It’s funny that Thanksgiving this year for me was probably the most IN YOUR FACE among all the other years combined. Since Filipinos never really observed Thanksgiving, the holiday usually comes and goes without much of a gobble. So imagine how odd, that last November 21, the eve of Thanksgiving, we interviewed the most unlikely personality we ever had on the show — the American Ambassador, The Honorable Kristie Kenney — to talk about, what else, Thanksgiving! So I inadvertantly learned much about the holiday, since I had to google it so I didn’t come off as unprepared and ignorant. And as it turned out, it was quite apropos that it should fall on the same month that my family is giving our most profuse collective thanks. But I get ahead of myself. When my eldest sister Flory was diagnosed with leukemia just right after Holy week of this year, imagine like someone took our lives, put them in a sack filled with razor blades and rusty nails and broken glass, and then dropped a ten-ton anvil on the sack, with a giant trampoline on top of the anvil, and a herd of elephants jumping on top of the trampoline. Now take the hypothetical pain of that experience, multiply it a thousandfold, then you’ll have an idea of what we went through emotionally during those harrowing times. I don’t really want to re-live those moments, they’re not exactly my favorites, so let’s fast forward to a couple of days ago, November 30. Our family, together with relatives and friends, gathered to celebrate mass, then lunch after, as thanksgiving for the full recovery of my beloved sister. Now, don’t ask us to which of the many treatments, medicines, laying of hands, novenas, amulets, or prayers we attribute the absolute healing. Maybe it’s one, maybe it’s some, maybe it’s a little bit of everything — a confluence of all the energies working together for a common cause. It was a tough battle for everyone concerned, but we got to the light at the end of the tunnel (and no, Daredevil, it wasn’t the A-train), and we were getting together to give endless thanks, for a much coveted second chance. I don’t wield the word “miracle” lightly. In fact many people don’t even subscribe to the concept. But call it what you want, whether it’s a mere random series of events that just happened to work in our favor, bereft of any mandate from a higher force, or a reprieve from a benevolent God, as a result of an endless stream of petitions from people imploring on my sister’s behalf. The fact is, we’re grateful for the outcome, and we’d throw our thanks out to whomever is there to receive it. Personally, as a lover of words, I feel only one word perfectly fits everything that happened to my sister and our family: “miracle”. Nothing short of it.
This Morrissey song title hits a nerve with me because I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with the month of November. The first time I ever fell in love, which led to my greatest heartbreak, was in November. The last time I fell in love, which led to my one true romance, was also in November. I also have a strange relationship with people born on the 11th month (although “novem” in Latin means “nine” because originally it was the ninth month in the Roman calendar). Some of my dearest friends — my co-kabarkada-mate Sumi, my brotha from anotha mutha cuzin Joe, my childhood friend Andre, my chubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff, the multi-monikered Jun/Koji/Miguel/Rodrigo/Sleazebag — were all November-born. And some of the people I’ve had the most, how do I put it politely, “turbulently traumatic” relationships with, were also children of the Scorpio moon (all of whom shall remain understandably nameless). So November gives me a bit of the heebie-jeebies. I find it creepy that it is the month of Thanksgiving, but it also is the month of the Dead (unless you’re thankful that they’re dead, then it makes sense). So starting a blog on this Jekyll-and-Hyde month is a big gamble for a pathologically superstitious person like me. I mean, if this blog were a baby, I don’t know if I’ll have a cherub-like golden child, or end up with a grotesque abomination, with hydra-like multiple heads, each one more hideous and repulsive than the next, all waiting to chew on the bones of their father. Cheesy Greek analogy aside, I must admit I’m having loads of fun doing this, in a twisted, exhibitionist way. I must say that blogging is no different from radio broadcasting. It doesn’t feel like you have an audience since you don’t see them, and you blabber away, defenses down, only to realize you revealed more than you’re comfortable with. Only with blogging, you get to edit. It’s like doing a soliloquy on stage, naked, with the light in your eyes, and you don’t know who’s out there, watching. A lot of it is conceit, really, thinking anyone would be interested to hear your ramblings, but hey, I say why not? So, on that note, allow me to bookend this post by cribbing from a Journey song this time. I’ll let the song speak for me, as songs often do — “So now I come to you, with open arms. Nothing to hide. Believe what I say”. Take that, Mariah!
On the day I finally decided to start my blog, a headline in one of the sections in The Philippine Star blared, “Bye Bye Blogging!” Then on the same day, while surfing the internet, I read a news article on Yahoo! about how the internet will be “full” by 2010. Apparently, so many people are putting stuff on the net (now including me), that there will just be no more space left in as early as 2 years from now, unless servers invest billions of dollars to expand and accomodate the astounding demand. And so it seems, as is customary, not only am I unfashionably late in joining the blogwagon, but it may be a doomed project from the get-go! But going against the odds seems to be another theme in my life. Who would’ve thought that the pigeon-chested geek who wore ankle boots with his grade school shorts would end up in a nerd-intolerant field like the radio industry? A lot of the DJ’s at the time were all testosterone-y hyper-males with booming voices, complemented with an extra serving of macho cheese. I tried to modulate my whiney voice, and I often ended up sounding like a she-male, or a eunuch with only one testicle hacked off. But, against many odds, I actually ended up keeping my job, nothwithstanding being named after a little brown fruit that actually looks like a newly-shaven testicle (hmmm…there it is again…are testicles another recurring theme in my life?), and that reeks the same odor as that of a drunken man. I guess better Chico Garcia than DJ Rambo Tan. So who knows what I’ll say on this blog? I guess I’ll just wing it as I go along. I have lots of spare time and surplus random thoughts — and as you know — idle minds bear strange fruit.