Recently, a family member renewed a passport. The design is reminiscent of the one-hundered peso bill with its purplish color and “entched” illustration style. I like it.
Did I mention that my math superpower in high school failed to work during my stint in the College of Engineering? My parents’ chosen course for me was ECE. I wrote mine in the second choice field: Creative Writing.
For a year, I managed to trudge through the hallways and classrooms of Velasco. In between schedules, I worked as an SA (student assistant) at computer laboratories—the job took me places (read: other buildings). On Saturdays, the sunny soccer field was my home as a medic in ROTC. These were the places in my world in DLSU.
Never thought of wandering past the library. Never dared to stop wearing plaid polo shirts.
During the last term of my first year, the course I was in felt like chains and balls shackled to my feet. Depression kicked in that I found myself breaking out in tears in a Philosophy class. The prof was sharing about her journey in Zen and at some point I was sure she was talking directly to me about finding freedom and peace.
Armed with an SLR and some knowledge in Adobe Photoshop, I shifted to Advertising Management (after finding closed doors in Communication Arts)—did all the paperworks and passed the qualifying exam. Then I told my parents about it. I don’t remember that it really mattered to them—the sin that I did. They were full support in my education, I realized.
One lazy afternoon, along the walkway of SJ Bldg. were recruitment booths lined up left and right. I was looking for a place where I could contribute in photography and graphic design and there I found LaSallian and Malate. Or they found me?
Just some of the works I unearthed from an old hard drive:
Other works include cover design of a couple folio issues, published photographs (of course) and some written works in a logbook—beaten and left for dead by legit poetry members.
My money allowance in college—they all went to the photo shops for films and development. I started shooting black and white because they were cheaper at thirty–six shots, 200 ISO. It was sufficient back then—having thirty–six in the roll. Having a couple or more rolls would take months to expose.
Only precious moments were captured and the moments captured became captivating.
Etched in my memory until now was the dream I had of having a digital camera—yes, unlimited shutter clicks. It was a feeling—no, more like a longing—in my waking life that manifested itself one night. I woke up in frustration—of only dreaming, of not having.
Imagine the possibilities was the only thing I could think of. Imagine the possibilities of never having to curtail my favorite moments.
The results were endless offshoots—photos that were not five–star material yet not fit for the trash bin either. So they get exported into a lower resolution for easier archival.
Maybe one day, future me would match the feelings of those blurred and unkempt slices of life. Scarcity, then, would not only be about quantity but about time incapable of rewinding.
Warning: Spoiler Alert!
The most memorable part of the movie for me was when Lou went into the bathroom to pour his overflowing emotions upon knowing that he got the job. He won the jackpot that he did an Elvis and a Rocky.
I sensed a familiarity with this scene because I once lost a job and thought it’s the world’s end. Yet my mom simply laughed it out. It made everything bearable. All hope and confidence were restored upon landing another job.
All families got problems but you only got one. Lou Wheeler
It’s just another morning to the office I thought as I rode my Grab. At the gate, our resident guard who’s got something in his eyes caught the eye of my Grab driver.
“I got a friend who’s got white in his eyes just like that guard,” he said pointing back at the guard as we joined in with the vehicles along the road.
“He reads text like this,” holding up an imaginary phone touching his nose, close to his eyes.
Conversations with drivers keep me occupied throughout the ride and I would assume that it’s the same for them. Topics were commonly about their history of driving—from being family drivers to driving Grab for a living. Topics that are not too personal for a conversation with a stranger.
A few times, conversations would turn into story–telling of a colorful part of their lives. Strange conversations.
From Riches to Rags
“They got lots of money before. He’s dark–skinned that’s why he really likes a lot of gold jewelries all over his body—him and his father. Now I just command him around,” he said in jest.
“His sister worked in Japan and had a Japanese partner, that’s why,” he explained about the origin of the guy’s riches.
“They’ve got several branches of Tatsuya, a Japanese surplus shop. They’ve got three cars. Now, all those are gone ever since his sister was left by her partner,” he continued.
“Back in her early days in Japan she was beautiful. Now, her belly’s popping out of her shirt you wouldn’t recognize her,” he blabbered.
“Tough luck for them, they are all dimwits,” he said as if the guy’s family only knew how to spend money.
“They weren’t able to invest in anything?” I asked.
Down the Drain
“Well, hands down. Their house is gorgeous. Until now, it’s the best in our street. But inside, you won’t find anything,” he answered.
“Too bad he and his brother got into drugs,” he said, casting a new light into this character.
I looked at him at the rearview mirror. My head nodding with occasional “uh–huhs” while listening. This story was getting deeper as I get closer to my destination.
I was amused by the flow of his stories, I admitted.
On the next part—drugs and plenty sex—from our driver–host this sunny morning of Friday.
When can one manage to be perfect in everything that they do? Yet here we are, always waiting for the perfect moment. For the perfect words to come by. Even though we very well know that they are ever–fleeting just right above our heads—so near yet so far from our minds.