Saturday, December 25, 2004

Sex and City and Me

I was never a loyal fan of Sex and the City. I liked it when it came out and I never missed an episode. After the first few seasons, it started getting old. Sex, sex, sex. I only began watching it again on its last season.

During my disenchantment, friends would ask if I saw the latest episode. No, I wasn't able to. Then they'd tell me about it.

I liked the clothes, the shoes, the restaurants they went to. And New York City.

It was always my dream to end up in New York City. During college, I had this dream of studying in New York, maybe painting in the School for Visual Arts, or Journalism in Columbia, or Film in NYU. I did send in my applications, but was rejected in all of them. Sayang. I was planning to shave my head, the moment I stepped onto the streets of Manhattan.

Did you know that New York City is one of the few places where it is easy to shoot a movie? They actually set up a city agency that supports filmmakers who want to shoot scenes on the streets of New York.

I just caught the HBO special on the ending of Sex in the City, hyping up the last two episodes which will be shown on Tuesday, 8:00 PM.

One thing is true: they have been around for a while. Six years. Late nineties. That was a good time for me as well. I wasn't thirty then, and nowhere near it. I was young, with a Black Russian in one hand and a cigarette in the other. I had great friends, great time, and I was a complete mess inside.

Things were just starting then, it seemed. Like the Internet, which was a baby compared to what it is now.

And Sex in the City was just a show about women who talked about sex a lot. It was interesting and exciting, until the whining and the men began to repeat themselves. It was only later, in the last two seasons, when things began to end, that it became interesting again.

Forever is a fantasy. Endings, which can lead to beginnings, is the reality.

I am reminded again of this tonight.

As the old scenes from the TV show flashed, as the cast and crew gave their praises and goodbyes, it is only after so many years that the show has gathered its significance.

If it ended in a year or two, it would have meant absolutely nothing. That it lasted longer that it should have, in TV time, allowed it to transcend its origins. They believed, the actors, the writers, the crew, they are all convinced that they were part of something big.

And I envy them for that.

How do I become part of something big? Did they know this when they started? Perhaps not. It is only after, I remind myself.

Perhaps, years from now, I will realize that I was never part of anything outside of myself. Years and year from now. Only then.

Happy Christmas.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Remember What We Were Supposed To Be

I fought with my best friend tonight.

Should I even write about this? A few paragraphs is better than finishing off a pack of Marlboro Lights. We were in this bar in Greenbelt and she started talking about this guy she's dating. That was fine, but the guy really rubs me the wrong way. I couldn't really sympathize with her giddiness.

If you read this--hey--then I'm sorry. God, this is so showbiz.

To make a long story short and bearable, we stopped talking, finished our smokes and drinks and said goodbye to each other. She had a car, and I had a taxi cab waiting for me.

I didn't want to go home yet so I told the driver to bring me to Rockwell. I went to a bar there and downed a White Russian and proceeded to Fully Booked. I had to take my mind off things. Afterwards I went out of the mall and walked to Starbucks.

My phone buzzed in my handbag. A text message:

M sori

It was so easy to reply then, but part of me didn't want to. There was so much I wanted to say and it won't fit in a text message or make sense through a phone call. I had to be face to face with her, my best friend, with my facial expression and my hand gestures and arm-waving.

And it's not just about the guy. It's not about the guy at all.

It's just that I want so much more from our friendship, like the way we used dream about when we were in high school. All those promises and dreams of being friends forever. I've seen it happen. One by one, our barkada disappeared behind a wall, getting married, getting pregnant, becoming super moms, with house loans and car payments and children's parties and family trips to Splash Island.

We used to dream about living in a big house somewhere, remember? An old house with a friendly ghost and a dozen rooms. And we would take in stray cats and stray dogs and friends who have nowhere else to stay. We would have our own business: a sari-sari store and cafe and bookstore downstairs, from a converted garage; our own fashion line, including accessories and shoes; art classes every weekend, for kids; a mushroom farm beneath our house. And more.

And you were supposed to be a photographer, remember? And not an account manager?

And our husbands would live with us and love us and our kids would grown up together in the same house. And we would be buried in our own backyard, beneath a big mango tree. As angels, we will watch our kids grow up, watch them make the same mistakes we did. Watch them get hurt and cry and laugh and be amazed at the world.

Remember all that?

Monday, December 06, 2004

Sunday Evening Walk with Slight Misadventure

After the last mass at Greenbelt, I took a walk.

I had a small knapsack with me, swinging on my left shoulder. It was heavier than usual, because I bought some books at Powerbooks and I had the idea of bringing a flask of home-brewed coffee.

The priest discussed marriage for some reason. I listen to sermons indirectly, as if through a reflection. I zone out and focus on the general direction of the altar, and I let my mind wander. I justify this as divinely inspired daydreaming. I am in a holy place, after all, in a holy ceremony.

I don't like the idea of marriage anymore.

When I was young, I imagined I would be married with kids by the time I was 24, because it had seemed to be a very old age to be. Then by the time college came, marriage just seemed so crazy. There so much to do. I wanted a career. I wanted to have sex with boys. And girls. I wanted to travel. I wanted to shave my head. I wanted to screw up badly and redeem myself. I couldn't imagine taking care of anyone else.

My best friend in college had a solution: get married in Las Vegas and get divorced right after, just to get it over with.

This idea was recently made real by Britney Spears, but years ago, it was also (apparently) done by the parents in Family Ties. One episode showed how the kids discovered that the parent were previously married. It turns out that they were previously married to each other. They got married early, got divorced, then found each other again.

Well, our idea was to get married and get it over with, so that I can just say to everyone (Dad, Mom, everyone) that I tried it and it didn't work.

Another great way to get married then get widowed early. That is more tragic and would draw sympathy, unlike the reaction for a Las Vegas divorce. But wishing to be widowed was risky business.

I thought about these things during mass, all the way up to the end of mass, and up until my evening walk. When I stopped and looked around, I was by the Filipinas Heritage Library. How did I get here?

Oh, well, where do I go next? What's open on a Sunday night? Maybe Jupiter. How about Rockwell?

The evening was warm and clear. No chance of rain. And it was nice to have trees above me. I always wished that Makati would have a huge park, a real one, not the fake parks it has now. Parks with big open fields where I can lie down during cloudy days and listen to my iPod. Where I can play Frisbee with my gang.

When I reached the corner of Paseo and Buendia, I bumped (crashed) into someone.

Sorry! I said, holding my chest. Ow.

He was running. It was a guy I assumed. Or a big girl.

Tangna. I cursed. No one saw it. On the sidewalk, I noticed a small book. It looked like a Bible. I picked it up. It felt like one.

The guy must have dropped it.

I went and tried to follow the mystery man to return the book. He turned the corner into Dela Costa. When I got there, he was gone. Maybe he went to Ministop, so off I went. Not there. I peeked into Figaro. Nope. Oh, well.

I ordered some coffee jelly--hold the ice cream--and sat down. Hmm, I need a smoke, but no cigs.

I picked up and opened the book. It was in French. Something about Camus. Not a Bible after all. There was something scribbled on the inside of the front cover:

Et quand vous trouvez ceci, vous commencerez à vous trouver.

Back home, I translated it, and realized that I forgot to drink the coffee in the flask in my bag.