One of the joys of writing a column is getting feedback from readers. I am grateful to those who take the time to comment. Good, bad or indifferent, it is proof that someone out there reads my thoughts, and it feels good. Thank you all.
Last Sunday’s piece got mixed reviews.
One regular “fan” texted: “No comment on your impassioned indictment of chauvinist pigs.” (His words, not mine).
Another one gave me a pat on the back for being “spot on.”
A childhood friend asked, “Doesn’t it bother you that your scars are showing? Why do you wear your heart on your sleeve?”
Let me reply. When I edited my piece for last Sunday, I took those possible reactions into account. I assure you that it was not meant to offend or exalt any particular group or gender. It was not a case of “if the shoe fits, wear it.”
I like to tell stories, and the only story I know from every angle and in every light is my own. I have no business recounting anyone else’s travails. If the battles I have fought (some I won, many I lost) help anyone in a similar situation, then it was worth the telling.
Did it sound irreverent to admit to indiscretions? Perhaps. But with the years, one becomes a little less guarded. Maybe our defenses are no longer up, and pretenses have all bade a fond and final farewell. At last I am happy with the real deal about me. Yes, what you see is what you get.
I remember that shortly after I came home from America for “balik-buhay,” we had a class reunion.
The theme was “catching up.” We were to go up to a microphone and fill classmates in on what had been going on in our lives. Good concept. You must try it some time.
My speech was the shortest. I said, “I don’t have anything to tell you that you don’t know or that you haven’t already talked about. Some of it may have been a little exaggerated and perhaps not too accurate, but all of it is true.” I heard a collective gasp. A few jaws dropped. But lunch was delicious.
Shameless? Not really. But yes, direct. I have lived too long in the world of make-believe and I am “up to there” with putting on a show.
Age teaches one to distinguish between what’s real and what isn’t. There’s not much time left to put up with phony. So, pardon me if my heart is showing. But I am kind of rushing at this point to get it all said and done.
Up and away
It has been a busy week. Preparing for a trip is not without its complications, especially for a senior. I have a checklist of the things I can’t travel without.
My maintenance meds go into my hand-carried overnighter. I pack an extra month’s supply. I imagine scenarios. What if I overstay or get stranded? God forbid I have to buy medications abroad and without my senior citizen card! Scary thought.
In my younger days, I had a fetish for shoes. Today my feathered mules have been replaced by flip-flops. Instead of the high-heel stilettos of yesteryears, I walk around in flat ballet slippers with rubber soles.
By the time this sees print, I will be in Sydney, relishing the warmth of family I have missed.
I am going on a “digging expedition” for our roots and it promises to be exciting, revealing and a lot of fun.
I have a date with my cousin to do some major sleuthing. He is 93. He and his wife live in a retirement home in Thornleigh, a suburb of Sydney. He has kept a journal and his memory is as sharp and clear as it ever has been. I can’t wait to sit down with him and just listen.
Signs of the times
Hawaii was our home for almost 20 years. I remember it as my “happy place,” and in my heart I know I will go back (to my little grass shack?) someday.
In Honolulu, we were filled with the spirit of aloha and, like natives, loved to run around barefoot, waving the shaka sign.
Shaka is not a Hawaiian word. It is a hand gesture with the thumb and little finger extended and the other three folded. You wiggle the wrist and it means, “Good job, good luck or hang loose.” Some claim it came from Spain where, in shaka position, the thumb points to the mouth and the head tilts back, to mean, “let’s chugulug.”
Here at home, “isang dangkal,” like the shaka, is described as the span between the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger when the hand is spread. It is used by traders of old newspapers and has become their accepted unit of measure. In our area, one dangkal sells for “only P30.”
Recently, the once lowly dangkal graduated from the lumang dyaryo market to the (not so) hallowed halls of the Senate.
There was their star witness, on national TV, the picture of glam and ease, describing how she “delivered the goods.” His honor asked: “How much?” Almost too casually, she showed us a manicured “dangkal,” today’s way to measure “only one million pesos.” Hmmm.
And speaking of shaka, I wish to send a huge one for good luck to Joey Manahan, grandson of Dr. Tito and Elvira Manahan, who is making a bid for the US Congress in April. Wish he were running here. We need young men of integrity to help set our country right.