April 13, 2012

Street Survival

Before moving back home—before motherhood—my street survival skills were way up there. Give me rush hour, a jeep with one empty seat and a throng of people fighting for that one slot, and chances are I would end up doing the victory dance. Running after jeepneys, clambering up moving buses, squeezing into crowded trains—these served as my daily agility test of sorts. I may have sucked at physical education, but I did find practical uses for the simulated sprints and the jumping jacks.

Home provided little challenge to the inner agile me. Barring a parade, a procession or a funeral, traffic is usually five minutes, max. The ride home takes 15 minutes, eight if the husband is really, really hungry, in which case he morphs into Mario Andretti. Downtown is a crowd of people, not vehicles.

All that changed two weeks ago, though. A big supermarket had just opened, promising the attendance of a minor star. A senator was also in town for the state college’s commencement exercises. And, the husband had some place else to go so I—-who was born to ride, not drive--was left with some me time.

For once, there were no tricycles at the terminal. They were choked somewhere, and the two or three that were able to squeeze past were no match for the huge wave of people scrambling for rides. Something in me clicked, and fortysomething me assumed my street savviness of two decades ago.

My first attempt was almost a success. It was a success, actually, except I realized I was boxing out someone’s grandma. The second attempt was a cinch, and I rode on with a sense of smugness. Just as I was nearing third base, my bubble burst. The tricycle made a left turn, and I ended up someplace else. Obviously, in my excitement to practice my box-out powers, I misread the sign and took the wrong tricycle.

Alas, I may (still) have the agility of a twentysomething, but my vision is 20 plus 20.

February 13, 2012

Rainy Day Favorites

Yesterday, it rained buckets again. Our street was a huge puddle, and our backyard was a mini swimming pool.

As a resident of one of the rainiest cities in the country, I've known just about every kind of rain. Slight drizzles, heavy downpours, steady streams. I was once sailing in the middle of the sea when it rained so hard I was practically bruised. And there are the rains of the suspense-movie kind, the kind that you wait out in semi isolation and the kind that have you imagining scenes from Psycho.

My Blair Witch Project state-of-mind notwithstanding, there are no rainy-days-and-mondays blues for me. I love it when it rains, especially because of happy memories of no-school days, comfort food and paper boats.

My rainy-day favorites--then and now:

1. Cozying up with a good book, a piping hot cup of coffee and a warm woolen blanket

2. Sinangag, tinapa and kamatis, eaten kamayan-style. Sinigang, too. And instant noodles and Chippy. I guess the rains have a way of whetting the appetite.

3. Poking canvas roofs/tents with a stick/an umbrella and letting the rainpools gush forth. When we were kids and leptospirosis was not a concern, we would sneak out to the "floodier" part of the village and wade, wade and wade. Or we would sail paper boats.

4. Movie marathons. Call me cheap, but Patayin sa Shokot si Remington really had me in stitches. My other rainy-day must-views: Birdcage, In and Out, To Wong Foo Must be something about the weather, huh?

5. Lounging around all day in pajamas and house clothes. It's too rainy for anyone to call, anyway.

What are your rainy-day favorites?

February 6, 2012

Kodak Moments

I grew up in the age of branding. Toothpaste was called colgate, never mind if you're at the sari-sari store looking for Close-Up. Our ref, a trusty old GE, was called frigidaire, and when we ran out of LPG the boy would lug the Shellane tank to buy "gasul." During brown-outs, we would prop up the petromax.

"Kodak," by far, was the brand that easily found its way to "genericity." Mang Diego, the school photographer, was the para-kodak, and when we had to have our pictures taken, we had to go to the studio kay mapa-kodak. Fuji, Agfa and Polaroid were unceremoniously dumped into one generic label: Kodak.

Alas, Kodak--the brand--is no more. Almost, that is. The recent news that Kodak Eastman had gone belly up was inevitable, considering that the world has gone digital. The last time I actually used film was six years ago, when my daughter turned one.

Of course, I have boxes and boxes of memories captured by Kodak--although at the time of the taking I didn't know they would be memories. My life thus far, in fact, is a catalogue of Kodak moments, from the black and whites to the grainy technicolor to the full color. I have memories of purging the more embarrassing parts, as well, watching idly as flames turned pictures into blotches of chemicals before reducing them to black powder.

Like everyone else who grew up with the brand, however, I feel a certain sense of loss. It's like the passing of an era, really. I felt the same when the last of the Polaroid factories closed down. Or when Sony announced that it would stop making the Walkman. Suddenly, I feel--ahem--creaky. And to borrow a word from my college days, terribly senti,. It isn't so much the brand itself as the romantic notions attached to it.

For the past weeks, I have been LSSing on this '70s song. I do thank Kodak for capturing the times of my life. As I'm sure you do, too.

January 30, 2012


Is it just me or did the Holidays just zip by? I feel as though I had just put up the tree, and now it's time to take it back down. I don't think I even completed my shopping list this year.

Not that I wasn't into the Christmas spirit. I was as wrapped up in the excitement as the little girl who had her own countdown. So many non-holiday things cropped up between the countdown and the real thing, though.

And now it's almost February. Which means it's too late for New Year resolutions. Late, even, for Chinese New Year resolutions. My planner is barely able to cope with the normal, everyday stuff to have space for the more creative thoughts, blog-worthy ones included.

Really, there should be a month between December and January. Time enough to tie loose ends before tying--and unraveling--new knots. Time enough to take a deep breath, survey the scene and move on to the business of moving on.

As it is, 2012 kicked in 30 days ago. The dragon has been here for a week. Meanwhile, I am still dealing with the dust--and the files--of 2011. Transiting from there to here, from A to B, is leaving me almost breathless.