about the talking fish

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Writer. Wheelman. Occasional DIY mechanic. Walking collection of hang-ups. Hopeless romantic. Old-school. Analog soul in a digital world. I am all of these things and more.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Prescription for a bad day

The glow of a sodium street light.

Misted-up windows.

The sound of your breath.

The smell of your hair and skin.

Frosty kisses.

Hugs that seem to go on and on.

Thank you, Mav.

Blowing it out of proportion

You are pathetic.

If you are not willing to forgive me you are simply being a big spoiled brat. My transgression isn't even that big. You shame a lot of guys by the size and fragility of your ego.

Grow up.

Craziness on our driveway

The ECU on my dad's old Trooper decided to give up the ghost a week ago. Without an ECU, the big hulking SUV gets relegated to the role of "nice, imposing go-anywhere vehicle that can't go anywhere."

Because my dad visits farms regularly, he really does need the four-wheel-drive off-road capability on his ride (unlike a lot of posers I know). Unfortunately, the ECU will cost PhP91,000 to replace and, because the dealers don't keep it in stock, they have to order it from Isuzu Japan...which automatically introduces a three-month wait. Three months!!! For someone who visits farms in Baliwag regularly, the loss of the Trooper is more than a minor inconvenience.

He called me aside once and admitted eyeing Subaru's new Forester. He said he was torn between it and the new CY4A Mitsubishi Lancer/Galant Fortis, but was leaning toward the Scooby because of the mud-plugging ability. If he bought the Lancer, he'd keep the Trooper. Our garage already struggled containing four cars, so rationally speaking I expected the Forester to show up in the driveway.

Imagine my surprise when I pulled up to our gate last night at 11:30 pm and saw this in the driveway.

My dad is nuts. He got a Lancer 2.0GT with a manual gearbox. A manual gearbox!!! Here was a bloke who complained about sore knees pushing and feathering the clutch in city driving. Yet here he was, with a brand-spanking-new Lancer with the "dreaded" clutch pedal. And where is the Trooper going to sit when it's repaired?

I mean, the CY4A Lancer/Galant Fortis is a handsome car, no doubt (notwithstanding a very high rump---a curse for backing up), but I shake my head at the sheer impracticality of my dad's decision. I survived 25 years of him acting rationally. I guess this wasn't without precedent, though.

Oh well. It's his money.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stupidly happy...at last.

In the end, I had to give in to what my heart was telling me all along. The white elephant in the room had made its presence known all too frequently and denying it was futile.

Initially I tried to fight it, denying that which stood right in front of my eyes. I was just too afraid of my past mistakes, of screwing up again, of victimizing yet another with the vengeful misogyny I realized I was capable of inflicting. I had been alone for far too long and, not knowing any better, I actually thought I would miss it when it left, as if it were a good friend when it actually didn't do me any good.

But she kept her hope and never, ever gave up on me, even if I violently pushed her away. When we reconnected and relaxed our bounds, and the dust settled, I realized I simply wanted to spend my time with her. With her, I do not have to keep thinking about what to talk about or how to act, afraid of stumbling or falling silent. As my friend Dynee said, being with her is not a matter of "walking on eggshells." She is not perfect, but our souls find mutual comfort in each other's company just the way we are---and that is simply all that matters.

I have grown tired of cheap, sordid affairs. I have grown weary of chasing kites that have flown away. I do not want to think of one more what-might-have-been. My heart was right. After so many years, I deserved to be happy again---and I could think of no better person to be stupidly happy with.

I want nothing more than to melt in your arms and breathe into your lips. Sure, it took too damn long. But it feels like I've come home.

I love you, Mav.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hitting the spot

Perhaps I may have been wrong about people not appreciating me and my efforts at work. If the results of the recent "secret encourager" activity are anything to go by...apparently sometimes I know just how exactly to hit the spot.

My encouragee holds a special place in my photos of my colleagues for never smiling in them, save for one. Basically I compiled all of them and showed her how important smiling is. I kept at the "smile" theme the whole time. I left her a chicken empanada pie this morning because its half-moon shape can look like a toothy grin. I reminded her to smile because for all she knows she could be on candid camera.

Winning at this game meant your encouragee would have to be able to guess whom he/she was. I purposely downplayed winning at this event. To me this activity was a golden opportunity to do something nice for someone I didn't know very well. Turning it into a game was besmirching the good will. Then again, perhaps an incentive had to be in place for people to actually get around to doing it.

I won; she managed to guess who I was without me leaving blatant clues as to who I was. But winning felt strangely empty. I felt more of a winner when I got feedback from her a couple of days ago, that she was actually feeling encouraged by what I was doing.

That was a bigger victory for me.

Who says Brits have no humor?

This weekly blog email from one of my UK counterparts, Ismail Amla, just made my day.

Quoting verbatim:

I went home on Tuesday night this week to son number 2 putting the fear of death into his younger brother and sister. He was telling them how the world was going to end at 8.30 on Wednesday morning when the 'time machine' was to be turned on. He was talking about the most powerful particle collider on the planet where I am told, the plan is to crash together subatomic particles with enough energy to re-create the intense conditions that existed one trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. Son number 2 had convinced his siblings that the black hole was going to swallow everything and they might as well give him their PSP (mobile playstation) that he has been trying to get his hands on for a couple of days. My timely intervention saved them from handing over the PSP but we did have some trouble getting them to bed that night! I have yet to come up with a suitable punishment for the trouble maker.

Hahaha! Cheeky little bugger...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Career crossroads

My friend Angiela is leaving for Washington D.C. at the end of the month. We hadn't seen each other in a long, long while, so she asked me to dinner at Robinsons Galleria last Friday.

While we were talking I found myself getting jealous of her position. She'll be earning ten times her old salary at her previous firm over there, and she'll find it a lot easier compared to her overworked/underpaid days here. She's even getting a car once she gets there, too.

I felt happy for her. But compared to all that, I felt a little sorry for myself. I have nowhere near the toxicity of her workload, but I do have to admit I'm not paid enough for the kind of work I'm doing. My eyes turned green with envy for the better part of a weekend.

I work in an industry I don't exactly love. I work in a company that pays its employees peanuts compared to other companies...at least until I work my ass off and get at least 4 promotions, at which point the pay becomes merely "livable." I'm not getting any younger.

But I'm not willing to leave the Philippines, either.

I'm free of any extra-contractual obligations now. At this point I'm not quite sure what I should be doing. At least thanks to PJ, I know that I'm not really in as bad a position as I had thought. I guess the best thing I could do is do well in my current assignment, and tough it out.

Good things are worth repeating

Mav was feeling a little down last week, so I asked her out in an effort to get her mind off things. We ditched the usual movie. We ate at Jipan, one of my favorite Japanese restaurants; made absolute fools of ourselves at Timezone; window-shopped for shoes, books and sportswear before committing to a purchase of Havaianas flip-flops; and ate Jamaican patties and Quickly ice shakes.

That Saturday felt much, much better. On previous occasions, it felt as if we were trying to rush through the time we had together. Now, though, I felt at ease and more relaxed, and the day went by better overall.

I realized how much I missed her company. Now that we were used to each other's quirks, the old hang-ups we used to have just faded away, replaced by good, clean fun.

We'll do this again, Mav.