Chips

Rough uneven edges

A shower of grains spilled at every bite

Salty, but not too overpowering to the taste

One pop after another

Can’t, won’t stop now

Leave the bag empty

Leave no trace, not a single grain in sight

Lick the remaining goodness on your fingertips

Anticipate the next bag you cut open wide.

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I was busy reviewing a case when I noticed that my reading area had gotten dim. I thought either my eyes were getting tired, or there was someone hovering my area and covering the light. As it turns out, the fluorescent lamp nearest to me had just officially died, and unfortunately for me, the Maintenance Office claims to have no stored bulbs in its supplies. Tough luck. The light from my computer screen is not enough. This is torture for someone with poor eyesight and migraine.

On a lighter note, I just asked an officemate, who is a mother, to serve as an ‘ilaw ng tahanan’. Corny, but it made both of us laugh anyway.
Obstacles. Minor compared to what most are experiencing.
Like in most obstacles, I had two options. One, to dwell on this negativity, rant my head off, and succumb to whatever miserable state I was in. Or two, be more optimistic and claim that as soon as tomorrow (with fingers crossed), my ‘problem’ will have its solution.
There’s an obvious right choice. However, sometimes the obvious right choice is difficult and challenging to do, so I tend to do the other. I rant. I complain. I explode. Sometimes it solves the problem. Most often, it does not.
And that’s why I chose to do the right, more sensible thing. I feel good about it.
Fast forward to a few hours later. Here I am, in the dark again, stuck in the most terrible traffic, faced with yet another obstacle. I am tired. I am hungry. I have food, but I don’t want to eat here. I want to be home with family.
My driver, who’s probably already in his 70’s, seems more tired and much hungrier. He seems more anxious, too.
We talk. I offered him candies and some takeout food, which he happily accepted. He now has a smile on his face, and so do I.
One hour and thirty minutes (and counting) for what was supposed to be just a 20-minute ride home. Unless this car had long mechanical legs or wings, then I can’t do anything (rant, complain, blame myself for choosing the wrong day to run an errand), but wait and be patient.
Patience. My thoughts run back and forth to the fluorescent lamp (or the lack thereof) at the office and the decision to eat some of the takeout food that I have. Just a bit more, we’re moving. Slowly, but moving anyway.
I blink, and it’s not as dark anymore.
I’m home. ❤️

Much Ado About The Loo (A Reflection On and About Public Restrooms, Among Other Things)

I remember Spider-man whining about how having superpowers is both a blessing and a curse.

You know what I think is both a blessing and a curse? PUBLIC RESTROOMS.

Public restrooms provide the momentary, but immediate and much-needed comfort and relief. It’s not meant to, but it often serves as a witness and venue for when certain matters/issues need to be dealt with privately. Most of the time, at least in my case, it is where I get the most meaningful reflections and the best creative ideas for writing. Am I the only one who reflects, meditates, or composes essays while peeing?

Public restrooms are a blessing.

All these are quickly disregarded though when you chance upon a public restroom smelling foul. While I know it’s not supposed to smell like your own bathroom, I feel the smell should at least be neutral or clean. Or like a bathroom cleanser, maybe? The foul smell assures you the place has not been properly maintained, and that the stench will more or less stick to your clothes better than magnet on steel. The smell is an assault to the senses. Scratch that. The smell and appearance are an assault to the senses.

One restroom I frequent was recently renovated, and with that came a few new facilities. It now has a huge mirror. The tiles have been changed, too. Gone are the yellowish-used-to-be-white ones it once had. The cubicle doors are likewise brand new, with fully-functioning locks. Gone are the days when I had to hold onto the door while semi-squatting on the toilet. That, by the way, is every woman’s hidden talent. Take a bow, ladies.

Blessings, right?

Not quite. Not with the additional provision of bidets in every cubicle. This one’s a menace. A menace, I tell you.

But first, a brief vocabulary lesson. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines the word ‘bidet’ as “a bathroom fixture used especially for bathing the external genitals and the anal region.” It’s clear which part of one’s body bidets are meant to clean. And although I understand why this particular fixture was provided, I can’t help but also think how bad of an idea it is, particularly in a public restroom. I, for one, feel it’s very unhygienic to have or use bidets in public restrooms, but that’s just me. And this is even assuming, bidets are used properly – correctly. Here’s a thought: what if it is not?

Since the renovation and the installation of bidets, I have never seen this particular restroom this filthy. The cubicle floors are always flooded with puddles of water, and the seats are always doused with a mixture of water and urine. With all the amount of water, err –liquid, you see, you’d think at least the inside of the toilet is clean, right? I give people way too much credit and benefit of the doubt, I know, because it seems with the newly-installed bidets, people have forgotten how to use the toilet flush. Of course, the sink counter is not spared. It would take a whole of effort to leave the restroom with a dry shirt after brushing your teeth.

Unrest and discomfort.  Curses!

From public restrooms and other office or school facilities, to social media, free speech and expression, suffrage – these are all reasons to be thankful. Blessings. If only we do not abuse them. Curses.

But borrowing the words of Uncle Ben in Spider-Man, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Just like with everything you own, have, and enjoy, you have to value it, take care of it, and respect everyone else who uses or has it. You lose that, then everything just plainly becomes a curse, for you and for everyone else.

I still use this particular restroom, mainly because more often I don’t have a choice but to. I still wish for a day when I get to see it in pristine condition, meaning no stench, no unrecognizable liquid in sight — a place that can actually live up to its name — a comfort room.

 

But until then, as with everything else (other public facilities, social media, free speech and expression, suffrage), I will continue to proceed with care and caution, I continue to arm myself with enough toilet paper, (p)wet wipes, and alcohol with every visit.

Notify

It’s a new day marked by the sun’s warm breeze

That slowly drifts in her room through the rainbow-tinted windows

She gently opens her eyes and quickly begins to have sweet fleeting thoughts of him

She wonders, also hopes and half-expects,

Do I have a message from him?

Knowing clearly well that a message meant he thought of her, too

And that he had greeted the day ahead with the same wish and hope that she had

She is not aware of it, but even before she had stood and gotten out bed

She had already decided on the kind of day she’ll have

Where a message meant the promise of the most wonderful day

And where none meant she’d rather not have stood and just slept the day away

This is how she lives

Day after day, after

Her happiness, her sadness, her life

All depending on the time and effort

He was willing to offer and give

So today, she reaches for her phone with great anticipation

Anxious and nervous

She reaches and struggles with her thumb

Unaware of the tragedy in her reality

How she relies on someone else for the inevitable

Happiness or sadness that’s yet to come.

Squirrel

Picture this: You’re on your usual quiet morning. It’s 10AM, and you’re already either busy with work or still ogling over the latest news on the internet.

Then in comes one of your workmates. There’s a distance between you and the office entrance, but you’re sure that workmate has arrived because she just greeted the office security with a “Good morning!” at the top of her voice, which reminds you of the same amount of cheer a preschool teacher greets five year olds. Workmate does this to everyone she passes by on her way to her desk — you included, except after she greets you, she lingers by your desk for some chit-chat about her commute to work this morning — every morning, and why she came in late today — and every day. She engages you in a conversation, which you accept out of courtesy because you just don’t have it in you to burst her bubble this early in the day.

Somehow that conversation ends, and she heads on to her desk greeting more people before she finally takes a seat. You, on the other hand, continue on with work (or your browsing), thinking you’re done with her chattiness for now, knowing fully well though, that the day has just begun, and the worst is yet to come.

Sometime in the day, not long after your first encounter, while you have your nose buried in all the paper work, a weird feeling of someone or something hovering over interrupts you. So you slowly, cautiously lift your head to see — there she is, trying to keep herself from giggling — almost as though hovering over you just as you suspected. This creeps you out, and you let her know, but she doesn’t care because she goes on engaging you again on yet another senseless conversation. The conversations are fine, you can probably look past that. Probably. But it’s more than the conversations, it’s the time both of you spend on it; it’s her loud voice —the kind that even her whispers sound like it’s coming from a megaphone; and it’s the animated way she tells her stories — complete with body gestures, yes, body gestures with her arms flying all over the place. It’s a whole show, and it’s a show she enjoys performing in.

This annoys you because although you’re an outgoing person and enjoy the once in a while mingling and socializing, you do value your ‘alone time’. And when it calls for that, you need people to understand, know, recognize, and acknowledge personal boundaries. This one particular workmate though is not capable of that, you feel. You’re tempted, every single time she comes to you, to tell her to back off or at least take a step back, but you don’t because you know it will offend her — terribly.

It’s quite a pickle you’re in, huh? This is your reality every day, at least at work, or when that particular workmate is around.

Your workmate oddly reminds you of a cartoon squirrel. The kind with two large front teeth, always munching on a nut, always lurking around, always with a seemingly crazy annoying smile on her face. And like a cartoon squirrel, oddly too, and admittedly, workmate’s demeanour annoys the heck out of you, but not in the way that would make you want to throw a shoe at her at every single encounter. She’s annoying, but not that annoying.

If you were both cartoon characters, workmate would be Dee-Dee from Dexter’s Laboratory, and you would be Daria (or if Daria’s too much, maybe Eeyore). You’re not just from different cartoons series, but you also do not (and should never be) in the same one. You’re just too opposite; and no, unlike what Paula Adbul believes in, opposites do not always attract.

Actually, come to think of it, in your case, opposites do attract because why else would workmate always ‘squirrel around’ you in the first place, right?

Point is, things — your work world (at least between you and workmate) would be a much better place if workmate just knew where to draw the line and actually acknowledge it.

That, or if you just had more patience in you than you have now. More patience to understand that not everyone’s as introverted as you are. And some people, like workmate, are just naturally harmless squirrels. 



Detach

I stand in the middle of a field

Endless tall greens surround me

I feel the cool chill of the wind brush on my face

I close my eyes and hear the leaves whisper

I have no clue where to go, or what to do, and how to start

Do I walk, do I run

I just stand there, in the middle of nowhere, with all the chaos just passing me by

The sun rises, and then it sets

Beginning and endings — all happening right before my eyes

Within my reach, and mine for the taking

Yet I do nothing

Except stand there

And experience the world in still.

Darling

 

Through the darkest and murkiest of paths

Even and especially through powerful wind and rain

And the highest hikes up a sharp-edged mountain

No matter how impossible to cross and bear

Darling, we held onto each other’s hand tightly

We made each other strong – – – stronger than before

We gave each other courage – – – looking forward to each day and all its challenges

Darling, it’s never easy, but all are worthwhile with you beside me

I promise you now the same promise I gave before

To continue to be stronger when you are weak and tired

To continue to protect when you are faced with danger

To vow to always love and never let you go

To never leave your side and face every day together – – – forever and ever.