Friday, August 29, 2014

I Dream of Dancing

There have been days when I would just spend hours watching dance videos and trying to emulate the steps in my tiny room in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, I could look less awkward when I get on the dance floor to bust a move. It's been ages since I last went out dancing but who knows... I remember buying my first dance "album" which was just a CD of songs best suited for Latin dances.I ended up playing it just because I needed background noise when I am working.

In my mind I could dance and be graceful as a swan, wowing everybody on the dance floor. Yet, the truth of the matter is the swan in my head is the bow-legged duckling that can barely waddle in real life. I like dancing but unfortunately dancing doesn't like me. I have never joined any dance contest and have tripped countless times just by walking.

Lately though the urge to move has gripped my mind and seized my heart that I finally took out a pair of sturdy heels, searched YouTube for dance hits and started doing basic steps for Salsa. Yet, just fifteen minutes into this whole debacle my legs started to ache and I felt like collapsing.

(The first sign of old age? Que horror!)

Still, I think I am going to continue this little comedy act of dancing and push through with learning some dance moves. Something good might come out of it and heck I need any excuse I could get right now to wear my heels again.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thoughts While Trying to Catch a Glimpse of the Perseids Meteor Shower

Perseids Meteor Shower
I accidentally dropped my 8-month old smartphone today. And while the world stopped for a few seconds as I tried to do a Matrix-style slow-mo dive in an awkward attempt to catch it (failing miserably at the same time) all I could think about after was "Fuck I hope my phone's okay!"

I immediately grabbed my phone from the ground and dreaded the thought that the internals might have stopped working. I was glad to find out that the protective skin made of rubber somehow prevented the touchscreen glass from shattering; breathing a sigh of relief. Before I proceed, allow me to thank cheapo products mass produced in China. That was $5USD well spent on some knock-off phone cover.

I was sad to see the phone did turn off and as I sat on my haunches oblivious of the dirt and soil. I stared at this black screen of nothingness which I have not seen for a very long time. The thought that I may not have a phone (smartphone) for the next few days hit me. As I was pushing the power button and saying a prayer to St. Vidicone of Cathode, patron saint of Electronics (Yes, there is really one) I realized that I have become so reliant on technology and electronics for the better half of my adult life. Come to think of it, I can't recall ever turning my phone off the moment I bought it.

My phone was the only thing that could distract me from other things I deemed important. I respond to its beeps like a frantic mother immediately checking on my new born the moment it starts to make a sound. My baby, dead in the palm of my hands… I have not been careful enough!
I wanted to cry. It was not turning on. Then my friend placed his consoling hand on my shoulder and told me to take out the battery and put it back in again and charge it. So, reluctantly I did.

I tried to act like nothing happened and be cool. Some things needed to be finished so I have a few hours of distraction that lay before me. No vibrations in my pocket, no notifications to check, no emails to answer, no text or Viber messages to respond to. Freedom!

As the tasks were slowly completed one by one and we finally were able to sit down and relax instinctively I reached for my phone only to be reminded again that it’s charging and it may not power up. I was forced to sit up and do something I’ve never done in a long time, nothing. And by doing nothing I was able to observe my surroundings and be attuned to what is happening around me.
Cricket sounds, the breeze blowing gently on my skin, the smell of air, soft humming sounds of my friends as they lay down on the earth bed and tried to relax. I watched leaves rustling in the wind, I watched the clouds slowly move behind a pale moon, I watched other people's feet.

I realized that I really like having this time to myself. It helped me compose my thoughts. This does not mean I am giving up on technology though. It’s just that having no phone, no connection to social media made me more aware of my thoughts, the thoughts that exist and keep playing in my head even if there is no one around to hear of it. I missed not being so wired and connected. The appeal of mobile phones (smart or not) is its ability to make us be reachable 24/7 but as soon as we were, it demanded from us immediate responses. And if we cannot reply within the appropriate time we are either perceived as rude or purposely ignoring. Worst case scenario, loved ones might thing something terrible has happened to us. Not being able to use my phone was probably a nudge that a change in behavior was needed with regards to this whole being connected with the world thing. Yes I miss my baby, my informant, my paramour! But it made me be reacquainted with myself. (Hello there stranger, long time no see.)

Then my friend called me and told me the battery’s full. I immediately got up, took the phone off the charger, pushed the power button again (this time not so hopeful that it will turn on) but lo and behold! It turned back on, chirped its familiar start-up beat, and I am once again reunited with my baby.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Reflections on Death While in a Funeral



There's something quite macabre yet grounding about how us Filipinos conduct funerals; where having the dead body of our dead loved one is displayed in our house for at least a week as prayers and novenas are said might seem weird and creepy to most. It somehow forces us to confront the reality that many are quite hesitant to face. Death is real and no one is spared.

As one grieves while looking down at the coffin to stare at the departed's features and recall how they once lived, the moment one raises their head to look around, different sights and smell flood the senses that serve as a reminder that despite death life continuous.
As the departed person’s family members take care of guests’ needs serving them food, other people play card games and mah-jong at the side. There’s chatter in all corners. Kids are running around playing as the adults form intimate circles to talk about past events where surprisingly the dead person always stars in. Somehow stories of the dead person always sounds more awesome when told during a funeral and hearing these stories somehow softens the blow of death.

Having been through this situation numerous times I have observed that these rituals make things better somewhat. It seems to shorten the time for grieving, at least in public. You may cry in private as the thought slowly sinks in and takes root that you'll never see your loved one again but the moment you step out of your little room and see to your guests, tears are wiped and you’re forced to confront life and live it.

I just remember a quote by Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross, “Watching a peaceful death of a human being reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that flares up for a brief moment only to disappear into the endless night forever.”