“Tuli” Trials and More

I have a godson that I spoil to death.

He’s lived with us from birth and he’s the little man of the house. And if we’re honest, everyone one of us would say that he has us wrapped around his little finger.

But he learned early on that I’m the biggest pushover. When I still lived in Davao, we would go on regular "dates" consisting of me first choosing a book to read, then finding a restaurant and feeding him to his heart’s content, with a little more room in his cute toddler tummy for takeout. (It’s amazing how early men develop their appetites.)

"Ate Pipi, kelan tayo mag-date?" He’d ask me with his biggest smile, showing the adorably low count of his not-so-pearly-kiddie-whites. And my heart would just melt. I’d then dress him up, take him on a grand outing where I would officially not refuse him anything.

Once, while I was waiting for my ride outside, he sat by me, refusing to heed the calls of his mother to go inside. He then explained seriously to her, "Bantayan nako si Ate Pipi Ma, kay basig kawatun." (Translation: I’m watching over Ate Pipi because someone might steal her away.)

Can I hear a resounding "aaaaaawwww"? How’s that for pogi points?

He cons me into playing Snakes-and-Ladders with him and after the one time I forgot to buy him pasalubong after a harried sem in law school, guilt-tripped me into NEVER forgetting his present after I found out that he had quietly asked his mother, "Di na ako love ni Ate Pipi, di man niya ako bilhan regalo?"

Part of the delights of going home to Davao is having a kid follow me around everywhere and basically, just get under my feet. Annoying to some extent, but while I often affectionately call him "samukan", I secretly can’t get enough of him. I love it when he sits beside me while I read and he opens up an Archie digest (from the collection that I have since passed on to him) and pretends to read. He has since graduated to reading random words over my shoulder while I work on my laptop. Legalese, apparently, doesn’t deter him.

I love sharing his life and am just as proud as his Mom is of his excellent Report Card. But one morning, my Mom brought up something that had me, and everyone else in the house at a loss.

"Nerc, kelan mo ipapatuli yan?"

Everyone immediately burst into laughter and confused he started to cry.

We quieted down and since then have talked about it behind his back, calling it the "Big T" and generally just floundered around with no idea what to do.

I mean, hello? Everyone, and I mean, EVERYONE in the house, with the exception of our little devil, is female. This is something we never had to go through. Is younger better or should we wait until he’s a bit older and can understand that we’re not subjecting him to physical mutilation for the heck of it? (But why ARE we subjecting him to it?) Should we wait until his classmates start taunting him with "Pisot" (as one friend’s story goes), so he can’t wait to get it done? Will he hate us for life? Just how much pain is involved? How long does the healing period last? How do you talk to him about it? How do you talk to him about it without laughing? Especially when after it’s mentioned to him he then says, "Magpatuli rin si Ate Tiffy."

And how do I find the answers to these questions?

Imaginary Conversation with Male Friend #1:
Me: There’s something I want to ask you
MF: Sure, what’s up?
Me: Ehm…are you circumcised?

No good right? But I mean, come on, do I immediately assume that he’s circumcised just because most everyone is and come right out and ask for gory details? What if he’s not?!?

Imaginary Conversation with Male Friend #2:
After I ask about the "Big T"…
MF: Tiffy, I’m not circumcised.
Me: Oh. Ehm. Good for you.

And I could probably deal with the embarrassment. I’ll get over having to ask certain questions, but how, oh how, will I do it without getting extremely unwanted mental images into my head????

*shudder*

All I know is, they wear skirts after.

Right. Skirts I can deal with. I may not know much about the Big T but if my favorite kid has to go through it, then he’ll be at his fashionable best, damn it!

We Called It “Badminton”

I just received an email from R, a dear friend in L.A. that had me laughing my pants off.

Reminded me of when we still lived together in this huge apartment ages ago. We had another flatmate then, M, and we absolutely loved poking fun at her. One of our favorite sources of amusement was the steady parade of men she had in her life. Cute and petite, she had them coming in droves and the various devices she used to persuade us that they were just "friends" would have R and I laughing ourselves silly.

At one point she started going home late after outings with X, her "friend". She’d go off in sporty outfits and come back exhausted, claiming to have just ended a strenuous badminton workout with friends. This went on for days on end, with her going home later and later. R and I remained firmly stoic, keeping our wisecracks in check even though there were nights she’d forget her cover and leave her badminton gear behind (sometimes she’d even go off in high heels with nary a bag of gear in sight).

One Sunday morning though, after having gone home at 2am, she sidled close to me on the couch croaking something about the show I was watching. Concerned, I checked if she had a fever and asked her in alarm if she had a virus. She shook her head and replied in strangled voice, "Hindi. Sakit lang talaga ng lalamunan ko, salamat sa badminton."

R was off in the kitchen cooking but immediately, with deceptive casualness, moved closer. R’s eyebrows were wiggling at me suggestively when R said to M, "Grabe naman ang badminton na yan, umaabot talaga sa lalamunan." Hilarity threatened to overwhelm me and I said to the hapless M, "Well, what do you expect? What is badminton after all but ‘volleying a cock back and forth over an extended period of time’?"

When M finally got it, her mouth fell open in semi-shock and laughter. She was sputtering in mock indignation for a full 15 minutes before we all finally settled down.

I never could hear about people playing badminton without inappropriate mental images coming into my head.

So you can just imagine how I felt when once over lunch in Greenbelt, Marc Nelson started talking about how he enjoyed badminton and how he was sure that I’d love it.

Oh Marc, I’m SURE I’d enjoy it with you.

Now I can only pray that he doesn’t read this blog.

***

When I was in high school, we called it "ikot-ikot".

On Saturdays, we’d hang out at this village and when a couple would come back HHWW (Holding Hands While Walking) after having disappeared earlier, we’d ask them, "O, nawala kayo?"

They’d always reply casually, "Wala, ikot-ikot lang."

I’ll bet. Vertically or horizontally?

In law school now though, we call it "studying".

"Wanna study?" has become shorthand for "Let’s have long conversations over coffee and cigarettes, and talk about you and me and anything but law. And when we discover how the hours have gone by… let’s ‘study’ a little bit more."

Oh yeah, "studying". 😉

Airports

I hate airports.

I especially hate airports during peak travel season. The lines are long, the porters are pesky and the bookstores almost always run out of the good stuff.

I hate airports.

***

I was on my way to Bangkok for the Asians (All-asian Universities Debating Championship) one summer when my hatred of airports was solidified. It was a last-minute trip, having decided to go only the day before and my teammates had already gone ahead to enjoy a few free shopping days before the tournament.

I was a DOST scholar, which basically meant that the government paid me to major in something Sci & Tech related (there are requirements to qualify for the exam, and then there’s the national exam, blah blah…). In any case, they turn it into some huge deal and we’re not allowed out of the country without the submission of requirements. We either post a bond or an entity assumes responsibility for our return. I had previously planned on going to the Asians, so I had already taken care of the requirements. So imagine my surprise when as I hand over my passport right before boarding I was stopped. MY NAME was FLASHING on the computer screen in big red letters. Under no circumstance was I to be allowed out of the country. Airport security was to hold my departure at all costs.

I was actually escorted away from the line of departing passengers by guards!!!! People around me were staring unabashedly, obviously thinking I was some sort criminal disguised as a college student. It was resolved eventually. But not before I was reduced to a blubbering state when I realized:

(a) I wasn’t going to make it in time to compete
AND
(b) My luggage was on board and I wasn’t.

A debater I was travelling with had already promised to take care of my bags when she got to Bangkok, but still, the thought of being separated from my outfits by international boundaries was just plain HORRIFYING.

***

I also have the distinction of having been lost in Singapore’s Changi airport. Although, it wasn’t altogether an unpleasant experience. My boyfriend waited for ages before I managed to weave my way out of the maze of shops. It really wasn’t my fault you know, the shops are altogether too distracting. I couldn’t help it! Fabulous retail just calls out to me. 

What was unpleasant was the grilling I got for being "suspiciously" too young to be travelling alone. Whatever. I travel alone all the time. The man was just looking for an excuse to frisk me or something. Good thing the female airport official waved me on, rolling her eyes while at it. She’d probably seen him do it tons of times and was on to him.

***

I do like being at the first leg of a journey though. The moment you arrive at the airport, knowing you’re actually ON YOUR WAY… I love the feeling.

Maybe airports aren’t so bad after all.

The world is passing me by…

While I was in the middle of reading a looooong case, its digest due in a couple of hours, my phone rang.

It was R. Good friend, great hangout buddy, ultra reliable harbinger of fun and drinking mayhem, inventor of the glorious, infamous Tisay that had us crawling all over Rastro.

He then tells me that he’s leaving for the US next month. As in 5 weeks from now. And he may never come back. As in, I may never see him again. Ever.

And then it hit me, the last time I had gone out with him was more than a year ago.

So many things we never got around to doing together. He was supposed to teach me how to play tennis (he’s a TENNIS PLAYER, as opposed to being just a tennis player, haha), teach me how to drive (let’s face it, not knowing how to drive at 25 is pathetic), and introduce me to the wonderful world of Ultimate Frisbee. I’ve never even been to his new pad and it’s been more than a year since he moved.

Of course, if we’ve somehow drifted apart, it’s all entirely my fault. Unlike most of my other friends who’ve given up all hope of ever pulling me out of the bog that is law school life, R has persistently maintained the belief that one day I’ll wake up, decide that I’m still cool and I still want to have a life, and take him up on one of his offers to hang out. In my defense, I too faithfully believed that I WOULD one day make time for the man who helped me enroll in UP and somehow make my way through the intimidating maze that is the Diliman campus (hey, for someone who has absolutely no sense of direction, UP Diliman is positively scary!), who picked me up from my evening classes regularly during the first few weeks of my I’m-lost-and-utterly-clueless-somebody-help-me first semester and drove me all the way to my condo in Mandaluyong and who will never be forgotten for having introduced me to the gastronomic delight that is the UP isaw.

Of course, I never did. 😦

We have 5 weeks though, and like he said, 5 weekends left. It might mean sacrificing a little gym time, a little volleyball time, maybe a little study time. It’ll mean a little less sleep, a bit more exhaustion and a lot more stress. But it’s Kuya R and I do love him.

In a way, it’s a wakeup call. How many more friends have I left fallen by the wayside while I let myself get completely sucked in by law school? Plenty.

When my law school friends ask me why I make time for volleyball, dance class, the gym… why I read constantly and maintain a blog… why I’m sneaking in guitar lessons in between typical hellish weeks in law school… when I should be putting in more study time and maybe vying for the top spots. I always say, that while I do study, put in the hours and obsess over school like everyone else, I try to remember that it’s not just about getting good grades, it’s about living a good life.

Hmmm…seems I haven’t been living as good a life as I thought I was.

RESOLUTION: Nurture relationships past and present.

***

I’ll start by going to Tagaytay with my AYLC friends tomorrow. AND finding a way to sneak in a little quality time with my buddy R in between that, studying AND the Conflicts of Law tournament.

A woman pulled in 20 different directions at any given time… that’s me. 🙂

Irony Over Chicken Inasal

"You know what you are? You’re spoiled!"

He said this to me, making a stabbing motion with his fork in my direction in his typical denigrating fashion.

"This chicken is driving me nuts." Despite my frustration, I wrestled gamely on with the skewered chicken inasal in front of me. Long dead but still manages to put up a fight. Grrrr…

"Are you listening to me? Stop it, you’re going to stab yourself with that fork!"

"Ok, I give up, I’m done."

"You barely ate, give me that! Hihimayin ko na. You’re so helpless, tsk, tsk… You can’t expect people to take care of you all the time. The world isn’t like that!" He pushes my plate back to me, white meat separated from the bone in strips, just the way I like them. Hmmm, he just keeps getting better and better at this, I thought.

"I can’t eat anymore eh, yours na."

"Eat it." He said in the menacing tone he always uses when he orders me around.

I roll my eyes. "There’s no more sawsawan eh!"

He gives me a look filled with loathing and reaches for the calamansi. He knows how I hate squeezing them with my bare hands. It’s the smell, eeew.

"I’m telling you," he continues his lecture, "I’m hard on you for your own good. I told myself from the beginning that I’m not going to coddle you…"

"Can you add more suka?" I interrupted.

"…and that may seem harsh, but you’ve known right from the start my disinclination towards spoiling you…"

"Oh, and sili rin?"

"…I’m not like those other guys you’ve dated…"

"Thanks!" I poured the finished sawsawan gingerly over the chicken strips.

"…you don’t have me wrapped around your little finger…"

"Do I have to finish all of this?"

"…what you need is some tough love — yes, you need to eat well — I’m the man to give it to you…"

"Argh, fine, I’ll stuff myself till I puke."

"…so you better learn to take care of yourself — don’t force it then, but you still need to eat. I’ll get you dessert after –", he paused, "where was I?"

"I better learn to take care of myself," I prodded.

"Right. Take care of yourself," once again, he points his fork in my direction for emphasis. "Because I’m not going to be doing it for you. Clear?"

I looked at him and smiled affectionately. Isn’t he cute? "Crystal."