Monday, November 29, 2004


Matthew is the epitome of the single male Manhattanite - young at 31, a successful stock broker at Wall Street, tall at 6'3" and very goodlooking. A former football player at the university, he maintains his athletic build by running with his dog at the park and working out regularly at the gym. He stands out in a crowd because of his charisma. He has an sarcastic kind of humour that is also very endearing, not at all coming on as a show-off.

Like the regular Manhattanite, Matt can't figure out why he can't find a girlfriend. His standards aren't by any means impossible. Just a girl who isn't emotionally unstable, someone who is capable of regular conversation.... a regular girl. "Tell me, where can I find a woman who doesn't turn psycho on me at a moment when I least expect it."

His call at the end of the day was a pleasant surprise. It had been a while since we had talked to each other. So instead of heading to the gym, I found myself at Penang Grill on East 84th enjoying spicy curry with him.

I had been privy to his seemingly eternal search for the 'ideal girl'. He has sought for her online (a perfect breeding ground for freaks and rejects), at the bar (where the one-nighters-only thrive), through friends (how we met) and through the recommendation of friends and co-workers (somehow fruitful but still...). No girl still that he finds himself comfortable with. Maybe his standards are too high? He shrugs. Sometimes he doesn't know anymore. Are the normal regular girls becoming a rare breed?

He says he has gotten tired seeking. My advise: stop looking, you'll bump into her when you least expect it. For the meantime, enjoy the ones that come along your way - without the emotional and psychological baggages.

"THAT'S RARE! It's hard," he chuckles, "sometimes its just a waste of time and effort and you can only take it so far without thinking of yourself as the other fool in the party of two."

Our analyses of the city girls he has dated continued until it was time to go. Has the city girl become so obsessed with successful careers that they have forgotten how to be girls? Have they experienced too much trauma in the dating game that they evolved into guarded wounded souls unwilling to love and be loved?

Matthew is a good catch, if someone could ever qualify for that label. As I sit across from him and his light brown eyes reflect the flicker of the candle on our table and light his face I can't help but wonder why he is in the predicament that he is in. The conversation with him is hardly boring. He is very animated, very funny, very intelligent. We share common interests - Sponge Bob Square Pants and The Incredibles.

Someone's loss, my gain - at least until red bean ice cream is served.

Anyone want a date with him? Email me your resumes. I will do the eliminations.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Turkey Day

This week the US celebrates Thanksgiving. This would be my 3rd Thanksgiving here in New York and I still cannot seem to be able to relate. A turkey in the oven for me pretty much defines Christmas. Back home in Manila, we'd get the turkey as early as well, Thanksgiving and then the big bird would become for a while a permanent fixture in the freezer. And since I am an ice muncher, everytime I get icecubes (we do not have that icecube-dispenser-on-the-door kind of ref back home) the bird and I would sort of bond. Sometimes when I'd go home late at night and everyone else is in bed, it's nice to talk to the frozen bird about my day while I am prying icecubes from the tray.

"Hello, bird, I got caught in traffic today. Terrible mess on the Coastal Road. Someone was 'salvaged' (summarily executed...murdered!) and so someone who'd probably end up in some medical university's surgery class cutting table lay dead on the side of the road and messed up traffic."

Sometimes it would be, "what do you think of the way this country is being run, bird? Speak up or forever hold your silence."

An unopinionated bird is a pleasure to have as company. It can never be disagreeable. It never gets under your skin for either being too right, too left, or too middle of the road to get run over. It just sits there in the cold and listens, or pretends to. Until you shut the freezer door and move on to less important things.

The value of sharing a special day with people who matter most is evident with the fact that Thanksgiving is the
biggest day for travelling in this country. The travel during the long weekend is marked by an increase of 54% compared to Christmas/New Year's (up only by 23%). In the Philippines, the exodus of people happens several times a year but nothing comparable to Semana Santa (Holy Week) because it's a 5-day weekend starting Holy Wednesday (unless Holy Wednesday falls on a Thursday which has not yet happened but if it did then it'd just be a 4-day weekend). In far second would be All Saint's Day where people go to the cemeteries to visit the grave of loved ones, some not necessarily saints and then Christmas.
I wonder though, if the message and significance of Thanksgiving is ever fully appreciated, if at all comprehended. My amazement is about how people could pause to reflect and give gratitude for their blessings only once a year. I go to mass every Sunday and give thanks for the blessings for the week. To mark the end of every day, I recall the wonderful things that I have had during the day and utter 'thanks' in a silent prayer just before I shut my eyes. To wait one year seem anti-climactic. For the obsessive compulsive like myself then that would mean bringing another notebook listing down things to be grateful for for Thanksgiving Year ####. Probably why some people tend to take for granted the good things that come their way... it takes them a while to be happy for them that they forget.

I was suppose to travel to San Francisco to be with relatives but cancelled at the last minute. Instead, I planned about staying home in my toasty apartment and packing for my travel home to Manila for the holidays. I will be having a peking duck with my aunt for lunch on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. On top of so many blessings, I will be most grateful for the gift of my beautiful daughter Nicole who will also be celebrating her birthday (November 25th).

No turkey until Christmas for me, which is the way it had always been, and no Spock (Gigi's silky terrier and perennial turkey fan) running around begging for his share. On Friday I will leave with my friends for Boston, a trip we decided on today, Tuesday while sitting around in the office shooting IM's back and forth. When we return, I'm dressing up the office for the holidays and organizing the company Christmas party. Then I will be homeward bound.
Let me share with you a favorite quote from an anonymous writer:
Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don't know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you're tired and weary
Because it means you've made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Tragedy of Alfred Elkins

He believes that the most beautiful women are in New York City. And like the hovering guest over a sumptious buffet, he must have a taste of each and everyone to savor the variety. Holding off for marriage with the hope that someone else who is better will come along, in his words.

The all too familiar Manhattan-speak. I am single and there are over 2 million single eligible men in New York City. I have met and mingled with a lot (about .001% of them. Correction by the M.O. - .000001 lang daw). It is much more entertaining and frustrating than life changing. It is like shuffing around musical chairs. At times you just want the music to stop.

Most of my friends are also single. Some have found love and have let it pass each time, unwilling and hesitating to commit. Some connecting with someone but with neck craned high seeking for other possibilities to come along. Often, the majority are in search of love with the ultimate desire to commit but it seems not really knowing what they are seeking for.

"It is not like going out and seeking and eventually finding the right person. Each and everyone has their cracks and faults. It's a matter of if you can live with the imperfections or not" I had been told. And he also noted the frustration of meeting a woman who is almost perfect only to realize later on that the first two weeks had been a show.

True, I agree, when dating, do not rely on what you discover on the first 10 dates (and I mean it). Men, and admittedly women, make themselves PERFECT at this stage. Thereafter when the guards are down that you start to discover the real person. And it is not always a pretty picture.

"Find someone to love and live everyday as if it's your last," Alfred Elkins quotes.

Easier said than done. I ran the treadmill with the M.O. the other night and I asked him if he thought I had become too jaded. He laughed and confirmed my suspicions. At this stage in my life I suppose that fairytales hold no more credibility, as they always turn out to be some psycho suspense thriller in the end.

"It's not about being jaded, really," I tried to defend myself, "it's about knowing that everything is superficial".

I am jaded.

In the end, I also surmised that most people get married because they just get tired of the chase. They find someone and think it is workable and sustainable in the long-term projection (financial and emotional) and then sign on the dotted line. "I do".

It's a partnership. A business deal. Romance? Pffffftttttt............

I will get married, I know I will. Maybe sooner than later. But I wonder if my reasons for doing so would be reasons that would still make sense when I am old and gray. I cannot say my life so far had been a breeze. The errors I have made I try to make live-able if I am not about to purge them into selective amnesia. Marriage is a big step and there is no turning back. I am hoping not to be considering dissolution/divorce/annulment anywhere in my future.

How sad to marry and realize that you had served yourself misery. How lonely to be with someone you share no dreams with, feel nothing for and have only the daily routines of life to deal with.

Don't people marry for love anymore? And stay married because of love? Do we know what love is, anyways, even if it hit us on the head? Barbara 'Tweetums' Gonzales asks, how do you know if your pearls are real? When you drop them in vinegar and they melt then they are real; but your pearls are gone. Maybe real pearls do not melt in vinegar but you get the message.

Alfred Elkins had found love many times but did not recognize it. When he was ready to commit, there was no one who had stayed long enough for his awakening. I can relate to his search, I can understand the need to enjoy as much as possible the highs of a new love. I also fear that I might end up with the same sad tale of having lost what would have been real. I fear more that I might make the wrong choice and realize that the deal does not come with a refund/return policy.

So what's it all about, really?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The Fall Back Blabber

My blog doesn't get a million hits a day but it has its share. The gaps between the entries lately is very telling of my suddenly hectic lifestyle registering itself so. I have tried many times to open the blogger account, log on and get into the 'create' screen. Unfortunately it doesn't progress much beyond that.

It is not because of lack of inspiration or the lack of something to write about. Living in New York City and my life specifically has a lot of stuff in it worth writing, trust me. It is the time to sit down and get things organized in my head that has become impossible. As I sit in the subway I get to observe the daily rituals of people; the more intimate interaction between couples on their way to their destinations and kissing on the platform as they take separate paths; the detached and those who live in their own world, immersed in their music with their ipods or the fantasies of their mind in books they read rarely blinking. And then there are those whose souls had been siphoned by the devil and who leers and sneers at anyone who would care to listen.

A few weeks back we had "fall back" - gained an extra hour and returned to Eastern Standard Time. It has been insignificant, much as I did sleep get to sleep an extra hour on the first day, a Sunday. That of course is hard to gauge since I often get up late on a Sunday anyway. And late, being 8AM since I have to do my laundry or clean my apartment before I head out the door for my Sunday mass at noon.

In anticipation of "fall back" I hoped to do more, but how much more is more? I wake at 7, get in the shower and is on the train to work and am greeting everyone good morning by 8:30AM. Phone calls, meetings, letters, emails and some personal stuff make up most of the day. By lunch I am either meeting up with friends or Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I rush to my one hour Spanish class. I return to work, rush about to finish as much as I can before the end of the day. End of the day technically should be 5:30PM but sometimes the banter or the work keep us in the office way past that. I don't mind, I enjoy my work and the people I work with. I've said that once and it is without hesitation that I will state that again. I enjoy my work and the people I spend most of my day with.

The "fall back" brings darkness to the city by 6PM. I leave work, get to the gym and try to sweat a workout for an hour and then I'm home. Sometimes it is a night out with friends who keeps the sanity intact for the single girl in the city sans the sex. Sometimes it is just home early to crash in front of the computer and attempt to reply to accumulated unanswered emails. Tonight, I get distracted with The West Wing, the only TV show I ever really watch. Amazingly, I still came up with an entry for the blog.

A note to self: should take it easy - not good to NOT smell the roses; mars the child-like self. distracts the soul; takes away the music to life. So not so good.