Wednesday, July 25, 2007

After seven days

Nadal metaphors

Metaphor 1. The first time I went home to Baguio after having (not really) moved to Manila, I found that a very important person in my life had decided to move on without me. Instead of letting things lie and going on my way, I responded like Rafael Nadal. I felt like I was two sets down, and serving to stay in the match. In true Nadal-like fashion, I started hanging on for dear life. I doggedly chased down shots, went for winners and played every rally like it was my last. I just wouldn't go away. A rousing energy permeated me and I refused to back down. That was until yesterday. Nadal usually goes on to win the match in five gripping sets, but I have decided to hang up my racket. I realized I'm not meant to win this match.

Metaphor 2. (This one actually has something to do with tennis.) Do you remember the battle at Helm's Deep? Think movie here, not book. When the forces of Saruman found the culvert running under the Deeping wall, they decided to enter this weak spot by blowing it up. An orc, running from God-knows-how-far, held a torch to ignite the explosives. Aragorn spotted him and started yelling "LEGOLAS, TAKE HIM DOWN!!!" in Elvish. Legolas turned and with hawk-eye precision, shot arrow after arrow into the orc's muscular neck. But the orc, imbued with a terrible sense of purpose, would not die. Riddled with arrows, he shoved the torch right into the drain and KA-BLAM! For the first time in Middle Earth history, Helm's Deep was breached. Rafael Nadal is like that orc. Everyone in the ATP is Legolas. And Roger Federer is Aragorn. This scenario applies more to Wimbledon than any other grand slam, though.

Bookstores and priorities

In Manila, it's hard not to feel small in the urban landscape. Tall buildings, winding alleys, long unfamiliar streets. What one needs in this daunting city is a good sense of direction. And I thank genetics for leaving me with a decent internal compass. My parents know their way around.

I find that whenever I feel myself getting lost, I think of the last bookstore I saw and work with that. Like if I have trouble finding my way around Greenbelt, I walk to Powerbooks and gather my bearings from there. Bookstores are also a kind of sanctuary. When I want to escape the heat and a host of zombies shoving me in a direction I have no intention of moving in, I walk into a bookstore. Outside, there is an unshakable feeling of being alone and unwelcome. But when I pass the threshold into a blessed room filled with books, it's like being home.

Last Sunday, I was taken to the Fully Booked at Global City in Fort Bonifacio. On the wall, it said "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes." They didn't put who said it, but those are exactly my sentiments about how my money should be spent. Case in point: Because my Geekiness couldn't handle everyone knowing something I wouldn't know for a while, I spent an ungodly amount of money to buy Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. My dad left me some cash for either a bag or a new pair of shoes. The rigors of school life prompts one to own big bags: I needed a backpack to accommodate all the new readings and bottles of water. I also needed an extra pair of shoes because I've been doing a lot of walking here. But things change. Ominously, they do so during release dates. *cough, cough.*

On July 21, 2007, I casually strode into Powerbooks to casually survey the new Harry Potter books being put out for display (and purchase, of course). I circled the table about three times before daring to pick one up. As I did so, I became painfully aware of the smell of new books and how right the thick yellow-orange book felt in my hand. I was awash with feelings of nostalgia and this irrepressible tugging I get when I want a particular book. I was in a daze. I dropped the book and ran. I had to retreat. The desire to buy it was too overwhelming.

I walked around a department store and began a frenzied poll. I texted everyone whom I thought would think logically for me. Book or shoes? Book or bag? To which everyone replied, BOOK! My resolve was cracking. And my one beacon of light, my only true hope of objectivity - my own mother - said: You buy the book nalang. And so it was that I came to own Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Wow. That story took longer than I'd intended.

Random events

This morning, I went out unto the roof behind the house to leave some of my delicates out to dry. I was just about to go in when I realized some of our neighbors below were watching me. Most of them were men, and they were sniggering. I was half-asleep so it didn't dawn on me until I'd climbed through the window that they might be checking out my mismatch array of lingerie. (Haha. It rhymed. Couldn't resist. I don't own lingerie. I own underwear.) I peered secretly out the window, trying to make out what they were saying. Nicole was laughing her head off, telling me to quit spying on the people who were mooning my underwear. What a wonderful way to start my day: I had people staring at my delicates.

This afternoon, I finally managed to get a school ID. But not after a little boy got his. He was from UP-IS and was getting his ID for the first time. He was ahead of me in line and was being accompanied by his rather cool dad. He got his picture taken, no problem. Then the ID guy asked him to write his name on the digital pad thing for signatures. He did, and by the loopy way his hand was moving, I could tell he was writing in cursive. He did this a couple of times, but the side of his hand kept landing heavily on the pad. It wouldn't show properly on the screen. Finally his dad gently said, "Kahit huwag nang dikit-dikit." When you're in the first grade (like, I assume, he is), it's a matter of pride to be able to write your name in cursive. I knew that had to hurt. So he tried again. His dad, with a small smile on his face, informs him that he spelled his name wrong. The little boy looked up and gave the rest of us a sheepish smile. Everyone in the short line was chuckling by then, but I think he knew we weren't laughing at him. They were reassuring laughs. Then he wrote again, aware that he was holding up the line. He did well that time, and when the ID came out, I saw that he'd managed to write his name legibly in clear script. Conquering cursive would be for another time when a bunch of jaded college students weren't looking over his shoulder. His T-shirt said: This is what a destabilizer looks like. I hope I run into that kid again.

Thank yous

Even if my Internet bill is making me generate enough acid to burn ulcers all over my digestive tract, I feel it is necessary to say thank you to everyone who keeps coming back to my semi-dormant blog and leaves a little bit for me to chew on. Lately, I haven't been the best comment-returner, but I am reading your comments and your posts. They're what I look forward to all week. Your feeds are salvation.

Not really forgetting the rest of you, I'd like to mention these three in particular: - Because of a weird lapse in good judgment, Kevin included in me in his list for Top Ten Emerging Influential Blogs. Joking aside, that seriously made my day. Thanks, man. - Massa P. always finds a way to mention my mediocre blog in her brilliant maze-like posts. I feel the love has to be returned. - As far as I've observed, Paolo is my most loyal commenter. I'm lucky too, because his blog is destined to conquer the blogosphere. Waw. Rubbing elbows with greatness.

Ciao all. Be back again next week.

16 seen below:

laizo said...

sadly, i have not been gifted with a good sense of direction. i get lost in guisad. :D

i spend way too much on comics. thank god i can now download the ones i want.

you're stronger than you think, i know you'll get through..

wanderingcommuter said...


go rafael nadal!!!!


the philosphical bastard said...

If I ever meet Nadal I'm gonna get out of his way. If he smiles at me I'm gonna run.

I enjoyed that story about the kid. The little struggles that they face.. ah, i wish it were me.

Poli said...

So how did you find the seventh book? Have you finished it?

I also spend most of my money on books. Nagkakandagutom-gutom rin ako sa kaiipon. Haruki Murakami's books are so expensive.

kubi said...

@laizo: thanks buddy. but you and i both know the only reason i'm getting by is because you're very patient with me. :)

@erik: alaka, trinoma na a tayo...

@paolo: *sigh* tama ka diyan. i personally want to be stuck at age 16. that kid, though, is going to be quite the lady-killer.

@poli: yea, i did :D it was a sobfest. i was being sentimental. and also...huhuhu. i liked that she didn't overreach with harry-as-the-sevent-horcrux just because everyone had their theories about that.

ah, a kindred spirit. never mind that we dress in rags. we're brilliant, anyway! but you're right, those damn murakami books. why do they have to so pretty?! whaaaaaayyyyy?!!

Jigs said...

Really cool Metaphors! Kinda like mini tributes to a great athlete!

I'm a book lover too, my mom has this immense collection of pocket books which I am yet to conquer. But I'm happy to say that I too have finished reading the final installment of Harry Potter. And it was great!

Jhed said...

I was a tennis fan way back my HS years, until our cable subscription got suspended. Haha!

I'm not really much of a bookworm, but if a certain book interests me (Read: Chuck Palahniuk's) I try my best to read it from cover to cover from the day I bought it. Haha!

The story of the kid is so cute. Haha! I remembered our Calligraphy class in GS and lagi akong proud kasi I always get the highest score in our activities.

Yeah, I write like a girl. :))

kubi said...

@jigs: hehe, it's ironic that you should say that. i'm actually a big fan of nadal's arch-nemesis :D

@jhed: it's definitely hard to keep the love alive without cable. but as luck would have it, i keep ending up in baguio whenever there's a grand slam final. hmm...wonder why that is?

okay, i'll check out palahnuik. makakakita ba ako nun sa kahit anung bookstore lang?

i hope your handwriting hasn't suffered much over the years :D

Shari said...

Sabi nga ni nanay sa akin lagi, investment ko raw ang mga libro. Kaso lately, stagnant ang pagiging bookworm ko. Ewan ko ba.

Natuwa naman ako dun sa batang lalaki. Nakaka-touch. Talagang determined siyang ipakitang kaya niya talaga.

eon said...

Desiderius Erasmus is attributed to that quote. If i have a little money, i buy books; if i have any left, i buy food and clothes.

Alternati said...

LOL at the Rafa-orc metaphor. I guess that makes us Rafa supporters (obsessive fan in your case) orcs. Lovely. :) I've always related to the Uruk Hai more than I did the people of Rohan.

Amen on the books. My fave book related quote is from Groucho Marx.
"Outside a book, a dog is a man's best friend... Inside a dog, it's too dark to read"

I wonder where I can get one of those "destabilizer" shirts in my size... Ask the boy next time you see him for me. :D

fruityoaty said...

Getting lost... I got lost last night in Niagara Falls, Ontario -- an overly commercialized tourist destination spot... for marveling at "raging falling water over a cliff". (People are strange.) It was 10:30 PM, dark... my sister and I were walking the streets... trying to find our way back to the car. Going in circles. Panic attack. Then we flagged a couple of tourists and asked them for directions and they said, "Follow the sound of water." All I could hear were the sound of hookers, tourists and cars.

Books over necessities? BOOKS!

Thanks for the link love. I couldn't have won without the support of people like you.

dr. buttercup said...

hey kubs!


the philosphical bastard said...

you posted this a month ago. huwaw! you must really be busy! whatever you're upto now.. wish you da'best! said...

I agree with Paolo.

I also find bookstores as sanctuary. Whenever I achieve something, the first reward I give myself is go to the nearest bookstore and find a book worth investing in. Although this results to so many unread books to date.

M.N.Yano said...

Hey, it's been a long time. Just dropped by to tell you that my old blog at has been redesigned and redirected to You may want to change the link now. Thanks and see you around. Happy blogging!

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