Thank you, Armida | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

And they’re off!


The campaign has begun, officially, that is. Many candidates actually started months ago, illegalities notwithstanding, and they blamed it on their eager supporters who could not hold back their enthusiasm and were straining at the bit. Whatever.


I have noticed that social media has more “don’t vote for” than “vote for” posts online. Interesting. Are there that many undesirables running in May?


Months ago, when my driver retired to his hometown in Bohol, I desperately searched for a replacement. It was not easy. Many times I asked myself if I was being too choosy. Was my list of qualifications too strict and difficult to satisfy?


I turned down at least a dozen during the first week alone. They didn’t meet my standards.


One was rejected because he drank on the job. Another one smoked. Some had no police clearance. One of them had served time for shoplifting. Another one failed because he had two families and that always means trouble.


My friend was helping me screen applicants. One morning he called to say: “Is it possible that you are being too strict? The only thing you don’t ask for is a college degree. Asking for a road test is important. Obviously if he is not a good driver, he’s out. If he is full of infractions of the basic rules of the road, he should not be hired.


“But your list made me realize that we are more careful in choosing our household help than we are in electing our government officials.”


He went on. “Look at the latest poll surveys. The candidates with high marks are the ones with dark reputations, who have all kinds of lurid stories attached to their names. Some of those running for office don’t qualify to run for dogcatcher. I wouldn’t hire any of them to drive my car, shine my shoes or to be the yaya of my grandchildren. I would not have them anywhere near me, my home or my family.”


I took a reluctant look at the survey results online. I examined the names on the roster. I couldn’t believe the gall of some of those smiling faces.


Disgusted, I hit the power off button.


Love day


I really had no Valentine’s agenda this year. I was supposed to watch a show, but the prospect of getting stuck in horrendous traffic changed my plans.


Every year I marvel at the romantic souls that venture out on that special “love day,” braving the bumper-to-bumper mess on the streets, just to listen to romantic songs, hold hands and exchange sweet sighs.


I have a question. Do they detach themselves from their phones at least for that one night? Just asking.


I read a commentary the other day about what pulling out your cell phone means to the person you are with. It tells them that they are not important, that they don’t matter. Ouch.


Anyway, I did get together with friends during the love week but there were no red hearts or long-stemmed roses at our table. We were not celebrating Valentine’s.


But why was our conversation about love?


We talked about a high-profile Manila couple that after many decades together decided to call it quits. We were not surprised. Someone asked: “Who decided to end it? And why so late in the day?”


I have read that, “Sometimes walking away is the only option.  Not because you want to make someone miss you, or realize they took you for granted. But because you finally respect yourself enough to know that you deserve better.” Bravo.


Indelible mark


We had an intimate lunch. When you are with people you have known forever, there are no inhibitions, no filters. Some of the stories we shared would make perfect material for a movie, or a bestseller; at least a teleserye, or even for “MMK.” All love stories are beautiful, no matter that they end, or even how they end.


Some writers say that falling in love leaves an indelible mark in one’s life. I believe that the memory remains, even when the love does not. But the heart remembers, always.


An article by Mandy Len Catron was published in The New York Times some years ago. Under the title of “Falling in Love Is the Easy Part,” here are some takeaways.


“Falling in love feels amazing, but it’s also terrifying. The moment you admit to loving someone, you admit to having a lot to lose.


“The thing that most of us really want from love: to be known, to be seen, to be understood.


“What I want from love is a guarantee that I am loved today and that I will be loved tomorrow. But what I have instead is the chance to make the choice to love someone and the hope that he will choose to love me back, and it is terrifying. But that’s the deal with love.”


So true.


Sad tidings


My heart is heavy.


Armida Siguion-Reyna, “Aawitan Kita” herself, has gone home to be with the Lord, and her beloved Sig.


In the early ’90s, with my life in a shambles, she let me live in her Manhattan apartment. On one of her visits, she sat me down and in a stern voice told me: “No more tears. You will rise above this. You have to. And you can. Remember, you are stronger than you think.”


And I never forgot.


Thank you, Armida.

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