In the work-buy-consume-die line that we have socially contracted our selves into, it should be common sense that if the work and die components are completely non-negotiable, we’d might as well make the best of everything in between. It’s great if you have a fun job, and props to you. Milk that shit for what it’s worth. I have a fun job. But it shouldn’t be all there is. It doesn’t have to be a career in order to provide a sense of accomplishment.

Losing is often accompanied by the reality that I’m going to spend that money, time, or energy all the same. And that’s why making a decision does not have to result in as much agony as we have painted it to. Come to think of it, making a decision only requires you to yield. It’s actually the easiest thing a human being with a working brain and a clear enough grasp of causality should be able to do. Just make a decision: you can be a child molester (note that I said “can” and not “should” so please don’t quote me on this).

The best thing about making a decision is that you are allowed to change your mind, especially in cases where next to no one, besides yourself, is involved; especially in cases where there is time. There isn’t always time, so change whatever you can, while you can.

Yes, I have been called selfish. I also know that I live in a society where indecisiveness is one of the biggest character flaws an adult of professional status could display.

But it’s not about something being a flaw or a problem, it’s usually the way you see it.

I’ve come to the decision that I will probably spend the rest of my life looking indecisive and selfish. And that’s okay. That’s just another thing I’ve chosen to stand by. Rather than making a career out of devotion and surgical focus, I’ve decided to just be. There is no shortage of babies and careers and estates and married couples in this world. That’s another boat that doesn’t need me in it.

Getting Married and Having Babies Means Never Traveling Alone AGAIN!

Becoming a BETTER ME with The Tangential, and other things I am learning on this weekend of isolation and self-help

You don’t have to tell me about the difference between having time and making time, okay! I know! I know! And my ear, it fucking hurts! If I were to go out tonight, not only will I not be able to hear you and default to yelling because I can’t even hear myself (“MOM! I THINK MY CAT LIKES YOU!” I really said this earlier. Really!), but I will be CRANKY AS FUCK. As I am right now.

This is a situation I am dealing with by reading a lot of self-help blogs. I have also come to consider The Tangential as only the best self-help blog EVER because it offers these gems, which I have listed below for future reference, just in case this ear thing happens again. Enjoy.

  1. After reading The 10 Worst Types of Boys and realizing I’ve dated every one of these guys, once even having all ten (okay, 7 out of 10, which is still pretty appalling/alarming/both) traits packed neatly into one dude (and I use the word DUDE without ANY sense of residual affection for these DUDES), I figured I’d probably be better off just skipping the whole dating game. I’ll probably wait out what’s left of my 20’s volunteering at the animal shelter until I become schizophrenic from constantly having cats rub up against me. If not, I’ll spend the rest of my life working and spending whatever I earned traveling around aimlessly til I contact some crazy STD (because apparently, that’s what happens to people who travel, said this one guy I dated) and render myself forever alone on account of said STD.
  2. And hey, STDs and all, you only live once, RIGHT?!
  3. Was I more fun before I stopped drinking? I haven’t consumed any alcoholic beverages in more than two months and this is becoming a cause for concern…
  4. “It takes between 2-4 years to learn the ins and outs of someone else’s imperfections. That window of time also happens to be enough for one of you to significantly change and do something wacky like become a born-again Christian, gain forty pounds, discover World of Warcraft, or get addicted to Vicodin. It’s unlikely that the first person you fall in love with will survive these first 4 years without putting you through some major compromises. Bumwave.” BUMWAVE INDEED! Thanks for just explaining why and how my last long-term relationship ended!
  5. Counted 4 “Hey, didn’t I see you having dinner at iHop?” guys while watching Amigo. Okay this has nothing to do with self-help, I just remembered. Also, you guys should watch Amigo!
  6. It occurred to me that high school lesbian “phases” probably “do not count” in the “grand scheme” of things. Therefore…
  7. Use big words like “ectomorph” and regale the blogosphere with your insights on “nationalism” and “consuming Otherness” and “Uproot…tion…Uprootion!”
  8. WHOA! I too can style myself into a hot chick! (See “Consuming Otherness” i.e. no. 6.

Does good karma bring kittens back?

We have  a way of resorting to abstractions when it comes to talking about the things we care about: hero, Pinoy, freedom, virtue, “doing your best”, imperialism, colonialism; railing against the system rather than fixing the small components on which it runs. My current favourite: “reality”, a word that assumes we can sweep all the small things under the same rug of collective experience.

The more we speak of these big things that concern us, that inform our practice as realists and adults, the more we are separated from the smaller things, convinced of their insignificance and lack of consequence in light of the bigger picture. As if the only way to understand life is in light of a grand scheme. As if the only way to live is to grasp the bigger picture or at least keep up some pretense of understanding.

My cares are small. Then again I’ve always cared about small things–plane tickets, the few hours I’d spend at a concert, deadlines, words–I’ve been crying for two days over a kitten.

Continue reading “Does good karma bring kittens back?”

A Priest, a Director, and the Problem with Conyo…Humor

A Rumination on Other People’s Ruminations

(An Essay of Reflection by Alice Sarmiento)

A priest, a film director, and a vagina walk into a bar. The film director goes up to the jukebox to pick a song from, but the jukebox is one of those new things that charges you piso per song, so he’s like “Can anyone spare a buck?” and the priest goes, “We can spare a slot!” And the film director just stares at them blankly and goes, “I don’t speak English.” And the vagina goes “What’s a slot?” And no one laughs, because even the priest had no idea what the joke was.

If it won’t fly with the noontime show crowds, chances are it goes both ways. I can’t understand what’s so funny about Eat Bulaga the same way that How I Met Your Mother freaks the proverbial shit of anyone who can’t follow a non-linear narrative. When the gap between two audiences is so vast, trying to make both parties laugh at the same thing is akin to whispering a secret from someone else’s backyard. But these are only nuances in a system that understands me with my pretentious droll and the “general public” genuflecting at the feet of Vic Sotto as anonymous components of a market segment. To the network, the bigger slice: that’s your audience, it’s them–and not the shareholders or the producers–who get to decide what “culture” is.

What bothers me is that the choice to be true to the culture of this third world backwater has sunk to the level of pie-throwing, clowning around, and paying people to laugh, as if they will not get the difference between simple and simplistic. Noontime variety shows in all their incarnations only pour the salt on the open wound created by the rift between privilege and deprivation. As if to tell the general public at whom network TV is directed, “You’re Filipino, you can’t think.”

Continue reading “A Priest, a Director, and the Problem with Conyo…Humor” is sending me email about guys I should hook up with, but I can’t see them unless I pay $27.00 a month.

And I just picked up a kitten. From the sidewalk. I guess I saved its life, but at the same time I’m turning into this stereotype, possibly further attenuating my chances at a normal romantic relationship (what does that even mean?!). My sister just sent me a text message, saying I should get the cat vaccinated for whatever schizophrenia-causing bacteria it is that cats carry. She also reminded me not to put the cat in my mouth, because this is a surefire way to catch the crazies. What if it was the cat’s fault, you know, it jumped in my mouth?

And no way am I paying $27.00 for the chance to stalk the profile of a man on another land mass! Maybe after a few more weeks with my kitten (it jumped into my mouth! Hands are CLEAN!), I’ll want to, but whatever 27 bucks I had to spare was already spent at the vet’s office. So I could have a few months without swilling the crazysauce.