Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Scattered Rainshowers

I envy people who know all along what they want to be. People like Randy, who’s always wanted to be a cashier. He gets this almost beatific glow when he mimics tapping on the keys of a cash register. I’m happy too for friends who finally find their calling, never mind if they got sidetracked first by some boring and useless career like lawyering. People like Rhoel who is now a full-fledged stage actor, or Loudette who is now an events organizer for our former law firm.

Me, I haven’t made up my mind until now. I just know when I see someone doing something and I grab Ches and say, I want that job. For example, a halo-halo mixer. There’s something so happy about mixing all these sweet ingredients of different colors and coming up with a shamelessly sinful no-pretense-of-being-healthy dessert. It’s the same reason why I go to buffet places like Cabalen and Albergus even if I’m not really into all these Pinoy fiesta dishes – just so I could get my hands into the halo-halo bar. It’s perverse, I know.

When I have a purchase gift-wrapped, then I know I also want to be a gift-wrapper. To have that ability to create a thing of beauty and make someone happy - how can you not want this job? (It baffles me tho why most professional gift-wrappers (in fact 100% in Rustan’s) are male, when I don’t know any male from my family or circle of friends who has ever wrapped a gift. I mean, it’s a girl thing. One of life’s mysteries, I guess.)

Last time we were at the duty-free shop, I saw this sales lady singing out song after song in the Magic Sing stall. How fun is that? I don’t think it’s possible to sing without having fun. And I don’t mean just the usual videoke staples like Build Me Up Buttercup or Dancing Queen or whatever. You can be doing an overly dramatic, angst-filled Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey lung-buster, and singing is such a joy anyway. Never mind if it means not having the talent to hit all the high notes in as public a place as a mall – this is all totally irrelevant.

I can also be like that girl Sarah from the Korean drama blog. With the utter volume of material in her site – from the comprehensive recaps and reviews to the downloadable soundtracks and latest pix of the hottest stars and indeed everything you need to know about Korean dramas or everything Korea in general – there’s no justice in this world if on top of this blog she also works full-time as something else. Like a hands-on mom or an employee in some competitive office or something. No justice whatsoever.

I was reading this chick lit starring a book publisher. And I thought – hmmm, book publisher … why didn’t I think of that? To get paid to spend your days reading and reading and being the first to discover all the nicest stories and working with writers too, not to mention being able to bring your work home as bedtime reading or while you’re vacationing on a beach – it’s too good I can’t even bear to consider it.

Needless to mention, I can also be a personal shopper, like I think what Becky Bloomwood from the Shopaholic series did when she moved from the UK to the US. It makes me wonder if this isn’t just fiction and whether real, live people can actually not only get paid but also derive their source of livelihood from doing something as silly and easy-peasy and fantabulous like blogging and reading and shopping. It’s surreal.

For entirely opposite reasons, I think I can also be a meteorologist. Not that I’m interested in the weather or anything. Far from it. I just think they have it so easy. They can announce that there’ll be scattered rain showers and if it rains in some obscure part of Jolo or something they’d already have done a good job, and no one can accuse them of being a mere know-it-all. I mean, it’s the whole essence of scattered. And they’re only ever in the spotlight when there’s a huge storm or major weather event – but otherwise I imagine they just spend their days Googling people up or whatever, and they don’t have their bosses breathing down their necks to make them meet a deadline or other savage work stuff. It’s the ideal job for slackers.

I wish I can claim to have always wanted to have as my main occupation something noble, like how tragic Holden Caulfield wanted to catch kids before they fall off a cliff. But actually there are only two things I’ve consistently wanted to be since I was a little girl: a ballerina and a kindergarten teacher. I ended up being this boring and pretentious lawyer instead of doing classic and graceful plies and pirouettes. But at least with Boots and Yosh I became a kindergarten teacher-wet nurse-poopoo wiper-terror mother all rolled into one.

One out of two can’t be all that bad.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Gun Your Mother

It was a classic moment. Yosh probably got bored playing with his Thomas trains so he dismantled the tracks and pointed a menacing piece of blue plastic to my face while mumbling, “Gun your mother. Gun your mother.” And I didn’t have the heart to correct his grammar coz then I’ll have to teach him to say shoot your mother, shoot your mother. Which sounds infinitely more violent not to mention fatal to me. Ugh.

It seems only yesterday when Yosh was this little baby who ravenously suckled on my breasts the minute I got home from work, all the while looking up at me with a beatific smile and sometimes even lovingly touching my face or my hair as he nursed. It was the closest thing you can have to holding an angel in your arms.

Next thing I know he’s shooting at me with his Thomas trains.

They grow up so fast, I swear.

I’m not quite sure how it happened, but somehow I ended up being the authority figure in the household, the one person capable of instilling any semblance of fear in Yosh. Ches and I don’t have a choice so we grudgingly share the impossible task of disciplining the little tyrant. Ches also loses his cool and raises his voice, but this is nothing compared to my long drawn-out sermons that last approximately three days, complete with dagger looks not to mention a litany of all the sacrifices I ever had to do to raise him, dating from as way back as when he was still a fetus in my uterus. (Very mature, I know.) It just shows you how, between the two of us, Ches is by far (very, very far) the kinder, gentler parent. That Yoshi just sits there looking down on the floor or hiding his face behind a pillow while I’m in my element and in a span of five minutes is on my neck giving me a tight squeeze or whispering some silly secret just adds to my guilt and over-all I’m-not-worthy-of-this feeling.

Oh, but he has own little devious ways of getting back. In the most unexpected moments and embarrassing situations, at that. A new maid could be coming in and remarking at how kind I seem to be, and Yosh ruins the whole thing by saying, “Pero malakas yan magalit”. Or, we could be in the mall and I raise my voice just a teeny weeny bit on some sales lady, and Yosh will loudly declare, “Mommy, you’re a maldita”. Compared to these instances, I’m no longer hurt when I see him playing with his action figures or Happy Meal toys and the kontrabidas invariably end up being named Jewel or Jo or Mommy. (Groan.)

One of these days, when I get fed up with all the abuse from the four-year-old, I will spoil Boots. I will feed him whatever junk he wants and let him stay in his inflatable pool the whole day and let him stay up till midnight watching some senseless werewolf movie that’s totally bereft of any redeeming value not to mention perfectly appropriate for young people with impressionable minds. I won’t force him to brush his teeth or to not fight with his nanny and grandparents or for the nth time to not smash the glass door or in other words to exhibit some sense of decorum that shouldn’t be such a tall order even for a little boy as our household is after all inhabited not by hoodlums or gangsters but by perfectly law-abiding and God-fearing citizens.

Yep, that’s it. That’s exactly what I will do. I will so spoil Boots so I need never be the kontrabida in his little life. Ha.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Team Hyper

It meant waking up at an ungodly hour on a Saturday to make it to the Rizal Stadium by 6 AM and dealing with the insurmountable problem of locating a clean and comfortable enough place for expressing milk, but this is the Ayala Olympics and it happens only every four years so this is my first and could very well be my last so whaddahell.

Being the defending champion, our company considered this The Big Event for 2008. My younger friends said the company pro-actively recruits varsity players from the top colleges, short of offering them employment on a silver platter, just for the purpose of sending them to the Olympics. Hahaha. Brainy.

Even if you weren’t Olympic material, you also had a job to do as booster in the cheering competition. There was a specific cheer for the competition proper, and different ones for when the delegates are parading, the runners starting the race, the runners crossing the finish line, and everything. Exag, I swear. You almost expect to be required to memorize a cheer for when you have to go to the washroom. It brings to mind the question that Rhoel is always asking of me: why can’t you just be normal? I mean, why can’t we just say yehey and boo like normal people would do in any sports competition? Aaargh. Me, I was neither here nor there as usual, never diligent enough to take the lead in anything, just able to follow enough so as not to be annoying to those who have perfected the routine and can do it in their sleep.

I doubt if any serious work got done in the office since the start of the month, what with everyone – up to the big bosses – busy with endless practices for the complicated chants and moves. It took on the seriousness of a UAAP cheering competition, with dancers being tossed almost up to the ceiling, whirring up in the air as tho they were trapeze artists instead of the water and wastewater service managers that they actually are. It’s one of those times when I’m glad I persevered an extra four years in college to become a lawyer so I could be useful elsewhere and not have to be compelled to do any of these crazy stuff for the office anymore. I told Pau I’m not about to let my kids do any of it that. What, just so they can break their spines or other vital parts and suffer permanent injuries, if not outrightly die a senseless, violent death? No, thanks. Not after I’m exerting all this time and effort pumping breast milk into their little bodies. Hel-lo. Another mommy next to us asked me, but what if it’s their passion? I merely shrugged but what I was thinking was, then I guess I’ll just have to chain them up at home. (This is one beauty I’ve acquired thru the years, the ability to just zip my mouth even if I have something irresistibly brilliant to say, just so I don’t antagonize someone yet again and add to my already burgeoning list of enemies.)

We lost out in the cheering contest eventually, but we were still the back-to-back champions so everyone’s happy. In fact, as we racked up gold after gold in the marathon and long jump and other serious stuff as well as the fun games, we were the only one among the 6 teams that was still having any fun. The hosts gave it their best shot, but could hardly get a rise out of the other teams, especially not with the sun mercilessly toasting everyone. While our company has been preparing for this since day one of the last Olympics four years ago, it was like the other teams just assembled together that morning and showed up for the sake of substantial compliance, bcoz it was mandatory for each office to send in at least 800 contingents and the bosses were present to check the attendance. It’s always a bit embarrassing to take so seriously something that the rest just laugh off, but it was also fun to be in the company of winners.

Me, I was just looking forward to an Olympics bonus. Why not? After all, our company loves to dole out these goodies to mark special occasions like our winning the employer of the year award, the anniversary of the water sector privatization, etc. So hope springs eternal.