I am merely days away from heading to Hong Kong for the highlight of my year, and the past two weeks have been filled with both pleasant and unpleasant surprises. The majority of which were pleasant, and very uplifting. The unpleasant, while minimal, tend to have a devastating effect. I guess it all depends on how one perceives things.
All I'm going to say is that I'm fired up. THe whole HK thing started off as something to just end the year on a high note. The past couple of weeks elevated that to something more. It's like 2004 all over again, and I'm greeting the end of the year with a smile, minor resentments notwithstanding.
The Haircut inducing Homecoming. I'm back in Cavite full-time now, and bidding adieu to my last Fortress wasn't really that much of a big deal. After all, it didn't exactly measure up to my first Fortress in terms of emotional attachment and key events. It had its moments, like the first day I moved in and the Cheerleader made the phone call asking me to take her back, and the night Hannah stayed over, and the night after the break up, wherein the place was flooded, and I realized latent feelings for someone the day after. Compared to other places I lived in, it offered nothing more than convenience.
Being back at home, seeing how my new space has been make me feel truly comfortable, it's easy to forget that I'm no longer living alone. Unfortunately, there are times wherein the crowdedness becomes extremely obvious. The way I see it, the more people live in one place, the more fucked up things can be. While right now, there are only three people living in this house (me, my errant brother, and the newly rehired nanny that raised us), the entire place is littered with too many familiar faces. The niceness (for someone like me who's not used tot hat sort of thing) can drive a person mad. And it nearly did.
On a day wherein someone did a colossal fuck up which led to the ruination of my plans, I was so distraught that, left with no other outlet, I had a fucking haircut. An butt guy one. I've had one hairstyle the past two or three years (of varying lengths, of course) and since I just had to get rid of something, why not that. It wasn't the fuck up that really stressed me out though, it was the fact that people just told me to rest (I had spent the night working at the BIg Man's project) while they took care of it. That was way too surreal.
Basically, I'm still getting acclimated to the whole thing. Even when I've been living with certain people, I've made it a point to rely on no one. Now I've got people seemingly looking out for me. I shrugged it off as something I just need to get used to, but then, my mother mentioned that she'll be going to join me in HK. Not that I mind, but I don't know, I think it's too weird. It's fueling certain theories I've been having. It's not important now though. I have too much on my plate to worry about shit like that. Maybe when things normalize I can get to the bottom of this thing.
Gas Station Conversations. The Big Man and I had another one of those gas station drinking sessions that went well into the morning. Not having the Make Up Artist around is a good thing, in any scenario. We talked mostly about the other women in his life. Mostly.
I try to avoid talking about my own shit these days when I'm around him. He's got problems with the house, money, work and even emotional shit that can't be dealt with within the confines of a single drinking session. Maybe we'll work on that, again, when I finish with this contest thing. Maybe.
The Think Tank Experience Surprisingly Like College. I spent some time with the co-workers as someone from the Think Tank celebrated her birthday old school style with dinner and domestic drinking. After an entire day of work, it was nice to see the various little groups of the Think Tank in one room, sharing a meal and playing a few games in one area. I felt the same feeling I used to get back when I was in college, when I'd be in one of those dorm room drinking sessions, surrounded by people I barely know and me with a genuine desire to know more. I haven't felt like that in ages. In fact, the last time I felt like getting to know more people was during my last semester in college. The popery from Purgatory were just interesting enough that sharing experiences came naturally, and everyone else I met after graduation pretty much opened up on their own without any prodding from me. I don't know if it's a temporary thing, but these days I actually care about people.
I guess it's about being in an office that I like, is all. To paraphrase Tim, from the UK show The Office, you spend the majority of your time without he people that you work with, more so than your family and actual friends. You come different backgrounds, different places, and at some point, you're going to have to break barriers.
I've always had the luxury of having people outside of work to fall back on and the freedom from conventional real world constraints, but there's something about these people at the Think Tank that piques my interest. The things they go through, all the drama that I usually shy away from, it all interests me.
The Fund Raising. All the other riffraff aside, the main focus in my life currently is the contest. And considering the meager amount I make, I had to do some fund raising to actually get me there. It's been a great source of fatigue on my part, and the end result, was worth it. Getting into the contest was the first phase, and that was hard enough, The past two weeks weren't easier, but damn.
Of all the people in my life, I wasn't expecting the Think Tank to pitch in on this pipe dream, but pitch in they did, in an amazing manner. While not everyone was able to help financially, the moral support and the kind words were very overwhelming, especially since I'm just the guy who rarely shows up for work. On of them even put up the RRFF, the Rene-is-Really-Funny-Fund, and I have to say, that makes me smile every time I think about it. I'm looking at the little Disney Princess thingy they put the money in. If I wasn't so damned drained I would have wept in front of all of them.
The people from Purgatory also chipped in, and while they weren't able to give as much as they wanted, the thought that they'd support a guy who left their ranks is nothing but humbling. My BFF hugging me (in the middle of the fucking highway no less) telling me "Kailangan ko na umuwi, peer I love you, pare" is one of the more touching moments in this particular chapter in my life. Two years ago, she and I were getting high as Ondoy came crashing, now there we were. The others did an awesome job at making me feel good about it too, particularly Ghil, who took it upon herself to work on getting my solicitation letter out there. Two years ago, we were celebrating "Broken Promises Day". I wonder what we'll be doing next year.
Of course, the Scoobies remain supportive. They gave their contributions on a very pleasant night at the Grill. We even fleshed out plans for my 30th birthday. (The discussion as to why we can't have a road trip by riding a plane was priceless.) After the contest, that's the one thing I'm looking forward to.
The GIrl Who Saved My Life has her entire church praying for me, I heard. And I also got nice messages from TheTherapist and her people, and I appreciate Jo F'n Regis' efforts in helping me with the application video. (Sorry that didn't pan out, too many things going on, man.)
The Big Man helped me sell my other laptop (though I'm sure it was more about the profit for him than supporting me, but what the hell), the laptop I bought off Hannah a year ago. And The Critic, of all people, even pitched in not just with money, but a little something extra to take off the edge. (Drinking once more with the Critic was a fun experience as well. Once, we all used to have a constant Sunday afternoon drink, but these days, it's all about the strip clubs and other shit. It's nice to be able to just hang back and chill old school style once in a while and be juvenile.)
I mentioned before that part of the reason why I chose to approach specific people or funds and not everyone I know is that I was going for something symbolic. I wanted to go to HK, while physically alone (or so I thought), I was in some way bringing all of these people with me. The same way Buffy drew strength from her own Scooby gang to defeat Adam, that's what I'm doing. (Did that come off a little gay?)
Points to Prove. With the overwhelming (I've been using that word a lot) support, it's hard not to feel confident. It's a good thing there're still some people who'd put your feet back on the ground. Too bad it was in a rather douchey manner. Someone dissed online, and while I don't know and can't know for sure if it was intentional, it did light a fire under my ass almost as much as the people who supported me would.
Initially, this was just something that I wanted to do, regardless of the outcome. After all of that, now I'm ore determined than ever to walk away victorious. While I'm not exactly a shoo-in to win, but I've been in this situation several times before, where I'd go out of my way just to prove a certain contingent of people wrong. Hell, I think I work better when no one expects me to come out on top.
After everyone's influence, both good and bad, I'm heading to Hong Kong with a new perspective. I'm not just representing myself this time, and I never wanted to represent my country. I'll be representing these people. Thank you for making me feel larger than life again. I needed that.
"Can we pretend that airplanesIn the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now (wish right now, wish right now)" - B.o. B., "Airplanes"