening to Bee Gees, Erma Bombeck, listening to fucking Bee Gees.


Flicker

I haven’t had a cigarette in three weeks. And I miss it. Not in the way a nicotine-deprived individual would give an arm to get even just one puff.

I just miss it.

Standing at the patio outside my room. Tearing the pack’s plastic wrapper. Creating an opening on one of the top corners so I can access a cigarette stick. Hitting the top of the pack against my palm to facilitate its exit. Plucking it from the top of the pack with my thumb and index finger. Lightly clamping on the cigarette stick between my lips.

Lighting it. Taking the first drag. Feeling it travel down my throat, through my windpipe, that first drag permeating into my lungs’ innermost recesses. Holding my breath for a second. Or two. Or probably three.

Savoring the lightness of the moment. Exhaling a straight stream of air admixed with smoke through the narrow opening of my pursed lips.

Taking a second hit. Feeling it descend to my lungs and then ascend to my brain. Taking a third, a fourth, a fifth drag.

Enjoying the calmness of the moment.

Relishing the light buzz in my head as the elements of the cigarette envelop my brain.

Taking a sixth, a seventh, an eighth puff. Flicking the ashes off the lit tip of the cigarette and watching the former fall.

Taking a ninth puff. Dropping the nearly-spent cigarette butt on the ground. Crushing the life out of the damned thing under the sole of my shoe. Fishing the pack of smokes out from my shirt pocket. Hitting the top of the pack against my palm to facilitate ejection of another stick. Picking it out from the window atop the pack with my thumb and index finger. Placing the cigarette stick between my lips.

Setting it ablaze. Taking a fresh drag. Waiting for the low-key yet nonetheless heady buzz to commence.


Table for one

Today, it was just me, myself and I again for dinner. As if I’m not used to eating alone.

Outside of feasts during family gatherings and holidays, and the occasional romantic dates, eating has ceased to be a social activity for me for quite sometime now. It’s just this perfunctory activity that I try to do with the least possible energy usage, brain cell depletion, and emotional investment. I just go through the motions in order to sustain my physiological needs and that’s it. I’m more like a paramecium really. Quite unlike the others who spend so much time eating, not only to savor the gustatory delights of the set repast, but to catch up on the life events of those present at the table or gossip about those who aren’t. For many, eating alone is the saddest thing that can ever happen. For me, a table for one means less dishes to wash.

My utter disdain for mealtime conversations comes from two things: school and family.

For most of my grade and high school life, my day began pretty early – as early as 6 AM. Given the choice between sleeping an extra 15 minutes then rushing through my breakfast or waking up early to have a leisurely morning meal, I significantly recalled choosing the former. Add the fact that recess in school often included doing academic stuff as well, obsessive-compulsive and non-sporty that I was. In so doing, school effectively erased my need for human contact during meals.

Family. I have always hated conversations over family dinner. Every second of it is a torture. It’s best to not elaborate on this one. But succinctly put, as much as possible, I try to elude family dinners.

So eating alone is never a problem for me. It is one of the rare moments during the day that I can truly say is mine, and mine alone. I can eat wherever I want to, whatever time and pace. I don’t have to feign nonchalance with the arrival of the menu and the anticipation of the fact that I will shell out my allowance for the week at the end of a crappy meal. At least I won’t have indigestion listening or contributing to mindless talks of people at my table (and I can focus on the affairs of people in other tables!).

It can really get lonely sometimes though. Especially if you’re in a class of 90 people and nobody thought of asking you if you want to have lunch or dinner with them. No matter how long they take to decide where to eat, no matter how long they take to eat, no matter how mundane their talk is.


Unsparing and uncompromising

If one’s life is one’s ultimate value, then knowledge is required to preserve and ameliorate it. For such knowledge to be possible, one must possess the faculty which will acquire it: a fully capable, volitional consciousness that is willing to discover, explore, learn and apply. It is a mind that is incapable of deluding itself with contradictions and malice, whether from within or beyond its perceptual boundaries. It has the highest regard for facts obtained first-hand and at face value, and is narrowly focused on the essentials of an issue. It is aware of its processes, finds confidence in its efficacy and integrity, as it constantly but stealthily pronounces the verdict that one is fit to live happily, either alone or among knowers of the same kind.

Spartan thinking. But the dweeb isn’t Spartan. The way I function is a completely different story.


Tragicomedy

Now and again I get the feeling of being ensnared in a dreamlike store filled into bursting with all the toys I cried for but never had as a child.

Like when I look at overwhelming beauty who wanders around unaware of it’s quavering truth.

A heartbreaking flawlessness. An exquisite irony. A paradoxical joke.

The fact that I didn’t miss it when it breezes through makes me burst into a wistful disbelieving smile.


The critical significance of caffeine in practically everything.

Cosmic alignment has it that my morning will be a brilliant concoction of mania, stress and prickliness. In as much as I want to go placidly amidst the noise and haste as Desiderata would put it, I just want to run berserk and stab people at random.

That or probably detonate nuclear reactors at the bathrooms of campaign strategists.

I had my first twilight zone moment today. Aside from the fact that my good buddy MC is frantically sending me warped messages, I also had my fair share of blasted symphony of off-key gongs and cymbals crashing with uneven loud thumps shrieking ‘Deadline! Deadline!’ in my head.

I furiously thumbed messages in reply to my schmuck friend.

The Dweeb: Go away!

Schmuckoo: I can’t! I’m contemplating a profound treatise on how to save the world from strife and hunger, and how I can promote world peace.

The Dweeb: How fucking noble! We should rally to bronze you or probably campaign to have your very own commemorative postage stamp! How about I propose lynching you on Easter Sunday at the Vatican Plaza?

Schmuckoo: Why not the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame instead? Or, or, or how about the induction to Nobel Prize Laureate List?

The Dweeb: Fat fucking chance, smart ass! You can’t spell for shit! And oh, I’m sitting next to a guy unflappably reading ‘How Bad Can I Be And Still Go To Heaven?” Aaaahh, the cosmic signs!

Schmuckoo: Spiritually uplifting! I am so broke I am sick with worry! How can I nurse 500 Iranian refugees?

The Dweeb: How? Easy. Follow my warped philosopher’s stratagem: Bring me your poor, your tired, your oppressed, and let’s club them to death!

He didn’t reply. He’s probably lost in the haze of a delusion. The one where he’s the illicit love child of Nelson Mandela and the pious Mother Teresa.

A few minutes later, my phone beeped.

Schmuckoo: Be gone, cynic!

Oh great, the pleasure of being driven away out of annoyance! Cynic? Me? A caustically warped way at looking at things is also a virtue. Unless of course you’re one of those unspeakably buckled people with no smidgen ironic protein strain in your vein. To which I would be glad to educate you in the sophisticated art of looking at the world through jaundiced eyes. Or club you to death.

Whichever is applicable is determined by whether I had coffee or not.


Seclusion aftermaths

No, I was not in exile, but two weeks wrapped in absence I returned to a room full of embittered revelations. I realized I have left in a hurry with no quick missives scrawled in parchment, tucked in the doorstep. I have not swept properly for broken debris I might step on my way back. The urgency of the concern took precedent over good manners and the sudden silence confounded the orphaned room with rumors, innuendos, whispers, anxieties, suspicions and cries.

Today, I return with emptiness and cold wrath greeting me by the fence. Words took shape, took space, took armors and hit me fierce and unsuspecting.

Long ago I defy myself that words will have no power over me. I will not let reckless words get to me, let them injure me. I will refuse to be wounded by an ill turn of phase. I will be invincible to the venoms of words. I will not be polluted by its cold dismissals.

I am wrong.

Words spare no one and they can banish you into the cruelty of lack of sensation where they do not take middle initials but leave you heaving with lesions and craters. They rise and fall to shallow breathing, drowning out the soundlessness of an ache floating in search of a proper name.