Biyernes, Setyembre 14, 2012

The Product of 18 Hour Days

You know what I hate? "Pretend Pacifists". There are people who are insistent on taking the peaceful, understanding route regardless of the facts presented in front of them. Worse yet, they insist that others take that route. These generic well-wishers who think that the world is one big cartoon where everyone sings songs and hugs everyone without recognizing the very basic possibility that people are flawed and have the tendency to hurt you just to steal your shit, fuck whoever your fucking, drive your car, or maybe even do it just for the sheer hell of it. (I'm not saying that that's true for everyone, but to disregard the possibility is just naive.)
Take this one colleague of mine. A few days ago, I was bitching to said colleague about how I trusted someone with a project that was really important to me and that person promised to help me out. But then, essentially, not only did the project got neglected, but the person also made light of the very personal reasons behind me wanting to pursue that project, pretty much pissing on me, my wants and my peace of mind. To make matters worse, this person met up with me to "smooth things over", but instead just let me talk for minutes and didn't reply. Not even a face to face apology was offered. This person then vanishes for weeks, only to message me to "congratulate" me for getting into this year's Hong Kong thing. That was a slap in the face, particularly since the act once again made light of the offenses committed. It was one of the most presumptuous, arrogant things people I personally know have done to me. And I'm not even ranting about that person now. Who I'm complaining about is the person I talked to about this. After hearing my tale, the dude was all "let it go", "life goes on", "take the high road" and a shitload of other cliches that essentially mean that I should let it slide because I should be happy about the good things in my life.
Holy fucking shit.
One, whether or not the good things in my life happened, this shitty ordeal still occurred. One has nothing to do with the other. It's like saying I shouldn't be stressed out because of bad traffic since I had pancakes for breakfast. It's illogical. No, It's fucking stupid. Two, it's really easy to tell people to let something go when they're not the offended party. I especially like it how the person who told me to keep a cooler head about the whole incident is the same person who lost his shit just because 7-11 ran out of Magnums one time. I have every right to get pissed, and I wanted to let out a healthy rant to relieve me of some emotional burdens. But no, I had to get a lecture from Johnny Wonderland, a person who farts cupcakes and believes that smiles can cure cancer. Dick.
Let's be real, okay? Bad things happen, people do shitty things that would piss you off, it's all real. Don't get on a nice, fake Zen-kick just because you think it'd make you look like a good guy. I may be vindictive, cynical, and usually enraged, but that doesn't make me wrong. Rant over.    
A Unexpected Reunion.
Before I went to my boring-beyond-words job one Monday, I received a phone call from an old friend. The night before, I received a text message from the spouse of that friend. What resulted was an impromptu get together with people who I used to tear up bars with on a weekly basis. I was the best man for their wedding. We haven't hung out in a year or so, and we only did briefly on that day because of certain issues. We really should work on this, shouldn't we? I mean, yeah, it's nice to know that our little group was still the couple's go to group when the Mister and Missus aren't exactly walking on sunshine, but still.
It did remind me of a particular night back in '05 when I had to meet the couple on the same night in two separate bars cause they had an incident. I was still in MTV, doing timeless when I got a call from the Missus, and I had to run to the Grill, to talk her down, and then I had to go to Marbles to comfort the Mister. Good times.
The Weekend with Marvi and The Big Man.
I didn't know that the whole couple's thing would be the theme of that particular week, but then the weekend presented me with two other experiences with married people that are both kinda interesting if viewed from a particular point of view. Saturday night, I was out with the Big Man for another night of drinking and whatnot. He and his wife weren't having problems, but the whole general set up of their relationship makes me think some times about why one bothers to commit in a long term thing like that. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking their obviously imperfect relationship, since I'm not really an authority on how good marriages should go. It's just that, after years of watching what they've gone through, from the moment their relationship started, (I think I was literally there when the whole thing began, but I'm not sure.) and what they're dealing with now, I don't know. It all just seems tiring, and not really worth it. I'm guessing if I was in either one's position, I'd have gotten up and left long ago.
We just drank and did our usual bit, and I went home in the morning with the full intention of waking up and heading to the Think Tank to do some work. That didn't happen, so I just went to Marvi's new house, conveniently located just a few minutes away from my place. Marvi and her husband, Kokoy, had moved out shortly after the huge flood that happened weeks ago. Kokoy had some problems with her family, and really wanted a place of their own. Not surprisingly, Marvi went with her man. That Sunday night, she and I (Kokoy couldn't get up from bed after moving) drank until the wee hours, just talking about stuff. It's rare that I get one on one time with any of the Scoobies, and my night with Marvi was alright. We talked about my relationship briefly, talked about hers at length, and the people who are mutually in our lives.
It was an interesting contrast, spending time looking at the two marriages I've known the longest. While unlike the Big Man's relationship, I wasn't there for Marvi when she first met her man, but I was there during the time she got pregnant and began perhaps the most trying time of their lives. I've seen both couples survive the worst. I've seen both endure. I've seen both couple's imperfections, and being the egotistical prick that I am, looked at my own romantic past and present and realized that, no matter how well intentioned, me going through what I go through alone may not be a good thing. Basically, I had a lot of thinking done on that weekend, and the days that followed.
A Night With The Ill-Repute.
I had another drinking session at home with the BIg Man and the Tapa King, which led to a night out where we drank at some old dude's house with a couple of girls from bars of less than noble clientele. The Big Man had a new fling on his mind, and as I have made clear over the past several months, what he does in his personal life isn't really my place to judge. What happened was, people got drunk, people made a scene, people had fun. I guess that's all that matters. I did have to talk down this drunk girl in order to make for a clean exit. There was an amusing moment wherein the Big Man had to tell me to stop and let him have a go at resolving the situation, since I guess I was stealing some of his thunder. I get that, it was his thing, and he had to look like the one in control, and the fact that he was honest about it was good enough for me. At least everything we talked about in the gas station months ago made a difference.
The Tapa King was his usual self, which isn't really a good thing. In fact, he's become quite the issue as of late. His tendencies to grandstand while being completely oblivious to where he actually stands as an individual in our group has somehow become an unsettling thing for everyone. Everyone has had some form of issue with him, but the one thing that it all boils down to is entitlement. I can't speak for the rest of the guys, but for me, it's getting tiring hearing a guy who hasn't had a job, a girlfriend, or anything resembling personal or professional progression in God knows how long lecture me, Jonic, The Critic, and The Big Man about how he's had it rough, about how to get a girl, about how to basically live life, and then expect people to buy him food and drink.
It's all about knowing your role in every group dynamic. Back in the day, my role in the Old Gang was to be the guy who had to make people laugh and drink and generally have fun while everyone else did their thing. I was the guy who came up with the plans. A lot of those plans resulted in us getting in trouble, the Big man getting in hot water to his wife/girlfriend, the Little Prince missing school and basically just general mayhem with minimal damage. These days, with the addition of the Tapa King and the change in perspective with me and the Big Man, I've had to (pardon the ultra-geeky reference) switch disciplines from Rogue to Paladin for most of the time. The Tapa King's role, the way I see it, is the group's blunt instrument. He's the muscle, the Big Man's the bankroll, I'm usually the mouth, while the Critic… well, he's the lonely guy who sits in his apartment and shows up from time to time. (And… zing.)
Whether or not my assessment is accurate, the point being is that the Tapa King has been upsetting the status quo, and if a paradigm shift is in order, then it will only come through confrontation, which I will get to in a bit.
Triumph in Simple Things.
My preparation for the contest has been slow and somewhat counter-productive. True, I don't feel the same excitement as I did last year. After the initial lows and highs of being rejected then accepted, I once again fell into that mindset of apathy. I'm pretty sure it has a lot to do with the stress I've been going through, and of course, the anxiety, which has come back in full force since July I think. (I don't write about it for the same reason I don't write about the sunrise. It's a given.)
I've been feeling detached again, especially with the whole dealing with everything alone thing. There was only one event that made me feel alive the past couple of weeks, and it came form something as mundane as booking my flight. See, I got me one of those discounted rates, being a cheap, broke bastard and all, and when I booked that flight,it was apparently one of those things that I had to pay for on the same day or else I lose the thing. So from Makati I went home, took the money I had, went back to Makati and lo and behold, all of the banks and payment centers weren't really functioning. It was one of things wherein you feel that the universe was testing me, what with the banks and other centers either going offline are had really weird cut off times. I was moving from one place to the next with a quickness and sense of urgency that I haven't displayed all year, not in the Think Tank, not with the movie and certainly not in the job.
In the end, I managed to get it done right in the nick of time, and a weird sense of accomplishment washed over me as I sat down in the food court at Landmark. I was, at the briefest of instances, happy. Then I looked around and realized where I was. This was the same food court we used to have lunch in everyday back in '98, when I was a college freshman. Since then, I used that food court as one of my hiding places when I wanted to be alone, when serious thinking had to be done. Then it hit me, how I was able to feel alive only when I manage to get something done. That's how I live now, task to task, project to project, and when it's done, I immediately look for the next thing to conquer. I realized then, that that was not how a person should live. If I continue on this path, I would just end up burning out with nothing truly significant to show for it.
I think I sat there for two full hours just staring into space.
There Goes Another Weekend.
Another weekend came, and this is where the whole thing with the Tapa King came to a head. Jonic invited us over to celebrate his own professional triumph. I had a shitload of things I had to either work out or numb with alcohol. I don't know if the Big Man was carrying shit he had to release, but he went along. The Tapa King, well, he wasn't invited. Not really at least.
For weeks, Jonic has been trying to set up a night out with the guys to celebrate a new job. For weeks, he has also been complaining about the King's behavior. The Big Man and the Critic have also been vocal about not really wanting the dude's company. I think I was the latest to hop on that bandwagon, but yeah, my thick skin has been worn out as well.
So on a night wherein we went into some faraway bar in Laguna (a bar that had branches in both Makati, Malate and Las Pinas, but no, we had to go to Laguna), we drank a whole lot of booze, experienced weird car troubles and met some really interesting albeit not very memorable people, the topic of the night was the exclusion of the Tapa King. Technically, he was invited, but when plans changed, he wasn't informed. Why? Because no one wants to hang out with him. The Critic, who wasn't there, has said that he doesn't want him around because he couldn't unload his usual rantings without the King trying to interject. Jonic, in my opinion, didn't want his moment sullied by either the guy's tendency for melodrama, or his penchant for attention seeking. The BIg Man, I think, was just too tired of the guy's shit, and me, well, I had not only Hong Kong, but my entire future in mind, and I really didn't want a hassle.
So, what should have been a great night was just a good one, and hopefully, this is the last night that's lessened in value simply because of one guy. And the motherfucker wasn't even there.
The Now and Again.
The past two weeks, when I should have been focusing on Hong Kong, I found myself wondering about where I'm headed specifically. Thing's need to change if I'm to keep my sanity for another full year. After the conversations with everyone I've had (though I'm certain none of them knew that our talks were used to assess my own current situation), I made up my mind. (From the time being, at least.)
I haven't written about it directly in any of my posts, but my relationship has been on the outs for quite some time now. It's not entirely a fault of hers, I'm not exactly an easy guy to get. To her credit she did try to understand that I don't always have things "together", but at some point in our relationship, she didn't want to see that side of me that's made life difficult for anyone I've shared it with, and that's something I couldn't shake. In turn, I've opted to deal with everything on my plate alone, without anyone I could, at least, talk to, which made things worse.
I'm angry, and have been angry for months. Not towards anyone in particular, but it has been directed at everyone at some points over the past few months. So, while I didn't and still don't want to take certain actions, I did, because the me that was me from 2009 has started creeping back in, and that's the last thing I want or need.
I'm walking away. From everything, I guess. No, from most things. Yes, my relationship is over. I am once again single, for nth time in my adult life. I've also decided to stop writing for TV, at least for now. I told them I needed to focus on Hong Kong, and that I needed a month off. Knowing what I know about the industry, I won't have a job waiting for me at the end of the month. If I am wrong and if I did come back to writing for a show that can't even make me laugh these days, I'd probably just stick around for the paycheck.
Hong Kong, the contest, sad to say, has become somewhat irrelevant. Right now, I'm looking at two tasks to finish after the competition, regardless of what happens. There's one more movie that I'll make for the family business, and then that Coffeehouse project I've been wanting to do all year. Once those two projects are done, I'm thinking about relocating. In six months or so, I aim to be living or working in Hong Kong, or maybe even Baguio, or anywhere else that's far away. At least, that's the plan, and plans do change. Fact is, I've done everything there is to do around here, from both a professional and personal standpoint. Maybe a move would fix what task after task couldn't.
As for the competition, well, I'm still going to give it my best shot, but in a different way. I started writing jokes, which I think are funny, but I figured I should change that as well. I'm being given 7 minutes to express myself on a captive audience, and I'll take it. For the first time in my life, I plan to be completely honest. No masks or roles. Whether they think it's funny or not, it's up to them.
Point is, this time next year, I plan to be gone. From October until my move, I'll be tying up loose ends. This sitcom's going to be on its final season.