Nice to know you

So I found the book, All The Sad Young Literary Men by Keith Gessen, jutting out from the ledges of our staircase, sandwiched in between other books I haven't even touched for years, and just days before, I remembered our Creative Director--one of those esteemed people you meet in an ad agency, the one who won in festivals like Cannes Lions--borrow it from my makeshift shelf in my desk some years ago. Maybe she was intrigued by the cover? After a week or two she brought it back, asked me nonchalantly if I ever thought of becoming a copywriter. Preposterous, I thought, but I think I said something within the lines of a maybe and a no. Definitely not a yes. Then I had a crazy idea: what if she hid a message in one of the pages?

So I flipped it open and didn't see anything.

But opened it I did, and read the first 70 pages in a frenzy. And I thought I won't be reading a book in ages? Two weeks without a smartphone meant no articles about books, no Spotify songs, no unwanted ads, no Mocha Uson commentary. Just pure, unadulterated time with a real book!

This happened while I was attending an event for work just this afternoon, sitting in one of those workshops on theatre, listening and doing post-even documentation. It felt a lot like a fiction workshop, to be honest: there was a lot of energy and experimentation, and I was green with envy.


I'm trying to be happy even after I:
  • woke up at 3AM yesterday morning after knocks of the apartment caretakers--there was flood outside, and though we don't have to panic, it's best to put all our stuff--our flip-flops outside included--on elevated ground (the bed), so we packed everything for five minutes (a record breaker for my wife and I)
  • had to miserably put up with the flood creeping in our bedroom
  • had to go straight from Terminal 3 to the authorized repair center--this was three days after I accidentally slipped on the bow of the boat in El Nido, which soaked my smartphone deep in saltwater
  • knew the exorbitant price I had to pay
  • embarked on the said trip to the authorized repair center on a gloomy Tuesday afternoon, with son in tow, without any thought of bringing an umbrella (when will I ever learn?)
  • clumsily handled my ice cream cone and stained my shirt; this made me look glum for the rest of the rainy afternoon, no umbrella, with son in tow, both shirt and shorts stained
  • waited for a total of thirty minutes to find a taxi in Greenhills, found none, asked my son repeatedly if he's okay (thankfully he is, and he was fine throughout the day, and this was the only redeeming factor: my son is okay)
  • realized how GrabTaxi is just so fucking convenient at times like these
  • was shortchanged by fifty pesos by the taxi driver because I was just too lazy to get to the nearest ATM and give him the exact amount
  • realized how fifty pesos felt like a king's ransom now that I had to eke out my monthly salary, thanks to the smartphone-in-saltwater incident
  • have read and reread all these; if it weren't for the LEGO-themed decors and tables at SM Makati where my son had been genuinely happy, I would probably have no reason to celebrate.


I left

and went home with sand lodged under my fingernails.
(it felt futile) a memory

about the athlete I read 
about, a woman
who freedived 35 meters deep in the Meditteranean
and died, never found, a death
she must have wanted: a deep 

with the comfort of echoes. 

Books about books

There comes a point in your life when reading texts about texts and books about books--instead of the texts and books themselves--become the norm.