A Dog's Life

I've been reading this book by Peter Mayle called a Dog's life, and I conclude that the dog - a french one - has a more luxurious life than mine. But I'm happy with what I have and what I can do. Except for bouts of "where am I going?" questions during the early hours of the morning, I think I'm making a fairly decent life or at least trying to.

One night, I had this long and serious debate with myself about being immobilized by my fears. I'm sure I'm destined for greatness - maybe not one that would make the whole world stop and look (although that would be nice too) but one where it will make a dent on something or someone and change people's lives in the process. My fear of failing has seized me and I no longer can get out of the comfort zone. Have I failed miserably that I can no longer get my foot forward? Have I have resorted to sniffing for scraps under the table and pleasing the management? And have I turned myself into my third worst nightmare?

It's a dog's life. And I bark without a bite. I think I'd rather be a pig ... lol.


Used To Be

Been listening to this song over and over again. After remembering 9/11, mourning after the Russian children who died in the school attack, contemplating on the fiscal crisis and receiving three wedding invitations from friends younger than me (totally irrelevant, I know, but this depressed me too!), I sing along with Charlene and Stevie Wonder.

Used To Be

Superman was killed in Dallas
There’s no love left in the palace
Someone took the Beatle’s lead guitar

Have another Chivas Regal
You’re twelve years old and sex is legal
You’re parents don’t know where or who you are

Used to be the hero of the ballgame
Took a time to shake the loser’s hand
Used to be that failure only meant you didn’t try
In a world where people gave a damn

Great big wars in little places
Look at all those frightened faces
But don’t come here, We just don’t have the room

Love thy neighbor’s wife and daughter
Cleanse your life with holy water
We don’t need to pay, We’ve got a few

Used to be a knight in shining armor
Didn’t have to own a shiny car
Dignity and courage were the measure of a man
Not the drugs he needs to hide the scars

Can your teacher read?
Does your preacher pray?
Does your president have soul?
Have you heard a real good ethnic joke today?

Mama took her speed
Daddy ran away
But you mustn’t lose control

Let’s cut a class, I’ve got some grass
The kids are wild, We just can’t tame ‘em
Do we have the right to blame ‘em?

Fed them all our indecisions
We break their minds with television
But what the hell, they’re too young to feel pain

But I believe that love can save tomorrow
I believe that truth can make us free
Someone tried to say it
and we nailed him to a cross

I guess it’s still the way it used to be


We finally meet

I slowly made my way to the hotel, fidgeting my purse, checking my blouse for the nth time. It took me two hours just to decide what to wear. It’s one of those fancy hotels, one that I never can afford of staying in unless I win some kind of lottery.

Reaching the lobby, I saw the sign just outside a hall: THE FORD VINTAGE CAR SHOW. I took hesitant steps and entered a room full of very old cars, classy and expensively restored. I felt very provincial in my surroundings but I kept my head up. "My clothes may look old, but at least my heart has class, and my hair, expensively restored," I silently assured myself.

It was easy to spot him. He was the only white haired gentleman there at that hour. He was examining a red 1947 convertible. I took a deep breath and made my way to him. He spotted me soon enough, gave me a questioning glance and rewarded me with one huge smile. I melted and I floated towards him. Covering the remaining distance between us with a few short strides, he opened his arms and gave me a friendly hug, “Hi honey.” “Hi!”, I muttered and gave him a shy smile, not knowing what to do next.

“At last! We finally meet!"
“No. I’m too nervous to eat.”
“Why!? ”

I shrugged and we laughed it off. He led me out to the lobby where the hotel clerk handed him a black bag. I caught sight of something long and gleaming inside which reminded me of my dad's stilletto hanging in his bedroom wall. I recalled our earlier conversations about serial killers and rapist getting their victims on the net. He led me out of the hotel into a waiting car, making small talk as we moved along. I had no idea where we were going. He just promised to show me London, but I don’t know which place we were to visit first.

Technically, we were still strangers. We have been chatting on the net for years now but this is the first time we actually meet. He looked close enough to the pictures he sent yet still, the questions were: Was everything he said in the net all true? About the family, about his work, about everything he is? Serial killers were good liars, weren’t they? I tried to relax and in my mind I assured myself that I’m ready to die anyway. He was sooo good-looking!

He drove towards the country. If he was going to kill me, I’m sure he will not do it in broad daylight, right? We suddenly turned to a small dirt road and drove into a small airport. I gasped. He was going to show me London in THAT?! My heart skipped. He guided the car towards a small charter plane.

“I didn’t know you can fly.”

“Oh, honey,” he said, “There are still a lot of things you don’t know about me.”

Before I could ponder what that meant, he was tucking me in the plane seat and I was getting all excited about it. We took off without hassle ... and we flew. We soared over the country while he carefully pointed out to me the most breath-taking sites. I was enjoying myself, gawking at the fabulous view outside and beside me. After about half an hour of flying, the plane started making coughing sounds, much like a train loosing it’s caboose. Then the engines just stopped. As if someone pulled the plug. I looked at him, worried, while he was calmly pulling levers and turning knobs everywhere. “Honey,” he sighed finally, “We have got to jump.” I glowered at him crazily, panicking at the thought of my impending death. So this is how he kills me?! Don't I get a kiss first? I did tell him I wanted to die with a gun, right? Mommy!!!!

He suddenly jumped out of the cockpit and into the back of the plane which was surprisingly spacious and motioned me to follow him. Before I knew it, he was strapping a parachute behind my back and giving me instructions on what to do and which cord to pull. I looked at him bewildered, eyes exploding. “YOU DON’T EXPECT ME TO DO THIS ON MY OWN, DO YOU?” I snapped at him as the plane glided through clouds. He just grinned at me, patted the pack on my back and pulled a lever to open a door. And then, without much as a good-bye, he pushed me. Out. And I screamed … like Tarzan … only I can’t hear my voice! And I fell … and fell ... and fell ... until I hit the floor ... my head banging on a book that slid off the bed just before I fell asleep. The room was getting it’s first daylight. And I’m back at the hotel.

Oh no! Now I have to decide what to wear again.

The writing exercise was to use a 1974 convertible, a stiletto and a parachute in a dream sequence. I’m sure if given time, I could make a more exciting version. But for now, this is what I have. I had fun creating it. If you can create your own version, please let me know.


My Room

  • wispy cobwebs floating around the ridges of my window

  • a lone forgotten nail stuck in the cement of the corner wall

  • pencil scribbles of my youth painting the walls with ugly gray

  • strips of orange in a black bedpost crying for new paint

  • an unused badminton racket gaining weight as it hangs on the back of the door

  • an old skylight filtered with cobwebs and dust

  • books slanting to the right, vying for attention and worn-out from boredom

  • a formidable cardboard box locked with angry memories

  • a gray and white linolieum floor, faded, unpolished, cringing at the cheerfulness of the ceiling light

  • a stack of folders filled with unrealized possibilities

  • a silent keyboard, empty of music, standing at its side against the wall

  • faded photographs of faded faces and smiles that have waned in time

  • an antique chest, scratched, beaten, and set aside for being too old

  • a glass vase blooming with pens instead of flowers

  • a half-empty cup of coffee, cold from neglect

Here I sit as the day darkens ... desolate ... alone ... forgotten.


My office building

On a regular working day, you'd see them trickling in the sunken lobby, trailing towards the time clock like zombies on line. Others would loiter around, losing their way in hunger, looking for victims to buy them a free breakfast because their pockets are empty. There are those who would work the crowd, selling their wares, gathering whatever extra income they can for their salaries are not enough to pay the rent. Still others, dig their way in, for information, for praise, for left-over power, for belongingness, only to find themselves stuck in their own hallowed graves. There are those who trudge in late, harassed and overloaded with luggage that hide their hands and sink their eyes. There are the strong ones, who strut in with a determined flair, focusing on the day's work, only to avoid the worries of home. Then there are the untouchables, who stroll in like royalty and followed by whimpering servants, with their heads held high and a self-hate equal to the floors of this building. And then there's me, observing, but not caring; speaking out, but not participating; here present, but mind elsewhere.

If God led me here, what then is my purpose? And what have I done to make a difference?