Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The End of the Year-Long Road

I guess just too many clich├ęd motifs seek to describe the ups and downs of life. Roller-coasters, mirrors, glasses full and empty. Quiet rooms, crowded city streets, solitude and solace. All things you begin to consider when the best conversations you have on a normal basis are those with yourself. Or the worst, I’m not sure.

It’s always a sublime feeling, that little touch of destiny though. A calm before the storm or after the storm [a calm nonetheless] a time when we feel we are doing exactly what we were put on earth to do, despite everything we’ve done and everything that’s happened to us, the sins we’ve committed over the tears we’ve cried in the loneliest of loneness, the accomplishments we’ve labored for and the people who hurt, or were hurt by, us. All these things bring us to this moment.

People come and go, visit, stay, leave. Time stands still, flies right by to leave us in nothing but ourselves. But then there was a phonecall, and a smile. And then suddenly there were people who’s hands I needed to shake. And the subway’s earthy breeze flowing into the city, sky high.

And then a breath of fresh air, final, longing and blissfull.

I got a job. And nothing was in vain.

Current Music: Andy Davis
Earth Shattering Revelation #27: Hardship begets Greatness. Everything in its own place, in its own time...

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Matching China of a Broken Empire

You can’t see the Pacific Ocean out the front bay window today. The thick daily fog pulled into the peninsula racing like molasses to once again stay ahead of the sun. An eerie quiet blankets this uncommonly cold Memorial Day, strangely absent are the aromas of sweet barbecue hanging heavily in the warm summer air. And as pangs of nostalgia threatened to ruin that calm, I peacefully trudged into the cool kitchen to prepare what would be my lunch. Upon opening the cupboard, my eyes fell upon the fleeting mess of colors and styles of the mismatched dishes haphazardly stacked there. And I grimaced. Gone is the excitement of having the same amber cups lined neatly in a row, replaced instead by the varying levels and sizes of glass used by strangers. The shiny mocha of plates chosen as a set separated by the white and weathered brass lining of china that belonged to other houses, other people, other lives. The silverware, half of which lost their luster, overflowed, almost a calculated hint at how many have used them in households before. And despite having fallen into the most fortunate makeshift living situation here, I couldn’t help but long for the control and comfort that living alone had once offered, back when things were stable, back when questions had answers.

And now those same questions rung unanswered once again, bombarding an otherwise undisturbed mind, the unrelenting pains of settling into the new and different slowly dissipating into fond memories of amber yesterdays. And despite this underlying cloud of doubt, I feel that glimpses of bright tomorrows run rampant with the energetic residents of the San Francisco Bay Area. There’s a collective sentiment of hope and optimism here I haven’t honestly felt since graduation day.

Lingering thoughts: Why does it matter what I’m doing or how I’m doing things…why do friends in more fortunate situations feel the liberty to offer criticism of what I’m doing, disguised as unsolicited advice? The fact that I cannot cater to them or do things their way…or even help them the way they want me to. I need help and I need luck. I can’t be there for everyone else right now, because I’m barely even there for me. I have a deep profound respect for those individuals who do not settle for a lesser happiness. And I know people cower for fear of falling, of losing, of sadness. And then there are those who blindly throw themselves into situations expecting their luck to change their cards. I don’t believe in second chances, but rather that life is taken in a sequence of steps. And here I’m thrown into a happy medium, but maybe this time instead of saying “ I know this will be good” I say, “ok, this MIGHT be good,” and that way things end up might not tug at your heart so much. But won’t know until I try.

Cant stop smiling, because something big is coming, and I feel a belonging to ground me. Waiting for the day the plates in the cupboard would match again, and as this momentary bout of materialism wanes, I sit upon the gates to the pacific, finally awash in the glory of the golden mid-afternoon sun.

Current Music: Gabe Bondoc, "Falling for You" Cover

Earth-Shattering Revelation #27: Waiting, wishing, hoping, praying…falling. THAT is the true cost of living.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Destiny Roads

Here’s how it went down. Words can’t express it all. But I needed this journey to live here too. [By the way, that thing that I vowed would never happen to me, happened to me again. I will never be an advocate for not trusting your friends, but I can’t help but feel, those closest to me will inevitably hurt me, sometime down the road. And I don’t think that will ever be okay, but is the way of the world.]

March 29th, 2010, Day 1: The Weight of the World
Hit me today that I will be stepping a few paces out of my comfort zone…and that there’s a chance I will never see some of these people again. But I felt that I was finally done in Houston. Although I hadn’t taken enough pictures of the city or seen enough friends to wave goodbye to or cry enough tears and make enough to do lists, I knew in my heart that I will never take enough pictures or see enough friends or cry enough tears or run out of things to put on that list. So I leave, being done, undone.

I fulfilled a couple of kept promises, unveiled surreal revelations, delayed goodbyes, a rough patch or five, and a surprisingly sublime emotional release as we leave Houston before dinnertime/Houston evening rush hour. Andrea, who hopped onto navigate/drive with me literally at the last minute was a godsend through the desert that lay ahead and the new life at the end of it. We drove through the dry heat of west Texas following the sunset into rolling plains and desert rock. Took a 5-hour energy drink extra strength and found refuge in its placebo. There’s nothing out here but washed out dreams, struggling, vanishing waterways and a gentle rolling of brush-covered hills sweeping across an arid void to the left and right of Interstate 10. Watched The Office into the night and stopped at Fort Stockton, a ramshackle old settlement close to the edge of the Lonestar State. Entering borderlands of Texas, New Mexico, at the edge of the old world.

March 30th 2010, Day2: The Edge of the World
Hit El Paso, a land of clashing and complimentary cultures of three old civilizations mashed together into a corporate, capital economic existence. A short stay here yielded some final Texan memorabilia (A “cowboy hat” of sorts that I always wanted since my first day in Texas and a deck of “Alamo” cards.) We swept through the rough and tumble sweep of New Mexican desert, pockmarked with billboards along dusty terrain, a fake row of storefronts disguising a rest stop and a set of old railroad tracks that stretched what seemed the length of New Mexico’s stake of Interstate 10.

The road curved around a hilly plain and we came across some mesas in the far distance but not until Arizona did we finally find the sweeping majesty promised us by countless calendars, Wikipedia entries and old westerns. Mountains surrounded a dry desert with alien looking brush and a lone road that divided the land. I can’t explain in words how small I felt in such a massive and beautiful, untouched terrain. It was like I was given a reminder of at once how much I don’t matter, and then just how much everything I did could possibly change the world. The California desert was like a descent into a dream. The daylight yielded to narrow mountain passes that told me I was moving into a valley system not unlike Pennsylvania’s, a poetic likeness to a home familiar to me. And as we reached Los Angeles, the brilliant lights and abundant traffic even at ungodly hours told me: don’t live here.

March 31st 2010, Day3: The New World
Sean gave us a fantastic stay in Los Angeles for a night, after a horrible time trying to park the U-haul and tow dolly rig on a narrow backstreet in the LA suburb. My first meal in California was a fantastic beef tip thing from IHOP, and soon after a quick goodbye began our trek through the San Joaquin valley of California, through more mountain passes and a stretch of valley plains before hitting the hills just before San Jose and South Bay.

It began to rain as dusk hit and the grand landscapes quickly gave way to a cornucopia of suburban artifacts like Walgreens, stretches of green grass and palm trees, grid patterns of city streets and finally, route 101 that ushered us into Daly City, California. The rain was pouring as I called the new roommates down to aid me in getting a quick cliffnotes version of parking such a huge vehicular setup on the narrow high hill upon which our house resides, a sweeping overlook of some of the southernmost hills of the San Francisco Peninsula. They came out, met me one by one and proved to me that this move will yield some good, solid friendships. After some trouble moving the vehicle, and getting upstairs to get a lay of the land so to speak, Andrea and I sat down with new people, drank through the night at the local Dubliner (in San Francisco proper) with the help of several shots from a generous foreign bartender, and end up tricked up at a new friend’s house drawing sharpie doodles on a new friend, listening to some live music and passing out on what was my first night in the new City, my home. And I could not have asked for a better welcome.

There’s also this new thing… where I can’t stop smiling, even when I think about the people I won’t see every day anymore. Even though it makes me sad that I won’t. But I look around and see that the dream that drives me is very much alive here…and I can’t help but keep smiling. And I think to myself, finally, I deserve that.

Current Music: Leona Lewis, "Happy"

Earth-Shattering Revelation #26: I live in San Francisco. The End. [But just the beginning]

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Exit Wounds

And this is how it all ends for this reluctant and anxious Filipino cowboy. It is a crisp morning air that flows into the room from the rest of the world today, a flow of air that tells me the room is emptier and emptier with each passing moment. A box here, some junk there, and a consistent movement of stuff into Tito Edwin’s garage in Pearland. Each moment gets me excited to go do the “last” this and the “last” that just to prove that my time here was lasting, epic, real…valuable. And not just to me, but to the people I’ve met, have become close with, slept with, eaten meals and drank with. Laughed with.

But plans have been made about that dream thing I set out to reach three years ago and though fragments of it have come here and there in Houston, it will ultimately carry me out of here, because as I’ve faced the reality of it, that dream doesn’t live here. You'd think I’d have stopped making stupid or impulsive decisions like this years into my last big stupid impulsive decision, but I have to believe I can still make a life for myself, doing what I was put on earth to do and being accepted for it....just like the amazing people I surround myself with and admire. Hell, I’ve never been to San Francisco. So I don’t expect those who closely follow my life, if in the realest of realities there were any souls who did, to understand or support what I have set out to do once again, to reach the other side. In fact, I don’t believe anyone does, even when their words say otherwise and that is not what is most important to me. These relationships are what are most important to me. These beautiful lies they fill the air with in my final moments as a Texan is all a result of them needing me to feel comfortable with what results from my impulsiveness or stupidity. And I am ok with that, because I am not interested in proving them wrong, and am only interested in knowing that they are my friends, I love them and I need them.

The best friends are the ones you come across and teach you the substantial profound things about life…how to live in this world…how to laugh yourself silly…how to indulge in caring about something like your work or your loved ones or falling in love…the ones that throw parties for you when you leave because they want to celebrate this relationship they have with you and to remind you that they won’t forget you, knowing you’ll never forget them.
I’m finally done crying I think [even about that]…but maybe one last tear for leaving all of this to go do what I need to do and release them all from the responsibility of telling me everything’s going to be ok.

Thanks for having me, Houston. I really enjoyed life here.

Current Song: Joni Mitchell, “Case of You”

Earth-Shattering Revelation #25: “"There are two mistakes one can make along the road... not going all the way, and not starting."