what once took an hour

Change does have a way of surprising you.

I went to this photo processing store earlier this afternoon to have a film developed and transferred into electronic from. Yes, a film. I had a hard time getting the price for the technicians were still discussing the appropriate price. The fee was reasonable though. I was ready to hand in the film when the lady at the counter said they do not take rush processing.

I thought, okay. I wasn’t in a hurry thinking that the developing and the transfer would take about two hours maximum. So I said, okay and asked when I can get the electronic files. The lady said “tomorrow”. It took a while before I could process that three-syllable word.

On my way back to the office, I still could not believe it. Overnight?! For a film? Things have definitely changed. One-hour processing was the standard before. That was just two years ago. Now you have to wait overnight to have a film processed – in this town at least. Other stores do not process film anymore. So I guess I’d have it developed when I return.

Perhaps, this is just part of getting old.

home

Where is home? When I was still in College, I never doubted the fact that home was Bacacay, where my family was. Even if I came home four times a year, that  where home was. Once one stops receiving monthly allowances, one begins to wonder where home really is.

For some time, I felt out-of-place whenever I visited my hometown. That’s the point, I guess. I felt like a visitor, not someone coming home. Maybe it’s because I’m away most of the time. I’m about nine hours away from my family, from home most of the year. I felt like an outsider inside the house I grew up in. The feeling lasted for quite a long while. I wasn’t a feeling I found pleasant.

I don’t know when it happened but it did. It dawned on my why I felt so detached from the people I spent more than half my life with – I never reached out. In the span of time I’m not home, I never really sent them messages or called regularly. What nerve I had to even expect that I’d be treated like a close member of the family if I did not bother to maintain contact with them.

Home is wherever you want to stay. Home is where you want to be. This, I realized after more than a year.

yellow nights

Perhaps it’s the street lights, perhaps it’s just doldrums.

There are times when everything seemed – yellow. I would have used golden but it is associated with pleasantness or positivity – which is not what I’m referring to. There’s this sadness that sweeps over one as one leaves the building. Streetlights play with one’s shadows unsuccessful in causing event a hint of a smile. It was one of those yellow nights. A silly name for a silly episode in one’s life. Yellow is supposed to be a happy color, but during nights like these – it isn’t.

There’s that feeling of detachment.  A couple of laughs from the far side of the park, an excited shriek, a greeting. Good for them. Something is happening in their lives. It’s like watching an uninteresting movie when one has nothing else to do. One doesn’t bother to make sense of whatever the movie may be about but still, for the lack of anything better to do, one manages to get through each frame.

 

that feeling

These past couple of days felt weird. I came home early. I woke up relatively late. Everything seems lighter. And for me, that is strange. I’m not complaining though. It’s just strange when you spent the previous months not knowing how you survived all those deadlines and then you find yourself having time to think of what to do next. It seems like everything is in slow motion these days. I’m enjoying the change in pace. But there’s always that nagging feeling that maybe – just maybe, I forgot to do something?

Last night, I was enjoying a read telling myself how great it is to enjoy not having anything else to do. It was idyllic. This morning, I woke up late. There I was thinking that it’s okay. This is the time to relax and spend more than the normal tine in bed. As I started planning my day, it hit me. I had a deadline at ten am! This, I remembered at past 9am.

Exactly what  feared. So faced my laptop and did revisions to some posters. I was able to dash to work and submit it on time. In hindsight, that’s the pace I was used to. And though I found it tiring, that’s the pace I’m comfortable working in – perhaps I just got used to it.

just another day

This is one of those days when you need to force yourself to get up, waste time convincing yourself that you want to go to work, and you’re feeling great. You put on this smile when you look at the mirror still convincing yourself that the day would get better. Then comes a sneeze, and another. I am sick. I’ve been having chills the day before. I want to rest. I have student exercises to check. Perhaps a rest for the day maybe? or not.

Then I finish preparing for work. I’ve been in this situation before. And I know, the best and most productive thing to do would be to go to work than pretend to rest for a day and end up feeling guilty and unproductive for the next week.

Work, it is.

[white] rubber shoes

I remember complaining to friends how my earnings seemed to just vanish. It troubled me for I could not remember any major purchase. I did not buy clothes, never dined in pricey restaurants – not even a visit to the movies. I’ve wondered for some time, until I found myself staring at boxes of shoes under my bed trying to retrieve a pen. So that’s where it all went. I saw these boxes of shoes that I have purchased over the months.

There’s just something about white rubber shoes. I started when we had to wear one during the cadet officers’ training in high school. We were in third year then. I never appreciated white shoes until then. During college, I wore the same style of Dickies while rubber shoes from freshman to junior year. At least I was able to observe the price change of that one shoe. The first time I bought that shoe was back in senior year in high school. It was sold for 899 Php then. I brought it to Los Baños for my freshman year in college. My mother saw it and bought herself a pair – of the same style. When my first pair had worn off, I bought a new pair -same style for 699 Php. Come junior year, I had to buy a new pair since the old one was stained by chemicals in the dark room. I was manually developing films for my photography class. That time, it was on sale 1000Php  for two pairs. I bought a pair for 600 Php. Aside form that Dickies shoes. I did buy other shoes then – still white in color.

What i like about white rubber shoes is that it goes with everything – any color nicely. Also, if it gets dirty, which  for my case, it definitely would, it seems to be okay. I give it a week before the first stain on a new pair. The only time my shoes get cleaned is when it rains. Occasionally, I am able to put them in the automatic washing machine with a spoonful of bleach and lots of powdered soap. Not the ideal way to was shoes, I know. Forty-five minutes later, fetch a spin-dried pair of shoe which now qualifies as white. And for a few days it does remain white. Most of the time, it’s off-white to beige – even nearer to brown color. It adds character to the shoes – each stain, the color. The more dirty it becomes, the greater character it has.

During my first year at work, I finally bought this pair of rubber shoes I’ve been wanting ever since but never really got enough money to buy it. In college, we were taught that shoes whose price was over a thousand pesos was not reasonable. When I was working, I had the money to buy the shoe. A thousand and six hundred – that was what it took for me to get my first pair of Converse. It was worth every cent. There’s a lot of imitation pairs but nothing would last and would give your sole the comfort of that original pair. A lot of people bought the same color but I could not care less. I had the shoe I want and it lasted more than any of my other shoes – aside from the white GBX hi-cut that I bought on sale (600Php).

When the first pair got too worn, I walk a lot so that usually happens sooner, I got myself a second pair after a period of saving up for it. It took a lot of time to decide between beige and white. I took the beige one for a change. This I found was a total waste of time because it became white after a visit to the washers. The washer did a great job in cleaning that pair.

In more than two years of working, I was able get other pairs of rubber shoes.Before, I thought I could never have such things. And whenever I wondered why I have little or no saving, I look at my cabinet to check the shoes first. Not much has been added since. I can last a semester with no new clothes – blouse or a pair of jeans, but I will feel sorry for myself if I do not buy a pair of white rubber shoes. That would mean a major crisis – a depressing phase of financial incapacity.

During an official trip to Baguio, I felt so depressed and saw this pair of running shoes, which was more expensive than my earlier purchases. I had to charge half the price to BPI EPS (that was my maintaining balance) and pay the other half in cash to get that pair. I did feel better – way better.

So for a white-rubber-shoe-obsessed me, a new pair means I’m doing okay. Not necessarily great, but I’m fine, I’m sane – I’m surviving.

twenty-two

Most people are surprised whenever I tell them my age – 22. I usually get gasps and looks of disbelief. Sometimes, those are accompanied by an astonished “But you’re too young to be…” statement.

I’m not really sure what to feel about these reactions. Should I be flattered or concerned? I have no idea. I’ll turn 22 only once so I don’t really have any basis for comparison. But somehow, I’ve gotten used to it – me, being mistaken to be older than I really am.

Back in Bacacay, the only difference between the uniform of female high school students was a ribbon between the collars of the blouse. We had this standard navy blue pleated, below-the-knee-length skirt and a white, round collar, short-sleeved blouse. And of course, the black, leather, whole shoe with white socks. The high school students wore the ribbons the same color as the skirt.

Back it grade 5, whenever I forget to tell the pedicab driver my destination, they never fail to bring me to the high school.  Back then I thought it was because of my height. After graduation, I was mistaken to be older than my third sister. By that time, I’ve grown used to such things. My sister and I would smile at each other and she would correct the person.

I’ve never really cared much about these comments until it got more frequent. I’m not concerned about me looking older than I am. I’m more concerned about the way I am acting. A secretary at work commented about how young I am for the work I am doing. My sisters commented about how old I am in seeing things. They said it’s  seems like I’ve lived my life and is already tired of it. Then they joked about such perspective perhaps resulted from me learning from all their mistakes and experiences. If that is the case, then I did learn a lot.  A sis and also an co-worker was also surprised about my age. Three, I guess is not a coincidence. I haven’t included the reactions of some of my students yet.

I’m not in the least offended. I am curious though. How does one act older?

Perhaps it’s because I grew up in an environment where people were way older than I am? I spent most of my high school days with my aunts. I stopped playing with the neighbors who were my age even before I graduated in elementary. I rarely spent time outside the house (this should have been written in a separate entry entitled Antisocial, I know). To think about it, I don’t know anyone from the neighborhood.

I spent time listening to the older people conversing. I was that child in the corner listening, just listening. I do converse better with older people than those who were my age. I found the topics more interesting. I learned more from those conversations. To people my age, I am boring as I knew nothing about whatever was the in topic in their chats.

What should people be doing at twenty-two? I am grateful for what I know, what I have, and what I am at twenty-two.

However, it does make one wonder, am I setting things in fast forward? Or does each person have their own pace? Am I thinking too old that I’m missing some of the things I should be enjoying at this age?

Or maybe, I should settle with me looking older than my age. That would definitely make things more simple. 🙂