Memorial Day

Yesterday was Memorial day and our office was supposed to celebrate U.S. Holidays. My boss, based in Dallas, Texas, e-mailed us that he has decided to move the holiday to July 5th, right after the July 4th (Independence Day) holiday, for a four-day weekend. The four of us in the office shrugged. We knew we couldn't do about it, but we bickered at the decision.

Last year, I booked a flight from New York to San Francisco the morning of the Memorial Day. My sisters knew the flights would be wide open. It was my first time to experience going home all by myself, and the oil spill at the Gulf Coast, aired on the in-flight TV screens, soothed me. I looked down from the plane window and saw the Rocky Mountains. Nothing much but just white-and-gray marbling. Upon spotting vivid beta-carotene farms (not sure if they really are those farms, but they looked line one), I reached San Francisco and stayed with my aunt for a day. The next day, after having too much trouble with overweight baggage, I was bound for Manila.

"It's been a year," my sister e-mailed. Time flies fast, she said, and she said she wanted to say hi to Perry (my eight-month old son). In less than a year I got married, had a son, found a night-shift job in Ortigas. 

Also attached in her e-mail is a recipe of alfajores for my wife to bake: it's really good, she said. It's basically shortbread cookies with dulce de leche filling. My sisters were very glad they've had it first in this Cuban restaurant they frequented in Hoboken, La Isla. I ate their Cuban steak there once, and finished everything on the plate, and went home with a bad case of impacho.

So I went to work last night. By the time we arrived at work we knew we won't be doing that much. The memorial weekend is one of the big holidays, next to Thanksgiving, and there should be minimal paperwork. My boss joked that all he ever wanted last night was for us to see his necktie. "It's the American flag," he said. 

As expected, we had minimal tasks, and all of us were finished by 3 AM. I suggested that we should go get something to drink and wait for 6AM. All of us were scared to be mugged, so we paid for the taxi. We chipped in some money for two mucho Red Horse bottles. By 6 AM we were eating at this tapsilugan near UST where the atchara looked bleached. (Maceda?)

By 7AM I reached Lawton, and I was very nervous. It looked very dilapidated, from the Park and Ride building with its retro typography down to the tunnel with the yellowing tiles and the leaks from what seemed like toilets overhead. I was trying to find the stop for the Pacita-bound buses, where I was residing with my in-laws for a couple of days. I've asked fatigued jeepney drivers and manangs who looked like they've been living in Lawton for decades (one was even cooking breakfast with a stove on one of the bus stops) and they all led me to different stops, until I spotted a Green Star bus and chased it. There, I started having chills. It's most likely caused by the beer.

I arrived at my in-law's house and went straight to the bedroom to get some sleep. I knew my wife would understand, and she did. I rarely drink, since I always read or perform my daddy duties during my spare time.

My chills were getting worse, and at twelve noon I had to vomit on the toilet bowl.

Worse, I miscalculated the trajectory and cleaned the mess. I knew my in-laws would be downright displeased with my drinking on a Monday night (who does that, anyway?), so I told my wife not to tell it to anybody. Of course I won't, she said.

I didn't go to work that night. My wife and I are thinking if it's food poisoning from the tapsilog I had for breakfast, or if it's just hangover left untreated, or a bad case of dehydration. The only thing I know is that it's similar with the stomach flu I had (with the chills and that squeezing feeling in the bones), sans the fever.