Saturday, June 25, 2011


While Typhoon Falcon was raging outside, I was stuck in my warm, cozy palace called Philippine General Hospital. Taft Avenue was like a moat surrounding this colossal structure, so my 24-hour duty was relatively quiet and free from the barrage of patients invading the establishment. A marketplace - that's the usual scenario in this place. Yesterday, I spent half my time taking advantage of the fringe benefits my low-paying job affords - free internet.

Outside my window, I could see torrential rains pouring down the city. The sky was like an Emo over-acting lady who can't stop crying. She has been having her tantrums for the past 48 hours and she still hasn't stopped. I fear another Ondoy. I am a rain lover but I don't welcome another Ondoy. It's just too much.


Last night, I had this rare chance of chatting with an old friend, His Royal Weirdness otherwise known as My Friend J of the McDreamy Fame. I haven't seen him for some time. But as mentioned before, in my previous entries, conversations with him are always better than anything I could ever think of. They're so good I had to avoid them.

Anyway, we talked about the rains, the beautiful inconsistencies of life, and the diverging paths of our inertia - his towards unstoppable restlessness and mine towards remaining still. Life has been good to both of us, I believe. Connections of this sort make me think of karma, or destiny, or unexplained phenomena that you'd rather leave unexplained.

Then I remember Ondoy. Storms come and go. Sometimes they come when you need them the most, to rid your life of certain unnecessary rubbish. Sometimes, they just come, for no reason at all.

Perhaps lightning strikes the same place twice. Thrice. Many more times. Perhaps storms follow the exact same path. Perhaps parallel lines meet in the end. Perhaps the things we avoid are the things we need, and the things that hurt us the most are the same things that keep us alive.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I Miss My Whoring Days

Some months ago, I decided to turn over a new leaf and stop my conversation whoring. I felt I needed to give myself a break, that I owed myself some self respect, so I decided to turn down all my whoring customers. I made lies, fabricated diseases to shoo them away, blamed my depression and anhedonia and even my poverty, conditioned my brain to abhor alcohol, and just stopped entertaining anyone in need of my whoring skills. When pushed against the wall (i.e when I'm face-to-face with anyone who expects to be entertained by good conversation), I just give them the stare, respond with short, boring statements, nod once in a while, and doze off.

This morning, I woke up feeling empty. I'm probably a conversation nymphomania and I miss my whoring. Now my steady customers have gone, they're probably getting their fix from other women. Too bad. Here I am, an old whore who has seen better days. I wonder if I still have my whoring skills intact. If my old customers come back, I wouldn't mind to give it to them for free. I won't even mind new and enthusiastic first-timers. I just need my whoring skills back.

Here's a post I did 2 years ago about my whoring.

Very early this morning, at around 4AM, I woke up with a start. After 4 hours of sleep, my mind was still actively churning out conversations, regurgitating old spoken statements and ruminating on them again and again. The body was sleeping, the mind was awake. So when the body awoke too, I allowed it to listen to the words my mind was spewing out at a rate of a hundred words per minute. Two words stood out, pointed accusingly at me: TALK WHORE.

The term came up after I realized that for some way or another and for a very long time, I’ve been doing some whoring myself. Not the traditional whore, mind you. But as I said, I’m a talk whore. That doesn’t seem too hard to understand. You see there’s the traditional whore who gives out sex for a fee, someone always around ready to be mounted on by anyone in need of any humping. The talk whore is pretty much like that. Only, there’s no sex involved. It’s just all, well, you probably already got that, heavenly, orgasmic conversation.

The talk whore is somewhat akin to the meantime girl. However, the meantime girl is emotionally shackled to the meantime guy, hoping that someday she’d stop being the meantime girl and be the “one”. With the meantime girl, there’s sex involved, and there’s too much emotional investment. With the talk whore, a nice long conversation is all there is to it.

You go to a talk whore if you need someone to talk to. You visit at your own terms, your schedule, your choice of venue. If she has something in her mind that she needs to talk to you about, she has to wait until you would again want her enough for her services. You’re not available when she needs you, but when you ask for her, she’ll be around in an instant. It’s business at your own terms. After all, you are the paying customer.

The pay is actually cheap. Buy her dinner or a few drinks and you’d get excellent conversation in return. You know she can’t harm you because she will keep all your dirty secrets to herself. You give her a ring-side ticket to the mess you call your life and she’ll sincerely applaud you, win or lose. She gets a front-seat ticket to the soap opera that features you, and she’ll loudly laugh at all the absurdities you’ve gone through, and secretly cry for all the tragedies you’ve had. And if you do give her a supporting role in your soap, she gets to play the part of the girl with amnesia. Proudly and all too willingly.

With her, you lose track of time. You reveal your secrets, you unleash your mind. You wonder out loud, hope out loud, even pray out loud. She trusts you just as much. To you, she’s as transparent as a pane of glass, as clear and as placid as a pool of water undisturbed for years. She has seen through your soul, but despite everything she saw, you’re sure that nothing will ever be taken against you. She also allows you to see through her soul, but then, so what?

When the evening comes to a close and you have nothing else to talk about anymore, you drop her off at the side of the road. She thanks you for the great evening and walks on home without looking back. No questions asked, no threats, no invitations, no pleas. She just made herself available to you and all you had to give was your time and the free meal. There are no strings attached, no emotional anchors, no additional charges. She’s inanimate, incapable of feeling, she's just your talk whore.

She knows it may take months before you suddenly show up like a ghost again. She also accepts the possibility that you may no longer ever show up again. She moves on with her life, hesitantly at first, but she’s smart enough to know her place in the world. She’s just a talk whore, and she knows it. She's insane enough to live with it. Your secrets are safe, your life, dirt and all, will always be revered the way she will honor her own. She won’t go looking for you, but she’ll be right there if you ever need her again.

To all of you who keep their own talk whores, you might want to reconsider increasing your pay: a little more than dinner and drinks, such as genuine friendship would do. Your talk whore might be in need of a talk whore herself, someone she can call at her own terms, someone who’ll stick around way beyond talking, and way into living itself.

To all of us who were, are, or will be talk whores, whoring can never be this noble. We change the world in a way, tilt the balance on the side of good, if that’s any consolation. We have an underappreciated, much demeaned job. But what the heck, by all means, and while I still can, I’ll keep on whoring.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sotanghon Club

There's an epidemic of anorexia nervosa in town. After watching too many beauty pageants and reading too many beauty magazines all featuring women with waists as narrow as my upper arm and legs as small as my wrists, my co-fellows Diva and Thymes finally decided to get serious on being waifs. Even Meggy and Deggy have joined the bandwagon. We have been so enthusiastic about being big losers that even our section secretary Madam Ihhhsh is having Coke Zero for breakfast and lunch.

I have been on Metformin for months, delighting on the iatrogenic diarrhea it induces. Occasionally, I get samples of Orlistat from the kind med rep who knows I need whatever help I can get (because I'm broke and I can't afford my own bloody supply!). I've been losing weight at a snail's pace, but after 12 months, my pants are dropping and my ass is getting flat as a plank. Not a very good prognosis for my dream bikini before all the men I liked are all married, but good enough.

Then all of a sudden, Diva and Thymes began their terrifying 1000 calorie per day penance. Thymes' clothes are getting loose and she's showing her shoulders more often, Diva's white coat can now be draped around himself twice (exaggerating of course), and I'm like, oh no, they shouldn't catch up! After some snooping around, I discovered their dirty little secret - Lucky Me Sotanghon Lite!

This MSG-loaded low-calorie treat is sure to send a heart failure patient to acute congestion and a chronic kidney disease patient to emergency hemodialysis. Despite its extraordinary doses of preservatives and salt and whatever hazardous chemicals there are, we love it! A jumbo bowl is only 150 kcal and it's salty enough it can give you a headache after a few sips of its soup. Add one pack of Sky Flakes Lite and voila, you have a 280 calorie meal that leaves you sated (and sleepy as well).

After I discovered this Sotanghon meal, I couldn't help but be thankful that I (still) have a good heart and an OK pair of kidneys. If this is my ticket to being a Kate Moss or even a Natalie Portman (in The Black Swan), I wouldn't mind losing a few years of kidney life.

This morning I woke up with diarrhea. While I was going at it, I could smell Sotanghon all over. Guess what my poop looked like. Lucky Me Sotanghon Lite.

Bye, waifdom. I'd rather have my old poop back.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Inconsistency of Happiness

Because I'm utterly deficient of it, happiness has been my usual focus of introspection during these past weeks. I usually imagine myself as an outsider, standing in the middle of a spinning universe, unable to participate, unable to appreciate the goods and bads of everything. I just stop and stare and get depressed about it.

Most people spend most of their lives pursuing happiness. A good friend once told me that people who think can never be happy because they attempt to understand its fleeting nature. Vainly, we try to freeze time for a moment to totally indulge in the sublime nature of happiness, and this ultimately leads to frustration and bouts of despair. Depressed introspective people, of which I'm a part of, sadly, will never be able to appreciate happiness wholly, because we know that the sensation will disappear as swiftly as it appeared.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Third-Life Crisis

While much has been said about the mid-life crisis and the quarter-life crisis, I have a different problem. I think I'm now stuck in this depthless ennui of the third-life, that time in my life when I realize that I've finished one third of my life and what do I have to show for it, nothing but huge lovehandles on my tummy, cellulite on my legs and my arms, several wrinkles and frown-lines that would never be erased off my face, an empty pocket and bank account, and an even emptier set of letters attached to my name indefinitely - MD. Medical Doctor for most, Matandang Dalaga for some, Malditang Dramatista for a few, and just plain nothing for me.

I have reached this point in my life when the things I used to enjoy no longer spark the same excitement. There is no desire to seek for new experiences, no longing to see new worlds. All that remains is the compulsion to stare at the clock and watch time pass by. There is no reason to wake up in the morning (play that crappy Nescafe bumabangon commercial), no energy to kindle passions, and no memory to bring them to mind.

For instance, the past 3 weeks, I have done nothing but watch pirated movies and downloaded TV shows, salivate over those brawny gladiators from the show Spartacus, while feasting on junkfood and all that fat and salt. Heck, I even watched Glee even if those kids suck in their petty existence and shallow lives. All these done while perched on the treadmill machine of the cardiology complex in my poverty-ridden hospital. Geeez, I don't even have an apartment where I can vegetate in. Now that is extreme poverty, isn't it?

I could not remember the last time I took care of myself enough for me to haul my lazy fat butt all the way to Roxas Boulevard for a jog. My camera bought 2 months ago is now rotting in my locker and I have turned down well-meaning friends who invite me for refreshing conversation, and even lied just to avoid them.

This is the time when you're 30-something and all your friends are either married, having babies, or planning on finding their lifetime partners. They're parading their new cars, new houses, or boasting about their first million. And then you look at yourself and realize that you actually live on a mattress propped on the treadmill machine of your office (not on the floor for fear of the cockroaches), you can't sleep beyond 5:15am because the office janitor arrives at 5:30am and you're scared you might be mistaken for a fat decomposing corpse or a junkie hiding in the treadmill room. This is the time when nothing is fun, nothing is exciting, nothing is beautiful, nothing is profound, nothing is worth doing, and all you really are and everything you've really done in your 30 years of pathetic existence is in fact, simply nothing.

And all you can do is wonder what's next, what is there to all these, and Lord, please Lord, help me get my groove back.