Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Keeping An Eye Out For Bulls

"Matulis kaya? Check ko nga."

"Naku, na-im ang bull!"

"Swear ko, I only really need one asshole..."

(Photos taken at a local Course de Toro)

Last weekend, the beginning of Aigues Mortes's 10-day-long village festival, mother-in-law Jeanette told me that in the coming week I should never leave the gates to the property open. Keep them closed, she warned, locked even. Why? Bulls are running the streets, was the answer, they might come in and gore me.

And I thought life in Manila was wild.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

For Marie

The last time I saw you, we promised to meet up in Paris. I thought maybe we would play tourists and see the sights, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, The Louvre, Musee Rodin.

Deciding to be adventurous, we'd get on the metro; buy the discounted pack of ten tickets, pretend to be cosmopolitan, and ride through the lines. Inevitably, we would miss a stop and end up in the suburbs. Mairie de Montreuil, perhaps, where we will find that in the center of France you can discover Algeria and Morocco.

One evening would be spent sharing pitchers of rose, drunk on the sidewalk while marveling at the serendipity that had put us in a glamorous foreign city together. Marveling, too, at the opportunity to take up a friendship just barely begun those many years ago, in our own city thousands of miles away.

But it all never happened. As it was when you started climbing mountains and I was still selling words, life got in the way. So: Maybe next time. Or maybe never. Instead of memories of Paris, forever just a slight regret for missed connections and for journeys never taken.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Meet The Neigh-bor... (title channeling the spirit of maya calica)

This fellow lives right across the street from us, our nearest neighbor on a country road where house numbers are really only optional. (With only four homes to choose from, the postman has got to have overdone the lunchtime wine to make a mistake.) Keeping up with the Joneses now means I've got to start running faster than my current eight kilometers an hour!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Words Fail Me

(Somebody just please bang my head against Aigues Mortes's Medieval walls.)

I dreamt that I was cutting chunks off my upper legs and tossing the meat into a boiling casserole already half-filled with red matter--more of my thighs, I assume, and some tomato sauce.

Playing dream analyst I figure that the gory scene is my vision of life right now. A bit of self-sacrifice seems necessary.

The giving up of job, family, and friends is the least of it. I had been thinking to quit magazine publishing for two years; most of my friends were living and working in other countries; and in my family it's not unusual to not keep in touch.

What is hard is finding out that without any real disabilities I have become deaf and dumb. After working 11 years in media, writing for newspapers and magazines, hosting a television show even, suddenly I am unable to communicate. Imagine it.

I remember in the beginning I would be petrified to go out alone; in bars I couldn't even order coffee properly, so instead of my usual big cup, American-style, I had to learn to like espresso, a few potent tablespoonfuls in a demi-tasse.

My abilities have somewhat progressed ("Un cafe long," I have learned to say when I want the coffee diluted.), but it still takes tremendous effort. At parties, my brain is constantly working, synapses sending electrical pulses at great speed just so I can keep up with the banter. Two-thirds into the night, my brain is fried.

Sometimes I feel them, the mob of articles definite and indefinite; verbs regular and irregular; the question forms, the prepositions, and especially all those nouns whose masculinity and femininity I have always to determine, I feel them getting restless inside my cranium, the nouns deciding to use their gender to reproduce more of themselves, until I feel it so crowded up there that the foreign words are about to erupt out of my ears, or worse, split cracks in my skull.