Just because you weren’t hit, doesn’t mean the storm was overhyped. Be mindful that some of your words will hit those on your newsfeed who have been affected. 4 million without power, communities and homes flooded, 9 people dead including a young boy sleeping in his room. Now before you share words for their shock value, first be thankful nothing happened to you ~Facebook post from Redner
Like most New Yorkers, I couldn’t believe that a hurricane was whizzing by in these parts. But when it was proven to be the case, I wasn’t even surprised. My “bagyo” (Tagalog speak for “typhoon”) sense is so innate, that I knew how it was going to be like, but still didn’t know how it’ll all be immediately after. Grocery shopping was a nightmare. The fact that there wasn’t any bread was the nightmare; the fact that people would bring their kids to do pre-hurricane panic buying was horrific. The people in the neighborhood know VERY WELL how small the grocery aisles are and STILL they bring their kids in their trolleys. At least, the parents don’t have the gall to tell them off when they cry. I did two runs to the grocery, starting at 7 pm. Danielle was too tired but she knew that we had to do the laundry. Even after the laundry, we still had to buy meat. We spent a whopping $40 on groceries that evening. We will be well stocked with Tinola and Adobo for a good week, and pasta and quinoa tuna salad for the weeks after that. Meanwhile, the tenants at FL 2 of 40-61 62 street were wide-eyed with fear. We did have an earthquake a few days before and New York conversations are just too much to have a hurricane follow immediately after. Cicadas chirped for about a minute and then stopped. For some reason, this told me that it won’t be that bad. Roommates were wondering about the humidity. They were wondering about the absence of rain. “Oh this is exactly the way these things are,” I said. It wasn’t too dark, and the clouds were high up. My instincts tell me this is just mostly rain. The rain started late afternoon. Our friend Redner came for lunch, left after clearing his plate like a good Filipino. Then we cleaned out our room, after finding out that we needed a converter for our analog tv. We texted uncles, aunts, friends and cousins, asking if they’re okay while we get updates about cancelled church services. Mom and Dad called, reminding us about not lighting candles near the window. Sunday, this morning, Danielle is up reading her Bible and the sun was out. It was 9 am. “It only rained,” she said. I let out a laugh to the tone of “I knew it,” then fell back asleep. The Chinese roommate said that he was disappointed about the storm not coming. "DON’T BE," I said. "It’s either it happens or it doesn’t happen and when it does, it’s horrible." I’ve been calling it my “tropical ignorance.” I’m thankful that my parents moved me to the Philippines when they did. It’s given me the best of both worlds. Earthquakes every year (stemming from a childhood in Adak, Alaska), and about a dozen typhoons passing through every year, I’d say I’m used to it. Like there’s nothing else that could ever scare me and I lived through to tragedy and calamity with a fortunate location and a psyche that takes it like it is. Then Irene comes to New York, and people panic, complain about the scarce supplies at the groceries (on the day of the hurricane no less!), while people might be railing on about how it didn’t happened and they panicked at the supermarket on a Friday night. My dear New York, it’s done. It’s over. It could be worse. If you complained and whined about how you did everything you did to stay safe only to find that Irene didn’t have as much swag as predicted, then look at your cupboards and your refrigerators. Look at the people you evacuated with. Look at the buildings and the bridges. They’re still standing and YOU’RE STILL ALIVE. Things could get worse so don’t be complaining because that would probably cancel out the ideal scenario of survival in the first place. Besides, Hollywood better quit making calamity movies featuring New York.
Hello Tumblr, look at your fandom. Now look at the Whovian fandom, now back at your fandom, now back to Doctor Who. Sadly, your fandom isn’t Doctor Who, but if your fandom stopped not being Doctor Who and you watched Steven Moffat's workmanship every Saturday, your fandom could be amazing. Look down, back up, where are you? You’re in the TARDIS with the Doctor. In 1969 defeating The Silence. Look down, now back up, you're in the 51st century with Captain Jack Harkness. What’s that in your hand? It's a sonic screwdriver. Now it's a timey wimey detector. Look again, the TARDIS has now turned into a woman. Look at the crack in your wall, now back at Doctor Who, the crack in your wall is now a sapphire waterfall on a diamond planet called Midnight. Anything is possible when you travel through time and space with The Doctor. Allons-Y!
As fast as my New York story is coming along, I resigned as booking agent at the modeling agency after three weeks. I’m not earning as much as I should and I’m losing more than I should be earning with a supposed salary. Other bookers resigned for the same reasons I did: relying solely on commission based work does not please the demands of living here. I needed my hours to be compensated and the company couldn’t give that. k thx bai.
Things could be worse, really, so I’m fine. Hanging out with church friends last Sunday revealed that. A lot of people looking for more affordable living situations. A lot of fresh graduates looking for work. A lot of other people just tired from their jobs and looking for new ones. The rains we’ve been getting lately are insane.
I sat with Achim and we were talking about how everyone has a New York story. New York is imperative in everyone’s story. My parents called it aggressiveness, but it’s more like a forward attitude. Anyone can pretty much talk to anyone as if it would be a shame to let a moment turn stale and dull. Like a shared moment between New York strangers trying their damned best not to laugh at tourists mispronouncing a destination (Blowing Green does not equal Bowling Green; thank you for saying it out loud for our entertainment, dear tourist). Meanwhile, in the same train, a man standing directly in front of me looks like he’s about to sneeze his entire sinus or throw up chunks all over an outfit I intend to adorn until 9 pm. It was 11 am at this point.
What you do for a living is different from why you’re in New York. A lot of this has got to do with your identity, and telling your story involves a lot of confidence. For instance, I’m looking for work right now. Easy. I want to do theater. Deceptively easy. People in the know are aware that my answer as of a year ago would be up in the air. They would also know that there is a lot of bitterness involved. And deceit, and hands turning against me. My New York story extends back to the Muntinlupa and Paranaque. Those were heartbreaking times.
New York is harsh. The heat wave a few weeks ago defied my tropical orientation. It was no longer polite to not talk about the weather or not state the obvious: your pain is also their pain which is also the point of telling your story. It’s a shared experience.
Like this shared apartment I live in. The brother of our landlady didn’t go with the rest of the family to vacation in China. Of all bathrooms to invade (doesn’t he have his own in the basement?), he chooses ours when there are five people already using it. That’s five on call bathroom emergencies, five potential appointments to take a shower for and five morning showers that people usually make to get ready for work or start the day with. Yet our poor bathroom isn’t the only point of contention. The landlady’s brother uses up too much refrigerator space, overstepping other people’s territories for bacon, fermented radish, and chocolate. The usurper also abuses a roommate’s stored water. Last week, I sat with friends and we talked about roommate issues. Like shit, bad roommate situations happen. (Fermented radish is amazing btw)
This is how I resigned from work. One can imagine it to be a difficult conversation. I could see my boss’ consternation and he understood my reasons.
(Seated at her station, Pammu awkwardly follows Derrick the boss with an averted stare and waits for him to approach the booker’s table. Her eyes wide open the way puppies do when they’re guilty. Her voice register lowered itself to give credence to the subject matter of what she’s saying)
Derrick I wrote you a letter.
You wrote me a letter?
(his response helpless and sleepy but brave and authoritative; Redner had just resigned)
(she mouths her response in a tone that’s barely a whisper)
(her mouth tightly and thinly shut after answering him, almost smiling stupidly or helplessly)
(his eyes sink but his mouth smiles; clearly, he sees it coming)
That can’t be a good letter.
(bordering on cute but weary of the length of this moment altogether; she mouths her response)
No one knows that to expect in moments like this. Except maybe me. Or maybe no one really expects how things like this will go because the head booker had just resigned moments before I did. God knows how that conversation went. Or maybe I know how that went because the head booking agent is my neighbor. I think I am hinting at too much. Friends back at home who read this know me too well and are probably laughing at the familiar vagueness of this paragraph.
New York that day was like an awkward pause after someone tells you off for something that isn’t your fault. New York won’t apologize and this is because, just as there is literally a billion things to do in this city, there will always be something to learn. For instance, I didn’t know that I have what it takes to do sales. That and I was rocking it as a scouter. Frankly, I miss scouting. Scouting has somehow evolved into a sixth sense. Like an itch that says: “There’s money there. Look, isn’t he just gorgeousssss? Run!”
Achim said that people easily assume that you’re amazing just for being in New York. Responding to his own statement, Achim continues “But really? No.” Then he awkwardly laughs. Achim tends to laugh when it’s true.
Hopefully, the cruelty and the pain of New York will not be numbing. I think that’s what her challenge is, in her cruelty. It’s like paying tribute, a first fruits of sorts, akin to getting lost in the subway in order for you to be familiar with it. Instead of hanging my head at the story of how I only lasted three weeks at my first job in New York, I let out a shrug, put on a smirk, shake my head and conclude thus: “That’s New York for you.”
“An object, just by the nature of its physical being, resists possession in a way because it’s an object, you know. You can’t carry around a building obviously. You can’t possess it, in a way. I guess you can own it, like real estate, but that’s short-lived anyway. Music is nebulous. We talk about intellectual property of music, but that’s just politics. I don’t know what that means. That’s why I really believe that the song sustains its own consciousness and is dispossessed of its owner, and then it basically yields to the multitudes of listeners, of consumers, and everyone owns the song. It’s such a relief for me to acknowledge that because I feel far less possessive of my own music, and I feel less earnest and less despairing about its worth, or its value, and more willing to just make it, create it, do my best work possible, and then give it away. We’re born into this world naked and screaming, with no possessions. And we leave in the same way, you know? We can’t take it with us. All we have is our bodies and our souls and that’s it. I don’t even think our bodies are our own. I think that’s just borrowed. So give it away, that’s what I say. Give it away.”—Sufjan Stevens (via fuckyeahsufjanstevens)
I’ve been playing the age game lately. The people I meet at Hillsong are mostly friends of my sister’s. Since I’ve been around for quite a while, figuring out who is older than whom is a conversation that has reached a conclusion. Let alone how old we really are.
"So how old are you, Pam?" is a question that has only popped up some two months after I arrive in New York. My 30 was pretty phenomenal. In my case, no one gets to reach this age and move to New York at the same time. If only I can take a shot of people’s faces every time I make the reveal.
"No you’re not."
They see me take out my passport and they know I’m serious.
30 is awesome. As age is only a number, I hardly feel “old.” In fact, I still feel the same way as when I was 25, camping out at Starbucks Vito Cruz for an 8 hour break between my teaching and MA classes. I still feel the same way when I was 26, idealistic and hopeful for theater in south Manila. I still feel the same way when I was 27 and starting a publishing company, visiting a safe house for former prostitutes and handing out chocolate to prisoners. I still feel the same way at 28, stranded with friends with a ton of food while the rains hid Festival Mall from our sights. I still feel the same way at 29, frustrated with what seemed to be a rejection in spite of loyalty and dedication while at the same time vulnerable as the New York skyline loomed above my head like a guillotine above visions of my future.
I feel young, vibrant and important because like any other age, I feel more like myself. Yet in spite of this, I do not mind being called “old.” The oxymoron of my appearance allows the pleasure of that irony. I’d rather be staring Ignorance in the face with a look that says “Try, if you dare.”
30 is an age when you know what you like and what you don’t like. It’s when you’re supposed to know why something is good and why something is bad. It’s when you’re run by common sense and guided by instinct. It’s an age that allows you to have an opinion but only when it’s backed by sound judgment, common sense and executed with tact.
At 30, you have to reach this level of awareness because you know you haven’t figured out everything just yet.
Tonight at the Roosevelt Island Connect Group, I had the pleasure being called “ate” and addressed with “po.” I don’t mind this at all. If someone is giving me respect, I’ll take it. Thanks!