23 January 2022

A serious lapse of judgement

The year is still in its infancy and yet I have already made it memorable in the wordt possible way.

It was early January, we were invited to an impromptu evening party. We've actually just concluded a beach gathering which lasted the entire afternoon. My wife had to stay home as we had some guests over so my daughter and I went.

They were serving bourbon whiskey. I said I was only going for beer, but that shot was a welcome drink. So I acquiesced. Long story short, that welcome drink was followed by another, then another...

I was startled by my 7am alarm. I hastily shut it off, then realised I fell asleep on the sofa. I couldn't remember what transpired that night. I had blacked out.

Which is a scary thing. Because I'm not sure exactly what happened! I managed to piece some scant details from my daughter and other friends; and I did not like what I heard. And, as to be expected, our host had some video footage which he thought was entertaining. He let me view it when we next met in another occasion, but after the first five seconds I refused to watch further. They saw a drunk me throwing a fit; I saw my drunk father. I was becoming what I did not want to be.

At first I wanted to place the blame on my friends who served the drinks. But eventually I realised it's not their fault, but mine. I should have exercised self control.

It's true that your ultimate adversary is yourself.

I guess you now know what my new year's resolution is.

17 January 2022

It's getting hot in here

It's late in the night but I'm having a bit of a problem catching my zzzzs. Too warm! Not that I'm complaining, we don't get a lot of these hot days here in NZ. But when I started sweating right after a shower, it just reminded of my early days in Manila when I started working professionally in the early 90s. Growing up in the cool city of Baguio, the hot and humid Manila climate was a challenge to adjust to.

Being a minimum wage worker meant I had to look for bedspace accommodations in Guadalupe, Makati City. That meant living with four other guys in a cramped room with bunk beds and no windows. The first thing I bought, besides beddings, was an electric fan. But even when the fan is aimed straight at me, it's just circulating the warm air so I would be sweating til late, when the evening finally cools down.

I remember there wasn't really much to do at night. The internet was very much a privilege then, and we had analog mobile phones (Nokia 2200 I think) and a beeper! We didn't even have a TV! So we would nofrmally chat until it's time for bed.

I wasn't much of a conversationalist though so as soon as I had the money I bought a small TV! Without telling the landlord! That took them by surprise when they saw us watching TV one night. Good thing they didn't raise the rent.

I don't think I lasted a year there when two of my officemates suggested we rent an apartment. That was a huge improvement!  But the other thing that triggered that memory is my son working on a Gundam kit. It was in those cramped quarters that I found interest in painting model kits (soldiers and knights, then Star Wars ships). This led to Gundams eventually. There wasn't much to do on weekends so that kept me occupied when I didn't have the money to go home.
I wonder how my old bunkmates are doing now...

10 January 2022

Pure shores


I was around 10 when I first felt sand between my toes. It was at the  Blue Beach in the city of Dagupan in the Philippines.

I was spending the summer in my father's hometown. My uncle decided to bring me to the beach. It was just the two of us. I didn't think it will be much fun at all, until I saw that vast expanse of deep blue in the horizon as our ride trudged along the dusty road. And then I heard the rhythmic, rustling sound of the waves crashing to the shore. I was in the water one time, then on the sand next. I couldn't get enough of the warm waters and the smooth sand. When it was finally time to go home, I fell asleep in the ride home but my dreams were of floating in the water and the sound of the waves playing over and over in my head.

We're staying at a house near the beach at the moment, and seeing my daughter play reminded me of that happy childhood memory, and of why I'm always drawn to the beach.

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