Painting Black: January 2006

Happy Birthday, Mama!

At 51 my mom is probably the hardest working mom ever. I just hope she took care of her health well. It would be so nice if she can hug all her nieces with both hands, but she can’t– the effect of stroke some five years ago . But she’s cool with it now and she deals with it good. My fondest memory of my mother was her being touted by family members as stage momma during my pre-teen years. Back then, she would accompany me each day to Bayanihan where I practice the whole day, everyday. She made sure I was fed and comfy and would not stop telling me I was a better dancer than so and so. Ah, mothers. You just gotta love ‘em. I just hope I would be able to afford my planned birthday gift for her next year. I love you mama.

Team Building

Pictures, buffet table, game room, swimming pool, room mates, games, gym, trekking, bonding, fresh fluffy linens, room with a spectacular view of the great Antipolo landscape, and watching Manny Pacquiao win the re-match on a huge tv! T’was a fine weekend, alright!

Diary of a Lost Yuppie

Writer’s Note: This piece was initially intended as a contribution for the October (?) ish of Enterworks’ newsletter. I was inspired by Donish because of that first staff meeting. Unfortunately, the newsletter didn’t push through but my blog is a perfect substitute ü.

I have never been a quitter but after a short but grueling stint with my previous employer, I felt I deserved a break more than anything else. I was drained literally and figuratively. Thinking back, I realized it was very silly of me, even stupid… bordering on mentally retard to be even entertaining the thought.

“You need a break? Who are you the president of the Philippines?” My mother yelled to my face as if I was two blocks away from her. Okay, so much for the touching mother-daughter talk I was looking forward to, I muttered inwardly. Deep inside, I knew she was right. Thinking of having a break from work is only for the fortunate yuppies who are showered with daddy’s old money, not me. I will simply starve to death and it won’t be such a sight to behold.

The next day, after having realized the frightening repercussions of being a twenty-something bum, I came up to my mother in all humility. “Okay mom, you were right…I’ll look for work again”, I finally resigned. It dawned on me that I can’t stay jobless and unwaged for a long time. I can’t let myself be just a hapless dot in the statistical charts of unemployment in the country. Plus, it’s better to bow down to the most powerful matriarch than risk having bleeding eardrums if I dared say another wrong word.

Two months later (talk about eagerly finding a job!) and almost hysterical about my vanishing financial resources, an opportunity landed right on my lap. A big international forwarding/logistics company scheduled me for an interview. I remember having submitted my resume on the Internet for their documentation assistant vacancy eons ago. It was really a thrill. The HR Manager thought I was too young and overqualified to be an archive clerk. She was probably impressed by my zealous answer as to why I deserved the job more than anybody else. Thanks to the powerful motivation of living and scrimping on a low-almost-nil-budget lifestyle.

The HR Manager offered the position of product coordinator. A supervisory level she said but with paid overtime work. Shut up! Is there really such a thing? I thought to myself. Whatever, it came from the HR Manager! With a firm handshake, I took the job (in fact, I would kill for it, if anybody tried taking it from me).

“Was I really that good? Didn’t I screw up and was a little rough on the edges?” asked Id. “Damn right, you’re good as ever, excellent without a doubt!” butted Superego, toned matter-of-factly. My head suddenly ached. The events were unfolding very fast and I felt like I wanted to hit the pause button so I can breathe. A lungful of carbon monoxide-tinted air would do me good compared to the overwhelming feeling of my brain swimming in the vastness of outer space. Unfortunately, there was no pause button. Wild guess was that there is no other button but play and probably fast-forward.

“The interview went well, congratulations”, I heard somebody commented while I buried my face underneath my pillow. I knew it was the sanest of my three so-called friends. It was always Ego who gave comments that are not so alarming. If I hadn’t listened to my Psychology professor in college, I would have jumped out of bed and into the streets screaming of ghosts in my bedroom. I need not say anything but I uttered a hesitant “I thought so” out of courtesy…to myself. Was I that shallow speaking to myself again? As far as I can remember, every significant event that happened in my life was a significant event for my three “friends” to re-emerge and make themselves felt. Only this time, it was my mother who may have roused them from deep slumber.

“Sharon, get off your bed it’s 5:30 in the morning it’s your first day in your new work!” My mom, in her morning voice hollered. I stirred up and sat on my bed. Feeling wise all of a sudden, I deduced that forcing yourself to sleep is like having a fake sleep, well, come to think of it, just a little more bearable than having your mother forcibly wake you up. As expected, it gave me a terrible headache that seemed to be splitting my head. I mightily pushed the thought that some negative force might actually have its way and triumph. Oh no, not today, I convinced myself.

In my new office, the manager expertly managed to introduce me to every single person in the building. It was entertaining, and took almost half a day. There were people who smiled genuinely; very eager to befriend me so they can eventually add me to their Friendsters. Then there were those who gave side-glances as if to say “take a hint you newbie, like I care!” And then there were those who greeted a simple hi and hello and disappear in an instant. Oh what a dynamic troupe! I thought to myself sensing a little twinge of uncertainty.

At the end of the day, having hurdled my first day, I was full of information I wasn’t sure I want to put to use. “You do not want this job. Sure it pays quite well but this isn’t you”, Id declared. Oh my, she has a point. This isn’t my lot. The uneasiness began to resurface. But I tried hard to learn everything from container sizes to memorizing the formula for computing cubic meters! I’m sure with little adjustments I can pull this off, I mused. Suddenly, as if the conflict isn’t bad enough, “Yes you can pull this thing off with flying colors. You’re an achiever…need I say that you badly need a job because you are running broke?” Superego blurted.

My head felt heavy as I took the public transport going home. I wanted to deny it but it was really rough forcing myself to like and develop instant affinity to my new job, plus, my would-be immediate supervisor had a terrible case of superiority complex. She likes to think I was hired to be her humble servant. She was like a character lifted from Stephen King’s Four Past Midnight novella. A librarian with long, red nails. I’m actually worried if she can ever type on her laptop without developing ingrown. I immediately tucked the thought away. I knew I can handle a horror novel character but I was a little irresolute on having a romantic relationship with container vans, forklifts and cargo ships. Sleep, Sharon! I ordered to my subconscious. Minutes later, I was dozing off like a baby.

I woke up very early the following day with unbelievably clear mind and more incredibly, a clear hearing since my mother didn’t have to force me to get off the bed. I was showering when a thought came to me; the trio was not complete last night when I was battling with my thoughts. It was only Id and Superego. Ego didn’t bother to give her side. Hmmm… that was a little strange. There were always three of them who feed and pound confusing thoughts to my brain.

I was as calm as the ocean on a summer day going to my second day of work. I got off the cab and smiled at the driver even if he refused to give me my change. I greeted the security guard with a perky “hello, Manong!” and went straight up to the office of the HR Manager with no qualms as to what I was going to do. “Good morning Ms. Garcia…I was wondering if it’s okay if I ask for a few minutes of your time…I need to tell you something”, I trailed off, pausing after every sentence, anticipating flying desk objects about me.

“Oh, please don’t tell me you are quitting”, the HR Manager said, wrinkling her forehead apprehensively. She pulled out a long manila envelope from the enormous steel cabinet, placed it on her desk and pushed it towards me. “There, I actually made time yesterday to compile your 201 file…please take a seat. Tell me Ms. Funcion, what seems to be the matter? You looked all thrilled to me just yesterday.” Her face seemed to soften as she continued with her counselor-ish inquiry. After a couple of minutes that seemed like hours, and a little tear that almost made its way out, we shook hands, and I was heading out the door again, calmer than the first time I came in. Fortunately the HR Manager was kind enough to understand the psychology of the dilemma of shifting from one extremely different profession to another, or very plainly, how awful it feels to be in a sticky situation where one is lost. I began to develop a new level of respect for her, needless to say.

That was easy, I told myself, even congratulated myself for the newfound courage in me. I would have hugged myself if I could and if people would not think of me as a cracked nut. Jobless again, I head home and told The Matriarch of my decision.

“Why am I not surprised? I think it’s very you. I am not sure though were you got that attitude, certainly not from my end”, my mother told me in a stern but loving tone. “By the way, here’s a message from some company…didn’t understand what the caller was saying, but just the same, I pray to anything holy that you’ll be back to your senses soon”. My mother, always half of everything nice and annoying. Smilingly, I took the note and dialed away. The following day, I was on my way to Enterworks.

The usual recruitment process took place, another high time for me to deal with my charms…or lack thereof. Fresh from my previous blunder, I learned to bare myself showing both my strengths and weaknesses and very careful with everything I said. There were qualms at first but I decided to give it a shot.

Now I figured my mother must have prayed hard to the Absolute because I am now on my second month and still counting, and having quite an experience altogether. With renewed enthusiasm, I think I am back to my old self again. Meanwhile, my three friends decided to keep quiet…at least for a while.


So they say what goes around comes around, much like Karma and the law of causality. I just wish the friendship was never trashed and traded with the “illusion of grandeur.” Quo Vadis?

Welcome Back!

Dinner with Ana, Belle, Yvet (with Xavier), Perpie and HB! Except for HB, it’s been ages since I last saw these girls. If not for Ana coming home from the US, I wouldn’t have seen them at all, so thanks girl. I hope the plans of an out-of-town trip pursued. It was pain seeing you all laboring over where to go and where to stay. ‘Til next time!

First Time to Paintball

Throughout the night, everybody waited for their occasional trips to the john, except for Leah. Thanks for drinking iced tea dear. We still need more sleep but we had to check out at 2 in the afternoon. I adopted the girls and let them stay in my place. Breakfast was officially served at 4pm and we still feel beaten to pulp. Muscles sore and heads burning, we still went to CCP for our paintball session.

At P200 each plus 20 free pellets, it was okay. Dan and Leo were black team while myself, Leah and Joyee belonged to green team. After being hit on the arm on our first round, I decided paintball isn’t my game. The darn bullet hurts! After that, I began to fear the game like it was real. Then of course, I was not a useful team mate anymore because all I did was hide and fire occasional bullets just so they’ll know I’m still alive. It really wasn’t a good idea to play it at night. Nobody has great pair of eyes nowadays! And I wish they would really do the gear a good washing. It would also help if the gun wasn’t that heavy and the mask not too prone to moist. Hahaha, too many complains from this girl. It means, I’m an “amateur” and will always be from the looks of it.

Night Out with Joyee

It’s the first time for the good little girls to get bad and wild, at least to our own biased, crooked standards. As usual we chose to stay at Malate Pensionne since the gimmick places are scattered around it and are all just a stone’s throw away.

I caught up with the girls in Star City, of all places. They went to shop at the tiangge stalls. My legs were already throbbing in pain for having to walk all throughout the day, nonstop, so Leo and I just waited for them outside. Had I realized earlier that we went there just to fetch them, I would have taken a nap in our room, instead, and sneak a few minutes of sleep. So that didn’t happen, too. After fetching the girls, we then went back to our hotel room, to chat! A bit of drama this time, so Joyee just insisted that we get the party started.

First stop, Acoustic Bar, as usual. It was really just a stop since we weren’t able to catch Cookie Chua. A cramped room full of chain smokers without Ms. Cookie isn’t inviting at all. So we had to break the long-standing habit of “Acoustic Bar first before anything else” and try our luck in other bars, instead.

Next stop -- Suburbia. Band was great. Cute guys singing R&B. I loved it still even if one of singers keeps having seizures on stage. He was so hyper that Joyee was actually getting her groove on. Plus the drinks were wicked. A long island in a very tall glass and the good old tequila knocked me down. I happily embraced the feeling of swimming in space again. On our way to Nakpil to look for another bar, we bumped into my sister Tirso with his angels. Not in SG but in Malate! How cool is that?! I missed him sooo much that we stood there on the street for almost 30-minutes just exchanging stories. Ahh, that made half my night but me and my angels still had to shake the tipsiness off.

On we went to another bar beside Indio. Something called Blue chuva whatever. Too drunk to remember but not that drunk to party! It was non-stop dancing…and drinking. Two bottles of beer and a glass of Smirnoff. Yes, glass and it tasted like water. The blasted bartender slipped water into our vodka. Pinoy nga naman. Good thing we were enjoying the music. Well, it was danceable until it ticked 5am and the DJ became incoherent with a mouthful of malicious remarks. It was a signal that it was time to go. Five in the morning and we still didn’t feel like calling it a day. On our way to Malate Pensionne, we heard Bedrock still bursting with music. So up we went and ordered for a drink. Another bottle of San Mig for me and half a bottle of Smirnoff because it was such a waste to see it untouched. Apparently Barbs had enough. Not 30 minutes later, the band packed up and we were all too tired to complain. Bless the muses because our room was just across the street. We slept while the outside world was spinning…(oh yes, after we side-tripped to 7-11 first for toiletries) hoping to regain the energy we lost. Tomorrow’s the much awaited paintball session ü

Painting Black

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