Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Blog Rounds Christmas Edition: Romance On A Christmas Eve

Christmas is undeniably one of the most romantic days of the year. If one has to perform a task needing the approval of his object, it is best that he schedules this on a Christmas season. Many fights among friends are supposedly resolved on a Christmas day, and many become couples on the occasion of the yuletide. Romantic, indeed.

I am a romance buster, and friends who know me quite well will attest to this; pragmatism is probably part of my first name. But I was not born this way. When I was a lot younger, I was more optimistic, more unguarded, more willing to embrace the world with my bare arms, not knowing that doing so does not sear the skin, but the unsuspecting soul.

I was a doe-eyed medical clerk at one time in my life. We were rotating with the OB-Gynecology department during the holidays on an every other day basis. I was not quite sure what got me to come up to my groupmates and request that I want to go on duty on a Christmas Eve.

Incredulous looks were thrown at me. Why?

My answer: This is my first Christmas in the wards. I want to savor the experience of delivering a baby on the same moment that the Christ was supposedly born eons ago. My groupmates reciprocated with knowing smiles. (They would have probably said "Sucker!" if they liked me less.)

And so I got the schedule that I wanted. As it turned out, there was hardly any romance during that Christmas Eve duty. For one, I delivered a young baby boy not on a 12 midnight, but on 8 am the following day. (Spoiler, that little boy.) Second, there was not much work that time, so all my wretched illusions of covering for my colleagues and "holding the fort", so to speak, on a very important day of the year went down the drain. The reality is, I am just a medical clerk who went on duty on a Christmas Eve.
(Picture of The Nativity from this site.)

But I am not sorry. I may have seemed foolish, but the experience pulled me back to earth. When one is duty-bound, there is no such thing as a special day, not even Christmas, New year, Valentines Day or Easter Sunday. That is how it is; thus it is quite puzzling that big TV networks make a big fuss out of this and feature people who "work even on a Christmas" --- pertaining to policemen, journalists, health workers, among others.

This little incident, as well as many more instances, have turned me into an unromantic person that I am right now. It does not mean, though, that I have totally sworn off romance...

...for if I did, why would I be writing this post in time for Christmas? :P

Merry Christmas, y'all!

This is my submission to The Blog Rounds Christmas edition, hosted by Dra. Ness (thank you so much.)

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Last Song Syndrome 5: Any Major Dude Will Tell You (Steely Dan), every Sunday...almost

Have you ever seen a squonk's tears? Well, look at mine
The people on the street have all seen better times
- Steely Dan, Any Major Dude Will Tell You

Sunday would have been my most favorite day of the week. Sunday evokes memories of yore, and it is not once that I have talked about this, for I have some of my Sunday recollections tucked here. I remember my late mother and her nilagang baka and daing na bangus with sugar (ask a Capampangan and he'd know what I mean). I remember my father and the hours he spent watching undubbed Chinese movies (actors in theater make-up and traditional Chinese costumes), Jeanne Young's Spin-A-Win, and his weekly gig at the San Lazaro Hippodrome. I remember my sister sneaking out of the house and playing with the neighbors' kids. My brother was too young to remember that we used to carry him around the house and we certainly adored his cute face to bits. This is how I remember some of the best Sundays of my life.

Sadly, Sunday heralds both the end and start of a week, the end and the start of a chapter of life. It sucks when good times have to end, and even though we know at the back of our minds that tomorrow bears the promise of another good day, somehow we just cannot let go. Does it make sense then that Sunday, to me, is both my most and least favorite day of the week?

And for this reason, I delegate Saturday as my most favorite day instead. The rationale is less tortuous. But I digress.

Sunday is the same day that I associate some of the most poignant songs I have ever listened to in my lifetime. Frank Sinatra is one of my father's favorites, and every Sunday his songs were staples in our phonograph. So were Paul Anka, Connie Francis, and Shirley Bassey, all playing no end, melodies of love found and love gone filling our little home, much to my, uhmmm, dismay. I wanted more contemporary songs, but of course, the elders won. It was not until many years later that I learned to appreciate Ol' Blue Eyes and company.

A few years later, I would learn about Steely Dan. No one in the house ever listened to Steely Dan. Too bad, for I feel that the mood of almost every Steely Dan song match the general childhood Sunday mood. Happy but not, bittersweet for the most part. If I will allow it, I could, right now, turn into a squonk, but this is not the whole point of living...not even living a memory. Life is all about moving on.

So yes, I have the makings of a squonk, in a sense. In times of melancholy, one may find me standing stoically (probably in some forest in Pennsylvania, where the squonks come from), and one may see a pool of tears within the vicinity. But unlike a squonk, I do not dissolve with the tears. I am just there, wearing my usual wistful smile, and one would not even know that it was I who has shed tears....

(picture of squonk from this site)