Saturday, October 31, 2009

Today, the storm seems to have passed.

My friend Dek and I were here at Sietch Creare last night, talking about the future of Fandom Live! (the internet show we are both part of) and the possibilities of bringing the show forward to a new level. We tossed ideas back and forth, with our conversations ranging from making the show much more efficient in production to approaching content with much more attitude and aplomb. At one point, I noticed it was already past midnight and remembered it was the soft opening of the second floor VIP area of my favorite hangout place in Malate, the fabulous O bar.

With rain assaulting the windows with a calm yet persistent fury, I quickly headed off to the other room, got dressed, and invited Dek to join me for a short night cap of San Mig light and laughter. After weighing some thoughts on whether or not she felt like going, she decided it wouldn't hurt to have a little bit of lager before leaving the waking lands.

The rain, however, had other plans for us.

The drive out to Malate from Cubao was one bereft of a sense of calm. Buses roared past us leaving street side tsunamis in their wake. Cars would drive slowly with hazard lights aglow. The rain kept pouring as a constant stream that forced me to shift the car wipers up one level - but unlike the previous storms that truly devastated the nation, this one wasn't pounding as strong. "I could still see quite some distance ahead of me," I told Dek, "So I think we can still drink for an hour or two. Buendia would be the true test."

Yes, Buendia. Buendia corner South Super... or should I say, Pres. Sergio Osmeña Sr. Highway.

Some years ago, back when I still lived all the way down south, there was a night I left Parañaque to meet my friends at O bar. The rain was harsher then and I recall taking the highway after seeing how flooded certain segments of Sucat road already had become. Big mistake. Just after paying at the toll gate exit, traffic slowed down to a crawl, and though I left my parents' home at 9:00pm the delays consumed my time so bad that I arrived at O bar just half an hour past midnight. The cause? Knee-deep flooding at the same said corner. It was so bad, other cars were just parking and opting to wait it out.

So, Dek and I cruised down Buendia, worried of the possible wall of water waiting for us at the point where Makati and Pasay meet. To our surprise, the road was clear and the path was open. Beers it would be then!

We arrived, hobnobbed with the other regulars of O bar and got amused at the visual treat of the four almost Andy Warholesque decor that featured four of our friends. One of the co-owners, Mon, teased us that the decor was to feature us friends of his, rotating through the whole roster as the year went by.

Starving, Dek and I ordered some mixed sausage to go with the San Mig lights, and planned to enjoy the rest of the night away.

But the rain did not know when to quit, and when we both realized Nakpil was already approaching dreaded shin level floods, we knew we best had skedaddled out of there. Quickly saying our goodnights, we leapt back into the ABA mobile and tore through the waters like an angry shark. While there were some watery points along the path, one it seems can travel safely from Nakpil to Quirino, then from Quirino, take the Santa Ana route all the way until hitting the Shaw option (with the other being the San Juan option). Then from there, Shaw to Edsa is a barely flooded path. Mentally noting to keep this route in mind for future rainy escapades, I dropped of Dek at a spot to get a cab, then made my way home back to the Sietch.

The rain was pounding furiously now. And even worse was the winds. I swear I thought I could feel the building shake at some point in the night. When the power began to fluctuate, I heard a few people scream in surprise (which makes me wonder what they were doing at 4a.m. during a storm and yet not anticipate a possible brown out. Hmmm.) With the lights gone and merely my laptop to illuminate the lonely room, I dragged myself to bed and wondered how my Egg was doing. My Egg wasn't home, having family bonding matters to tend to. But with my two dragons keeping watch, it wasn't too difficult a task to allow myself to feel safe and drift off to sleep. My Egg promised to be back tomorrow. Back after the storm. So many good things to look forward to.

Now, just ten minutes before 2p.m, the windows are all open and the soundtrack to Julie & Julia is playing in the background. Outside, all I see is a beautiful bright chilly afternoon. I could imagine how somewhere in the city there are some who did not fare too well with last night's storm. I for a moment imagine how in some places children perhaps huddled closer against each other children, fearing the terrifying winds and wishing they had a mother to hold them tight and whisper it too will pass. It is a strange feeling - to know you were more fortunate than others. There is a yearning to be thankful but at the same time a strange sensation of guilt knowing there were many others who could not say the same.

This storm is passed. Others of course may follow.
Ultimately, we live on knowing we can do what we can to help others.

I just wish I could feel happy at being "one of the luckier ones" without sounding like a bastard. Since when did it become normal to feel bad about being happy?


  1. Hi Tobie, Joy here.

    Glad you and Dek are safe. :D

    Unfortunately, I have yet found no answer to your question. :S It's human nature to resent others more fortunate than you are at a given point in time, as it is the same when thinking how fortunate you are compared to others.

  2. Hey Joy!

    It is strange though, isn't it? That inner feeling of guilt of being happy things weren't bad. Sort of like a self-aware sense of schadenfreude.



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