While hunkering down and munching on my McSpicy sandwich, with my son high on french fries and gravy, and my beloved wife drugged by their "limited edition" coffee float, amidst packs of Sunday afternoon snackers, shopping cart parked next to our table, I felt the guilt of eating food that I am well aware of as highly processed, saturated with artifical flavors and preservatives, and more atrocities I have yet to read, and it kicked in with the voice of The Onion's headlines: 24 year-old Area Man Feels Middle Class Guilt For Eating With Middle Class People At Nearby Fastfood Chain.
At the train I was itching to write about this guy about my age who's reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman, since I'm doing this zine idea of writing about people I see who read books. (You can read these here.) The shameful part is that all my devices wasn't charged and I realized how technologically dependent I was in writing. I didn't have any pen. (My iPad was but it's too hefty, and that's beside the point).
Being alone in the bedroom where I had spent days staring at the ceiling reminds me of pseudo-independence. What a sobering thought. It might be true that I am left without anybody to take care of, no errands to do, no reminders of time and its passage. But at the same breath, reading so many books doesn't make sense in this frame of mind. All I ever think about are worthless things, craving for stuff I don't really need, like playing Warcraft or writing a story with a single fragment in mind: "Contrary to forecasts", which I find intriguing, or just thinking about the typhoon, hoping for another work-from-home stint this morning, more time to cook some kimchi-and-tofu soup my Dad and I have been planning to do since March. It's very counter-productive. I can read more pages in a fourteen-hour flight than a three-day stay in this room.
At 8:30 AM the radio's taxi blared something like Grin Department and its ambiguous lyrics and often snarky line cuts (though it could be another band--I'll Google it); the previous taxi drivers didn't have much, maybe some love songs in the morning, or traffic updates, or even, as in last Saturday night's, a debate between the announcer and a UP professor on the planned removal (?) of Filipino subjects in the college curriculum, an especially absorbing moment in all the cab rides I took in the span of a few days, thanks to my frequent visits to commuter-snob Tomas Morato to get my wife's laptop repaired. Even the PBO movies flashed at the repair shop ("you can change the channels if you want," one of the staff said) were laudatory: two days ago it was Dina Bonnevie, Ariel Rivera and Cherie Gil in a family hostage crisis of some sort set in New York; today it was Dina Bonnevie, this time a third wheel entangled in Vilma Santos and Edu Manzano's marriage. Both are from the early '90s, with the Filipino family at its spotlight, reshaped by modern times. All this was a different take on my mornings, disturbing the work-house routine. After this, the repairs would probably be over, and there was no reason to go back to Tomas Morato; the neighborhood can bore you. If not for its Boy Scout history, what else but restaurants, or the occasional trysts and arguments from with sweetheart at the sidewalk, or a tofu shop popping out of nowhere.