Some things I consider important in my life, says my friend, are not that important at all. They are sludge or a much better term I guess would be morass baggage (I so love that new-found word, MORASS, as if it denotes something anatomical other than MESS or MIRE). Like my current angst towards catching the A(H1N1) flu virus or (I think this has more weight) getting a lung cancer from all the smoke I’ve inhaled consciously and unconsciously. Or my tendency to worry too much about the 2012 doomsday prediction. See, I carry a lot of this stuff and deem them as being abstemiously important in my life. But really, in this age, who knows what is of value and not?
I’ve been absent for 2 days now. This was never on my life-plan really (being absent for 2 consecutive days is usually planned and noted down on my calendar 3 weeks before) but my cohort-friends took me to a beastly inuman-session last Tuesday night, I had to take Wednesday off because of an un-godly hangover which was trying to reclaim my body from heaven’s light and pull me to an infinity of migraines. BUT that was not my excuse actually. It was more of paranoia: I thought I had the Swine FLU!! I deduced silently in my head that 1.) Friend R just came from Manila that Tuesday (where almost half the cases of the virus in Pinas has been reported) 2.) He was a bit feverish 3.) He has flu, I think 4.) I had contact with him i.e. shot glass, doorknobs, etc. 5.) Small, invisible particles of the virus indifferently landed on my nose 6.) I breathed-in the small, invisible particles 7.) I am now the sweet and hospitable host of the virus 8.) Everyone is plotting to kill me now.
I was really feverish Wednesday morning (plus a throbbing headache) and I thought I’d better sleep on this one, so I texted my bossing telling him I had a fever. His reply was short and oh so powerful, as if by merely reading it, anyone would be miraculously cured of his or her malady: Magpahingalo ka na muna. Dai ka tabi magdarang virus digdi sa office.
So, I took Wednesday AND Thursday off. Isn’t that sweet? And there’s also a good news. I DON’T HAVE THE FLU!!! YAY!! So please terminate your evil plots and call off the assassin you hired from Brgy. Putingbato, the ruffian with the faded heart-tattoo on his right arm that was following me yesterday.
That wasn’t you??? Hmm, maybe another stalker. (I sometimes get tired of this FAME thing).
It was raining so hard yesterday, I thought the guy up there forgot to mention that I needed to build an ark and bring with me both male and female species of the kingdom Animalia. Thinking about it, what would be my reaction if God suddenly gives me the abovementioned directions?
I’m sitting on my favorite chair, the one that my dog Gayon (+ R.I.P.) gnawed off. I’m reading John Irving’s ‘A Prayer for Owen Meany’ and I was on the part where they were talking about the perfect breasts: Nice, rounded and well-cleaved or conical and slightly tipped?
There is a stirring in the air. I felt my back shiver as if the whole air is electric and any moment from now I would smell the scent of burning flesh and hair. It felt like time stopped and even the steady constancy of breathing has ceased and there is just THIS.
I looked around, figuring out what’s wrong. Maybe, this is a dream or I’ve had too much cigarette, I think to myself.
My head felt light, the same feeling when you’re underwater playing “Pahaluyan Hinangos” half-wishing you’re not being dissed by your friends and you’re the only one left underwater, the only clue you’re being played at is a fart-bubble that came from your yowling friend.
And then a knock on my door.
Gingerly, I opened an inch. The same electric air wafted through and there was an eerie silence in our neighborhood, even the dogs were silent.
I will not chicken out, I thought to my self. I opened the door and stick my head out.
A mangy old woman smiled at me and said “Hello, I am God.”
“Yeah. I am God. I always get that look from people’s faces.”
“Really, I’m God”
I was thinking so hard my mind was about to explode from strain. If I tell her to shoo off and she’s really God, I’ll be damned for eternity and all the angels would be pissing their brains out laughing at me down in hell. If I kneel down and shout “Praise You!! I love you! Heal me, I’m a sinner!!!” and she’s really not God, just a schizophrenic bum who happens to have an episode, I’d still be blaspheming and I’d still go to hell. Major dilemma.
“So?” she finally said.
“If you’re God, what color is the brief I’m wearing?”
“You tell me, I don’t snoop around looking at people’s underwear. And besides I have much important things to do than use X-ray vision on you. Here,” she hands me a piece of soiled-out paper with squiggles on them.
“I know you can read, so read it ok? I have important directions there. Don’t mess a thing or you’re dead. I don’t have enough time so don’t screw anything. This is not the only planet you know. So Babush!”
To my disappointment, she didn’t vanish into thin air. She staggered in the heat heading to wherever.
I looked at the piece of paper and saw drawings of a boat. A very very big boat with numbers on them and a note saying: bring with you 2 of each kind of animal, male and female. It will rain for like 40 days and 40 nights (or more) don’t bring your umbrella, it’s useless. You’re the only hope of this planet! I’m not stressing you out, mind you, but you only have 30 days to build this very very big boat!!! BTW, your brief is blue and you might want to buy another pair because it’s starting to be a little bacon-y on the edges. LOL.
“Oh crap.” And I returned to John Irving and his breasts which were much easier to understand.
END OF SCENARIO
BUT WHAT IF? Well, I don’t have the right answers. Nobody has the right answer. But I guess it would be easier if she was accompanied by flashes of lightning and a booming voice that would frighten the hell out of me. FEAR compels one to believe. Either a physical fear or a metaphysical fear, I would immediately get papa’s nails and hammer and start building that damn ark and look for every animal endemic, endangered and what-have-you. But I guess God lost or discarded that glam and opted for the lowliest level.
I won’t stoop down to your level.
I guess, God would say. Instead I will be lower than you people: the flu virus, a beggar, the pouring rain. Things that make you stop. See, the flu virus started with the pigs and never caused this much panic, until the first cough was heard and we stopped, straining to hear that cough again. And there it was, hacking, out of breath. And suddenly the lowly, is not that lowly anymore.
Some unimportant things are not that un-important at all.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, what if God was one of us? Just a stranger on the bus…. La la la la…”
Oh crap. I need a cigarette.