Hun 14, 2003

2:26 AM June 13, 2003

After some ritual after another before what should've been sleep, I got a second wind and couldn't shake off the thought of doing something. So I postponed sleep until that time when the cocks would crow to announce a coming day. I know better than those conceited birds anyway. The day is now. It is here, as I write, attending me. It is early dawn, four and a half hours before the workers would chat about wives while pounding the galvanized sheets into a roof. I would wake up then, after two hours of contesting tongues and hammers right outside my jalousies.

That would be later though. The day is already here with me. A queer day too, this Friday the thirteenth. A day ago, it was Independence Day. I will see though that some will celebrate it later, when they will wake up around two hours after my two hours. It'll be commemorated by free hours with hopefully some money to do something else than switch channels for the competing network quips, jokes, contests, and prizes of noontime programming. Everything but ads! After that, a small siesta, merienda, the chinovela, then the telenovela line-up.

With some moolah, the rites would be a bit different. Many would queue before the malls to be screened for guns or bombs that would surely ruin an independence day. Specially an independence day sale, complete with a poster boy with arms permanently raised in some puzzling defiance. Instead of the monumental pose with bolo and gun, poster boy's hands carry shopping bags aloft.

I think the idea of a long weekend is welcome by most. That is, as opposed to having June 12 off only to work again on Friday. Maybe there is prudence too in moving Independence as opposed to the long-ago practice of declaring sandwiched days as co-holidays of sorts. I haven't been arguing much these past few days and I won't start now. Why duel over dates independence? I ask rather, eh independence? Nah. I won't even dwell on those curious jokes, one saying that the president will move even Christmas and New Year.

I will sleep the sleep I foresee from the slackening of my fingers and the drooping of my lids. A few hours later, the clatter and chatter of the workmen will be offset by my phone's alarm. I will rise to whatever else this day would mean to me.

After the impromptu ceremonies of the morning and noon, I will move out. Outside the gate, on my way out to the main road, I may choose the path to the right. If I'm lucky, I'll hear the strains from an unknown pianist playing. If I'm not, I'll get the bark of an unseen vicious-sounding dog.

The left is an equally clean and even path. Clean enough that I wonder why there's this spot which never ceases to smell of cat droppings. I can't see the dung but I suspect one or two or all three of the black cats that always cross me. Maybe the dog scares the shit out of them.

Tough luck! The left is the shorter route.
I hope therefore I am.

Hun 12, 2003


It is the right time to remember you again. I will teach the subject you taught me. I reckon that if I could get to them around half as effectively as you got to me, I'll be made. I'm glad to have rid myself of the technical writing courses at least for a semester. My criticism-heavy demo made sure of that. My gamble paid off. Now I'll be teaching what I've always wanted to teach, regardless of the fact that it's a good stretch away from my courses, both under and post-graduate. Then also, a further stretch from my previous job at the foundation.

Still, is anything at all really that far from the humanities?

I don't know how I'll measure up to you, or at least to the half that I aspire to. Despite all appearances, I'm taking this seriously. I'm familiar with people who could do this easily. I look at them and I thought I would envy them, but I didn't. I looked up to you and saw that when you taught, it all seemed so difficult. Not because you were incompetent. Not even because you were old and had to strain to hear us shout out our petty answers to your great, whispered questions. I saw that it was because you felt you had the burden of thirty-five young lives hanging on your word. Lives. I would think that to have that onus, one would go the way of the indifferent, the depressed, or the messianic. Yet, you were none of these. You were just a mother to children you never had.

I'm aware of people who think that the humanities should be easy, or worse, obsolete. I thought I would be forever angry with them. Yet how can I remain so? They were just not fortunate enough to have you for a teacher. It is a definite fault of this world that there are so few of you and so many of us, small minds.

I have one thing to my advantage. I know my measure firsthand. I know you. With measure comes direction. I will remain clear-headed for this semester at least. I will keep the other words at bay and forge on. Yet I must tell you, your measure is only half of it. Probably even the lesser half.

In the end, what would be left of the class are thirty-five or so lives. Their maesure will define my work. They will decide me more than I, them. You've always known that haven't you? In such a way, I have decided you: look now and see that I look no higher. I see you.

You have thus been remembered. I go now. There is much work to be done.