bitter fart

Cure for my otherwise odorless flatulence. List of sins and bottled up anger that might have caused such an unpleasant scent. This blog is my way to reduce the frequency and odor of flatulence, lower air pollution, save me from embarrassment and make the world a better smelling place.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

a tale of two sisters

It was winter. I stood in front of a small downtown arthouse in the freezing cold waiting for my sister. My numb frosted hands held two tickets to the Korean horror flick "A Tale of Two Sisters". A quick glance at my watch told me that the movie starts in five minutes. Still there was no sight of her. To the corner of the street I dragged my locked legs and cracked my icy toes as I tiptoed and held my chin up, as though I were one of Degas ballerinas, hoping to find her in the sea of people walking towards me. Ten minutes later I sense a familiar slow, long stride of plump legs and flat feet. At last she arrives!

The movie had already started and so the only lights came from the glow of the screen behind us and the small bulbs that lit the steps. In front of me was my sister who groped her way up the stairs. Thinking that she had wanted to sit at the aisle I took the one beside it. Seconds later I turn my gaze away from the screen to see what was taking her too long. There, way at the back, my sister stood facing the wall like that of a punished child. Only then did I remember about her being night blind. I rushed to her aid trying with extreme difficulty to contain my laughter without breaking wind. It was a wonder how she avoided walking right into the wall. If she had done so, she could have bumped her head, took a step back, slip on a step and roll down the aisle like a barrel of beer. That would have instantly turned the atmosphere from sheer fright to outrageous comedy.

Unlike most of her friends who are thoughtful of her condition, I am oblivious. One summer around a decade ago, in my episodes of insomnisa and lack of better things to do I decided to test her blindness. Soon after she turned off the lights and laid on her bed I held a hand in front of her face asking if she could see it. She answers with a resolute no. Next I place my finger under her nose and asks her the same question. I get another no. For minutes I fanned my hand inches away from her face. Although she could not see, she surely could feel. Tired, annoyed and furious with my non-sense she sits up, sums all her energy, grabs a pillow and starts beating the place where I lay. Only I wasn't there. Spent, she turns on the light to find me sitting at the corner of my bed feet away from her target laughing my heart out. These antics have become my past time. Although they border on cruelty and nuisance you have to admit they do make a good conversation piece. Even my sister would agree.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

in dionne's shoes

“Let’s go ride the space shuttle,” a friend said one night. I looked up to see the cyclone loop of Enchanted Kingdom’s Space Shuttle. A pitch-black starless sky framed by a massive metal loop gave me an eerie feeling. “Wait! I need to find my shoes,” I said realizing I was barefoot. To my right was an aisle of disarrayed shoes where people have crowded around. Just like in DSW. I snatched my camel colored sneakers and ran towards her with the shoes still in my hands. “I don’t like this,” staring at the pair. “They don’t have any shoestrings.” The last time I washed them the strings got entangled with the Velcro of my rafter’s sandals. The Velcro ate the cloth. Even the aglets are gone and so deemed them unusable. They can’t be appropriate for a roller coaster ride, as without the strings the pair would slip right off. I went back to the aisle. Crouching I spot what I thought were my lavender shoes. The material was that of a Magellan gel and the style resembles that of ballet shoes. As I reach for the pair a classmate from high school told me that those belong to her. Ignoring her I try one on and realize that she was right. It was loose, did not fit snugly in my foot and its color changed to white. It was then I caught sight of Dionne. Yes, you read it right. Dionne Warwick, the soulful singer and aunt of Whitney Houston. She answered my prayer. Some pun intended. I looked at her feet and there they were my lavender shoes. “Those are mine!” There was a hint of agitation in my voice. “Give them back to me!” She handed them without a word, but now they are inside a Bojola shoebox. I open the box to find Hush Puppies. Clearly, those could not have been the ones I was looking for, but still I tried them on. They suddenly morphed back to the gel like shoes. I removed them, held closely to my eyes and noticed a small slit. “I don’t believe it! You ruined them! You have to pay for the damage!” I slipped them back again and they turn into Hush Puppies twice the size of my feet. Embarrassed I apologize and returned them to Dionne. By this time, the crowd had dispersed and the aisle was no longer in disarray and all the shoes had their own box. Finally, I spot the two lavenders. Did I mention that this was a dream?

Monday, August 21, 2006

familiarity breeds contempt

Mother left when I was eight years old. For that I am extremely grateful. I have spent less than three years with mother and already I have understood why my father cheated on her.

Superiority complex. Mother suffers from the feeling of superiority. In fact one of her favorite words is tanga - the Filipino term for stupid. Unfortunately, she loves to use that word on me. Well, here is news for you mom it takes one to know one. When one of her friends advised her to go see a therapist to treat her addiction to work and obsession to perfection she replied "I'm not cuckoo!". Note that the friend who gave the advice sees a therapist at least once a week.

Control freak. She gets frustrated when things are not done her way. She operates on the concept of drop everything you are doing and do what I tell you. I pity the people who work for her. Fortunately, she now works for the city where the motto is "Who cares?!". However, this does not stop her from being a perfectionist and so it is likely that she would go back to her old controlling self.

Credit hog. Once my sister and I invited her to play tennis. For some reason Kevin, the person who manages the tennis courts at Riverside Park, believes my sister and I are good kids and told my mom that she did a very good job of raising us. She was very pleased with herself. The question is who actually raised us? I have always believed the maid did. Childhood should be accredited to Ate Tina and adolescence to Ate Glenda. She said so herself. In one of her stories, mother said when I was a toddler she would exchange responsibilities with my nanny such that she would do the laundry and the maid will look after me. I also remember Ate Tina knowing my mother so well would remind me not to approach her when she comes home from work. We all know how she can bite off anyone's head when she is tired and stressed out. When she left we would only see her on summer vacations and holidays and before that she was too tired to deal with the kids. Could she really have raised us?

Two years and eight months of reality had overshadowed the few good memories of mother that I held on to for twelve years. Familiarity does breed contempt.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

panhandling 101

For an untrusting calculating person generosity is a trait that is difficult to cultivate. People like me need a lot of convincing. Here are ways to become a successful beggar.

Rule #1. Learn to act.

Everyday I come across peddlers asking for spare change. Of all those people I wonder who will win the 39 cents I have in my pocket? Would it be the blind man who keeps on bumping on everybody on the 2 train? The truth is I do not believe he is blind. Have you ever seen a blind man totter with a walking stick he does not even use? A blind beggar with perfectly trimmed beard, extremely dark fashionable sunglasses, trucker cap, pristine white oversized shirt, new baggy denim shorts and rubber shoes cleaner than mine? Move over Eminem. Once I saw him on the train doing his act. One lady fell for it and the blind standing behind her watched as she reached in her Louis Vuitton purse for some change. With a smirk and a canned expression of gratitude he moves and bumps the lady in front of me. She shakes her head and I remark "I do not believe he is blind". The man looked at me with what I could only presume as a deadly stare then shouts "Could somebody help me find the way to the next car?".

Rule #2. No sleeping during work hours.

Should I go up to United Homeless Organization's desk that is strategically located in front of Citibank on 5th and drop my 39 cents inside its 5 gallon watercooler bottle? The only reason why I would like to get rid of the homeless people is to avoid riding a subway car they had slept on. Here is a useful tip to anyone who rides a subway train in Manhattan. When you find a car that is uncharacteristically uncrowded and the next car is not; never board that car. Only two things could explain this phenomenon. One is the air-conditioning is broken and the other is a homeless person was in it. The stench of a homeless person is unimaginable. The smell of urine mixed with human waste and years of not having bathed could fill the air in seconds and last for hours. However, instead of pity for these people I feel envy. When I chance upon them sleeping on a subway station, while I board a train jampacked with people like me on our way to work I could only feel sorry for myself. Here I am rushing to work when a huge portion of my paycheck will go to these people just so the government could pay for their medical bills when they get sick, while I have to contribute some amount for my health insurance that may not even cover certain medical procedures. When they go hungry they could stop by a shelter for some free food, while I would have to pay for lunch. After a long day's work you rush home and there they are again sleeping. There really is no reason to be homeless in America. If illegal immigrants like the Mexicans who walk a desert to cross Texas' border, Cubans who swim to Florida's shore and the Chinese who sail like a pack of sardines in a hull of a ship can somehow find ways to earn a living how come these citizens cannot? The homeless choose to be homeless. They are not only missing a home. They also have no self-respect.

Rule #3. Lose some weight.

On my way to play tennis I pass a six foot 250 pound man who goes to me and says "You have a quarter?!". Everytime I see him I find the urge to hit him with my running forehand, but all I ever got to do is say "Sorry I only have 20 dollar bills". My sister once told me that one morning a woman fatter than she is (my sister is fluffy herself) sipping Starbuck's coffee asked her money for food, because she is hungry. The nerve.

Rule #4. Speeches bore people.

If you ride the 6 train you probably have heard this speech "I have two children and have no work blah blah blah". Notice that I only remembered half of the first sentence. If I want to hear some sad story I'd watch a movie or turn on the television. Also, remember to bring proof. This lady could have profited if she actually brought the kids with her. Otherwise, people would think the children do not exist or the panhandling business is doing so well that she was able to afford a babysitter.

Rule #5. Cursing and name-calling is not effective.

When I was still in college a one-legged man approached the jeepney my friends and I were riding. He politely asks for some change and when none of us gave anything he shouts at us and says "Mga walang kwenta!" (Good for nothing!) from which I replied "Kunin ko kaya yang saklay mo sinong walang kwenta ngayon!" (Give me those crutches! See who's good for nothing now!") Another time was when a friend and I were on our way home from a wake. We were about to cross Araneta Avenue when a kid came to us and asked for money. As usual we said "No, we don't have any", which really means No, we don't have money for you. Crossing the street she cursed and wished our houses would burn and while boarding the jeepney she yelled to the driver not to let us in and told him we do not have money to pay our fare. Hilarious. These only prove that I made the right choice of not giving alms.

The anti-mendicancy law justifies my intolerance to panhandling. However, it does not protect me from guilt. Sometimes I wonder why it is difficult for me to donate money. The realization came with a thought of owning a dog. I have said to myself that once I bought a house I would buy myself a dog. I have even thought of naming it pichi-pichi, cuchinta or bibinka. I would feed, bathe, walk and even pick up its waste. (Who's the master now?) So, if I could spend money and time for a dog why can't I do the same for a human being? With that I managed to convince myself to donate to World Villages for Children.

Monthly Pledge for World Villages for Children: $xx
Appeasing ones conscience: Priceless

This is probably the worst act of generosity, but it is a start.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

the ego that never sleeps

Several months ago I had a dream about my friends in high school. In it I was watching television and saw all of them appear in a shampoo commercial. Aggravated for being left out I rushed to the studio where they were shooting. Need I remind you that this was a dream? I found one of my friends and asked why I was not included in the commercial. "Pangit ka kasi!" Because you are ugly, she says. "Excuse me! Maspangit ka kaya sa akin!" Excuse me! You are uglier than I am! said I.
Some say that other people are good only when they are asleep. Obviously, I'm not one of those people. Asleep or awake neither makes a difference.

Because I'm evil, my middle name is misery. Well I'm evil, so don't you mess around with me

Just so you know I do have a tinge of goodness in me. Once I offered a seat to a pregnant lady. She asked why. Turned out she wasn't pregnant, only bloated. No good deed goes unpunished. Because of this when on the subway I have learned to bury my face in a book or close my eyes and sleep. This way I won't feel obligated to give up my seat.

However, most of the time I become offensive without even knowing it. Just like earlier today when a sudden breeze of bad odor that could only come from an untreated armpit spread through the area where I sit. My boss sent me an IM and informed me that the odor comes from the guy across his desk. I suggested that we buy him a Mitchum. He replied "I'll just buy a freakin' gas mask as that will be less offensive".

On my ride home I thought I have gone through a trip without noticing things that would incite ill thoughts. Well, I was wrong. Two African American girls had very eloquently remarked that "Mexicans stink!". Sitting beside me was a Mexican lady with her daughter. Situations like this could make you prejudiced. One is likely to choose a side. If I told the story another way such that it reads Two girls had very eloquently remarked "You stink!" to the mother and daughter sitting beside me, then there's no room for bias. Sadly, sometimes one has to be blind and deaf just to avoid racism.

tilted world

Eureka! I have found the reason why the world is tilted.

big mommamalnourished african child

Where did we go wrong? According to the American Obesity Association approximately 127 million adults in the U.S. are overweight, 60 million obese, and 9 million severely obese. An ocean away 31.1 million are deprived of food.

Here she goes again talking about the F word. Well, it all started with the roast pork bun I bought for lunch. Just when I got to the part where all the roast pork lay I made the mistake of swiveling my chair. I saw the bun slip from my fingertips. The bun twirls in the air and I struggle to catch it before the inevitable happens. Too late. It falls and bounces on the floor leaving a red stain on the carpet. Wala pang five minutes as we would say in Filipino. A way of telling if it is still safe to eat something that had touched the ground. I picked it up stared and contemplated if it is worth eating. I gave one last smell of the soft moist sweet tasting bun before I tossed it in the trash. This was when I thought about hunger and Africa. Guilt overcame me. So, I drained myself with Coca Cola. In my 23 years of existence there must be tons of food that I have wasted. It is said that all the food we threw in our lifetime we will eat in purgatory. If this were true I would be one really fat lady when and if I ever reach heaven.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

pinching pennies

It took me a year, two stores and twenty-two price tags to find the right tennis shoes and when I got home I found the urge to justify the purchase. At this point my mom would call me Maring to remind me of a person whom I do not want to be. Maring is my father's mother who is the ultimate penny pincher in the family. She would sometimes come for a visit and bring me half of a chocolate. The other half she already ate. Story was she would go to the wet market and barter vegetables. There is nothing wrong with this when life was tough and you have seven children to feed, but circumstances change. Today she goes to the market riding her sleek brand new van she and my grandfather paid for in cash and she would still barter vegetables. Is saving a few cents worth more than helping the less fortunate earn a living? My grandfather on the other hand is the complete opposite. He would at times buy sacks of mangoes, boxes of batteries and loaves of bread enough to feed the army. Unfortunately, he is no better for all these he would stock in their storage room, the mini mart, as one maid once commented and would only share when all the batteries have leaked, the mangoes have rotten and the bread covered with mold. There is a huge difference with pinching pennies and plainly being selfish.

I have crossed the border one too many times. Just like the other night when my mother got a little bit tipsy from the luscious flowery wine and could not wait for the bus ride home. At her urging I hailed a cab driven by a man who would later on scam two disoriented women. The ride cost $6 plus tip. My mom gave him $20 and the driver said he did not have loose change and asked for $2. I gave the two dollars he asked for, but he only gave my mother $10 instead of $15 and so he got $6 worth of tip. It took no time for my wicked mind to wish him harm. Mother watched as my face turned sour and offered to pay me the $2 I lost. I accepted. All these for two dollars. I have no shame.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

i didn't have my passport with me

Last night was like any other Saturday night, I went out for drinks with Steve. So, we went to Mary Ann's got us a table he ordered his Corona and I ordered my frozen margarita. However, this time the waiter asked for my ID. As you have guessed it I didn't have a valid ID to show that I'm over 21. It took us a while to convince him that I'm 23 and when we succeeded the waiter was already in a foul mood. He says we had to order at least an appetizer to keep our table. We used to drink there before and never had the problem. I blame it on the full moon.

I already had my fair share of hassles to prove my age. If other people try their best to make themselves look younger I have the opposite problem. From all those incidents I have learned not to wear my Scooby-doo shirt. Once I wore my yellow scooby shirt at a scuba shop and the guy thought I was 12. Then I wore the green one at a picnic and Steve's friend Scott thought I was 16. Maybe the pink one would make me look 20.

Maybe it's not how I look? Maybe it's how I sound? I don't particularly like discussing the way I talk. It is not as if I purposely try to speak with a childlike tone. You may be wondering how exactly I sound? Here's a hint. When I was in high school we had an answering machine. My dad made a mistake of getting me to record the greeting. So, the first week we had the machine all our messages sounded like this "Did you hear that cute little girl?". At that time, I wasn't cute nor was I little. I was already thirteen.

Funny thing is I used to be a receptionist in my sister's office. They must have been in desperate need of help to hire someone who talks like I do to answer their phone. Now that I think more about this, I would rather have this childlike tone than sound like a pigeon. That firm where I used to be a receptionist hired an Indian who would talk like this "kurkurkurkur". Even the owners who also were Indian could not understand him. Then on my second job my 40 year old male officemate would sometimes baby talk. Between the three, I'd say I'll keep the childlike tone.

i call my neighbor tita hali

Hali for halitosis. I just realized that our floor could win the smelliest floor award thanks to Tita Hali and me. Where in the world is Tita Hali anyway? It has been weeks since I last saw her. Could she have gone to breath boot camp? If so, then I cannot wait to see her. Truth is, I could spend hours talking to her if only I could last a conversation without fainting. When we just moved in, she used to drop by our house to see the latest enhancements. She would ask where we bought the decor and furniture. I think my mother at some point got annoyed with all her inquiries that when she asked where we bought the mantle clock mom told her my grandfather made it with his own hands. Another time she came knocking at our door was when she thought she was going to go blind. She came in screaming "Why? Why does this have to happen to me?" As it turned out, she just got dust on her eye. Until now, I do not know how my mother managed to remove the spec given that you have to be inches away from the face of the screaming breath challenged patient. Then there was the time when a pickpocket stole her wallet in the subway. She made a trip to our house to tell us the police brought her home. According to Tita Hali, she was disoriented because her daughter had a sleepover the other night and none of the kids went to sleep. Unfortunately, her daughter had guitar lessons the following day. Because she did not want her daughter to miss a lesson, dazed and groggy she dragged the daughter to class. On their way back home, she couldn't find her wallet. She went hysterical thinking they couldn't get home. What she did not realize was she had a separate case for her Metrocard.

Is calling her Tita Hali as bad as recounting her misfortunes and calling her by her real name Sherman? I wonder what kind of parents would name a baby girl Sherman? I used to call her Tita Sherman "walang gayahan" Moreno then Christmas came and she made the mistake of being the only neighbor without a holly on her door. Then my sister said maybe she doesn't need one, since she already has lots of halitosis. "Deck the halls with boughs of Hali, HAHAHAHAHA-HAHA-HAHA!"

the obese should be sent to africa

Utot: Father you know the drill, this is my sin...

In relation to my recent confession, I also thought that Africa might be the best continent for the obese. I got the idea from a remark I heard from my mother. She said the other day she saw a lady so enormous that she really believes that the woman weighed more than a hundred children in Africa. Don't get me wrong. I do not hate extremely fat people I actually find the urge to hug and squeeze them like a teddy bear. Weird yet true. Well, ok I have to admit I do get annoyed when I see them on a subway train. Why? Because they take up three seats. Then there is this fear of them falling down the stairs and landing on me. I truly won't survive such a fall. They would, but I won't. Plus the excess food they eat could feed Africa.

Truth is there is food for everybody. It's just not distributed properly. Thus the existence of the obese and the malnourished. Would you believe that more than 57% of American adults are obese? This explains why here in the United States people are obsessed with losing weight. You have a plethora of diet pills and diet plans, but for me the best solution is to ship all those people with a BMI of 40 or higher to Africa where there is hardly any food. That could be the most effective and fastest way to lose weight. Don't you agree? This might even solve Africa's long standing problem of poverty. Imagine how much revenue it could get by turning this whole continent into a fat farm. People here spend at least $25 for a bottle of diet pills and almost $200 for a weightloss program. How hard is it to put up a fat farm? You do not even have to worry about food, since the goal is not to feed the obese. I wonder why the UN hasn't thought of this? If it is so hard to ask countries to share food why not make money for not having anything to eat?

Father, does making myself believe that this is not exactly a sin make me more evil? Does my wavering conscience make me think that way?

Priest: Your intentions might be good, but your means is a little bit extreme. Remember the end does not justify the means. For your penance, watch an hour's worth of TV and suffer from watching ads for Hydroxycut, Nutrisystem and Medifast.

i rode the bus to church

Utot: Bless me father for I have sinned. My last confession was two weeks ago and this is my sin. I rode the bus to Church.
Priest: My child. That is not a sin.
Utot: Oh Contraire! My fatherness! It is so. Because I rode the bus I was thirty minutes late for Saturday's anticipated Mass, criticized a disabled person who happens to be extremely overweight and made me a hypocrite.

You see yesterday I missed the usual M102 bus I ride to church and the next one took at least 30 minutes to get to my bus stop. This made me a little agitated that is why when it picked up a disabled lady who is test driving her new power wheelchair all I saw was a woman so fat she cannot even carry her own weight. Then it went on to pick up a 60 year old lady who got out the next block. Is walking 1 block extremely hard to do for a sixty year old? I have a feeling that she would probably get one of those hoverounds in a month or so and she'll go out singing "I really didn't want to do it, I really didn't want to do it.", but she'll do it anyway.

Moreover, reading the sign "Won't you give your seat to an elderly or disabled person" made me think that these people are too much of an inconvenience. To save time I thought it would be better if a bus just had a ledge on its side so people with wheelchairs do not have to get inside the bus. All they have to do is hop on the ledge and hold to a railing. It's a fast and quick solution that will make everybody happy. The only problem is when it rains, snows or it is too cold. On the other hand, the paralytic will not even feel anything. So, the cold won't be much of a problem for them. Yey!

There you go. By riding the bus I had lost my regard for the disabled and forgot the whole reason why I was on a bus.

Priest: My child. Yes you are right. Riding the bus to church is a sin. For your penance, when you go to church just walk to Lexington Avenue and take the 6 train.