I’ve been wanting chairs for a long time now. You see, in all the myriads of upheavals, uprootings, relocations, and comings and goings in my so-called life, I haven’t really found time or enough space to accumulate that much furniture. Chairs in particular. No proper seating to speak of, just these banged-up, mismatched plastic eyesores that serve their utilitarian purpose but are certainly not much to look at. Now that I’ve moved into an apartment with a bit of room to maneuver in, seating is my next project on the acquisitions list for the hive. Gotta get me some proper park-your-butt-in-comfort chairs!
And since I’m hung up on chairs lately, I’ve dug up a joke that features a novel use for a chair. Preferably those metal ones that stack up so nicely.
The CIA had an opening for an assassin. After all of the background checks, interviews, and testing were done, there were three finalists—two men and a woman.For the final test, the CIA agents took one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a gun.
“We must know that you will follow your instructions, no matter what the circumstances. Inside of this room you will find your wife sitting in a chair. Kill her.”
The man said, “You can’t be serious! I could never shoot my wife.”
The agent said, “Then you’re not the right man for this job.”
The second man was given the same instructions. He took the gun and went into the room. All was quiet for about five minutes.
Then the man came out with tears in his eyes. “I tried, but I can’t kill my wife.”
The agent said, “You don’t have what it takes. Take your wife and go home.”
Finally, it was the woman’s turn. She was given the same instructions—to kill her husband. She took the gun and went into the room. Shots were heard—one shot after another. They heard screaming, crashing, banging on the walls. After a few minutes, all was quiet. The door opened slowly and there stood the woman.
She wiped the sweat from her brow, and said, “This gun is loaded with blanks. I had to beat him to death with the chair.”
I have two dear friends, a forty-something couple who have recently traded in life in the crazy metro for the coastal quiet of my hometown in the sunny south. The Giant (TG) and Inday have been preparing for their early retirement for years. TG I surmise, has had it with facing the daily grind of smog, traffic, and the travails of breathing news for years on end. For Inday on the other hand, the return to her childhood haunts can only be as bittersweet as any reunion with the past.
In December of last year they packed up their lives, sold most of their city furniture, had a garage sale, closed up shop, and moved to a house under the trees, with a warm, sandy beach just a stroll away. I can only imagine the buzz created among the sleepy-eyed barrio folk when the container vans started arriving on that little dirt road to the Peacepond.
I visited them over the holidays and saw how much the old house had been transformed. That house hums with the memories of so many people in our loosely-woven group of friends, so much so that to me, it is not just TG and Inday’s house but in some ways, many of us friends and passers-thru in their lives have laid claim to it in our memories.
I have spent runaway weekends there with an old boyfriend. I have nursed friends over killer rum hangovers while we made up excuses to stay a few more days. I have gone there even after the event of losing someone made visiting the place unbearable—look out the window and the impossible orange orb of the sunset hits you hard. I was there when they had that telescope turned to the rising moon, how its pockmarked face fascinated us no end. I have visited there with heart clasped in hand, trying to be brave but inwardly looking for a safe place to bare my troubles. I have been there happy, young, and carefree enough about my body to swim naked in the moonlight, my arms covered in shimmering, phosphorescent diatoms.
Inday tells me she has some fears about their big move. Now she and The Giant will be living a life devoted solely to just the two of them. In a small town in the middle of nowhere, no kid, no city noise to fill the silence. It’s like starting over, but with all that history built up between you. Both of them need to adjust to being in each other’s space all the time.
I see it as a great adventure—to be able to so deliberately choose how you would like to live your life. And to have someone who makes you happy right there with you, that in itself is worth coming home to.
Yep, about to depart the 1st trimester. Albeit with no typical (or atypical) pregnancy symptoms whatsoever. No nausea, no dizzyness, no food cravings, no hankering for sleep, no sudden fatigue attacks—heck, not even those silly emotional fluctuations. Nada. My hormones are extremely well-behaved. Thus, can’t even use being preggers as an excuse to be lazy, gotta go on with business as usual.
But I warn you, if I suddenly turn rabid, take note I have a valid excuse. Mwahahaha.
“Leave me alone, I’m a pregnant woman!”
EAT FOR TWO
o, baby blankets and baby shoes
baby slippers, baby spoons, walls of baby blue
dream child in my head
is a nightmare born in a borrowed bed
now I know lightning strikes again
it struck me once, then struck me dead
my folly grows inside of me
I eat for two
walk for two
breathe for two now
well, the egg man fell down off his shelf
all the good king’s men with all their help
struggled ’til the end
for a shell they couldn’t mend
you know where this will lead
to hush and rock in the nursery
for the kicking one inside of me
I eat for two
walk for two
breathe for two now
when the boy was a boy, the girl was a girl
they found each other in a wicked world
strong in some respects
but she couldn’t stand for the way he begged and gave in
pride is for men
young girls should run and hide instead
risk the game by taking dares with, “yes”
I eat for two
walk for two
breathe for two now
walk for two?
breathe for two?
I can’t breathe
five months, how it grows
five months now, I begin to show.
(Natalie Merchant / Christian Burial Music © 1989)
High school, if my shameful math skills add up right, is what, 15–16 years ago? I’ll bet that in the passage of years, some memories have gotten more than just a little bit warped. It’s fun guessing which ones are true, though.
But it has certainly been interesting, the strange patterns, permutations, and imagined (or maybe real—who knows now?) pairings that we are starting to uncover. Unrequited love? Lost (more likely confused) love? Which teacher had a crush on which student? What food was banned from the classroom in third year? Who blew up the toilet bowl in the men’s room when we were in freshmen year? Or exactly what color was that old bike, Franz? The photos hardly dislodge a clue.
I opened a few boxes over the weekend in search of high school photos to post, and I found two rather interesting ones. The first was a snapshot taken at a beach of the boys from my batch, how young they looked, and how cocky, and carefree. The other photograph was a rare one, showing my old group—all smiles and huddled together as only high school girls can well, huddle. The photos documented the friendships, groupings and ungroupings, some migratory, some lasting until now.
Years later, distance, a few deaths, and lives that have gone a thousand different ways finds us scouring our collective memory for good times, purer spirits, kinder hearts, happier days.
The age Jesus Christ was said to have died.
I trust I’ll be alive to see my 33rd birthday. Hey that’s a morbid thought. I am not sentimental. All I want for my birthday is a pedicure. Or maybe a nice long massage and sleep afterwards.
Well, let’s see… this should be a good time to do some accounting. In my thirty-three years on this planet, I have:
Lived in 3 cities, 2 towns, 7 apartments, a dorm, 2 houses, and for six months, in a hotel.
I have seen the planets aligned in a row.
When I went on a long vacation one summer, I inadvertently killed my pet turtle Gigabyte, because of neglect.
Two of my dearest friends died of the same illness. I was only able to attend one funeral.
For almost 2 years, I was a functioning drunk, but I quit smoking after more than 10 years.
In one year, I quit my job, went full freelance for months, then packed up my life in one city and moved to another. I traveled by bus at 2AM on a Friday and landed a job after the weekend.
Sometime this year, I started wearing skirts.
One time, after watching a movie, I emerged outside into a raging typhoon and walked thigh-high waters. Adroitly avoiding flying tin sheets, broken plastic signs, and floating vehicles, I was able to check into a small hotel and pass the night away from danger.
One summer, I stayed up most of the night and well into the early morning hours kissing a guy with sea-green eyes.
In Manila, while on board a speeding in a taxi on the way to a drinking party I was banged up in the backseat when the taxi swerved on two wheels to avoid an oncoming motorcycle. The biker dude was drunk/stoned, the taxi driver was kind, my stockings were ruined. I had bruises for days, but I was able to make it to the party.
I have held a writhing, live python in my arms for a good 10 minutes.
When we were kids, my older sister and I would climb up the roof of our one-storey house and jump feet-first, laughing, onto the grass in our front yard.
After giving birth to my son, I passed the time reading Hannibal while waiting in the recovery room.
And on Sunday I will be 33. Jesus.
Q: How do crazy people go through the forest?
A: They take the psycho path.
Har har har.
I have been saving this little bitty joke for some time now, I don’t know why. I forgot who sent it to me, but my friend—whoever you are—thank you. Yes, I know it’s not laugh-’til-you-pee funny, but it does merit a chuckle or two. Humor is a weapon that’s easier to wield than anger, but one so seldom used.
Humor readily transforms dismal into droll.
Sometime ago P, who is very dear to me, had a quintuple bypass. While he was at the hospital, a lot us—friends, family, and fond acquaintances were worrying about him making it through the operation.
P is a truly funny man, with a sense of humor that’s dark and oftentimes off-kilter. Hours after coming out of the recovery room, he was texting, “Hi friends! I’m dying to see all of you again.”
Har har har.