Watercooler



I rarely talk to anyone new. Office banter fills my head. My mind is calibrated to tick off lists, to list down minutes of three meetings, only to send those to people who wouldn't read them. Same old songs play in new contexts - usually when stuck in traffic - overwriting a previous, more colorful life. This quote from Anne Carson sums it up gracefully: "I can feel that other day running underneath this one / like an old videotape." But the other day is more glorious, much more glorious. I read Bourdain in traffic once, the rustling of pages spooking out people. Reading an Anne Carson over sleazy R&B, the water guy knocks the gate, delivers three jugs exactly an hour after I texted. These days, the only respite is a conference room at 8 P.M., when everyone tells me to leave the pilot lights on before I go. The room overlooks the traffic in and out of the city. The ebb and flow. I stare at the office TV that projects the progress of my file upload: 86%. I rode a taxi to the bus station: the driver has been doing his job since 1975. The year when my second sister was born. "Monumento to Baclaran would only take 10 minutes." Maybe it will be just a breeze? Last night my wife forwarded an email I sent her way back 2012. The email, entitled 'Family Romance' (named because we both liked the song with the same title by Deparment of Eagles), which did not include anything except for the signature "sent from my iPod", has an attached photo of the two of us with a two-month old baby boy asleep on her clothed breasts. Now my five year-old dreams of a time machine to transport him to his future pilot self. I wanted to go back, instead, to those few days when I victoriously claim to be "a day without problems", those days that just passes by in the same ease as swiping on a smartphone. Then, this afternoon: men from the bigasan at the market was tossing sacks of rice from the truck to the floor. It didn't take a while for one of the sacks to break upon landing. Grains burst from the sack. I looked at the grains on the dusty market road.