In the Book of Genesis, one reads that Adam lived 900 years. Methuselah lived 969 years. Abram, later renamed Abraham for reasons known only to God, lived 175 years. His wife Sarah died at 120 years old, her son, Isaac at 180.
Abraham bore a son, Ishmael, by his wife Sarah’s Egyptian servant, Hagar, upon Sarah’s own request because she was then barren. And so it came about that, at 99 years old, Abraham got circumcised along with his son, Ishmael, who was 13.
Sarah’s prayers were eventually answered when, at 90, she gave birth to her own son, Isaac. Abraham was then 100 years old.
Since I am 83 years old, by Bible standards, I must be in my salad years. It should explain some of my errant behavior, how I can be so happy with people much younger than I and even be their barkada.
And so it came to pass that the most recent jaunt I went to was the much-lauded Art Fair exhibit at The Link. I went with my buddy Raymond Lee aka Moira (filmmaker, “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros,” “Zombadings” and others). S/he was wearing a fashionable yellow sweater with a swishy skirt, 10-inch heels, with the confidence of a seasoned model.
At the Art Fair we encountered close friends Robert Alejandro and Jetro Rafael. Jetro had on a black top hat on which dangled a watch fob with chain, several medals and pins from flea markets around the world.
The night before there had been a costume party in Jetro’s restaurant, Van Gogh is Bipolar on Maginhawa St., Quezon City. He had used the whole area, Black Soup space included, and decorated it with white curtains and candlelight.
I wore an enormous wig from one of my stage productions and almost toppled over. Luckily, I had on a mask.
At the Art Fair, Raymond/Moira and I fell in love simultaneously with a fabulous painting by Robert Langenegger. It was of an old man looking in the mirror and imagining himself with boobs and wearing makeup and earrings. It now covers most of my wall and looks so good it makes people like me feel we have no right to ever pick up a brush. But it has a horrible title that I could have done something about.
The price of the painting, though reasonable, was a bit higher than either Raymond/Moira or I wanted to afford. But we couldn’t let go of the piece. We decided to be smart and make it a joint purchase. The painting with a co-parenthood would stay two/three months in his/her house and three months in mine.
We are still drawing up the contract, but it will not be a problem because we love each other and the baby.
Ghetto of ‘garapata’
But we could afford to splurge on a fabulous snack in Lusso. Later we strolled in the free space in Greenbelt where a young graffiti artist was painting garapata near the Swatch towers. A garapata is a voracious flea that feeds on dogs. But Dexter Fernandez’s garapata is a fat, cute, satisfied creature with five to six legs with shoes and soulful eyes.
When we got there, some young girls were sitting on the cement watching him paint. A guy strolling by sat down and began to play his ukulele. Later on, another weird fellow carrying an old typewriter sat down and began tapping its keys which produced musical sounds.
Dexter has long hair with bangs down to his eyes and a stick figure for a body.
So, of course, I engaged Dexter to deface my gate. He worked on it without stopping for two days. My daughter-in-law in the compound saw it and wanted a Dexter piece on the inner side of the gate, too. She was willing to pay for her side. That is why the front of the gate facing the street is dark blue with a ghetto of garapata, while the inner side is vermillion and has its own colony.
Later, I met some really nicely groomed contemporaries with highlights on their graying hair, smart shoes, bags and yayas. I couldn’t connect to them because I looked so grubby, and besides, they were too old for me.
The next day, some old friends decided to visit me: Lourd de Veyra, whom I haven’t seen for a great long while since he serenaded my newly renovated sunken bathtub; Louie Cordero, who is fast moving into the multimillionaire circle of artists, along with Jeremy Guiab who has always made the most fabulous furniture; Erwin Romulo, who edits Esquire; Nona Garcia, MM Yu, Moira and Io Regalado, the other artists in the band, and of course my mainstay friends Gino Gonzalez, Nonon Padilla, Leeroy New and BFF Manny Chaves. Am I bragging? Of course!
There, I’ve just lost my last chance to slip quietly into a gracious, wisdom-filled old age.