Monday, April 26, 2004


What a horrible, miserable fucking day I had.

Was woken up to get the car's aircon and other problems fixed. Finally! Dad gives me some money and instructions/directions. I go with my brother to the shop, which is in Sucat. It is fucking hot and traffic is bad. Practically across the street from the shop, we get a flat. Which wouldn't be so bad in itself, except that I had just changed another flat tire from the same car 2 days ago. So the spare was still flat. Luckily, we're near the shop, so both tires get vulcanized. Still, it's an unexpected, unwelcome delay, and an added expense. One of the tires ended up costing P250 because the tear was huge.

The car is looked at, and my dad arrives from some meeting. He leaves with my brother and a mechanic to buy parts. I'm left to watch over the car (and the spare was still being vulcanized). It is still blisteringly hot; thank God I brought the comics I borrowed from Chris. They try to fix the horn but there's a part missing. They tell me one of the bulbs in the right headlight is busted but they don't have those kinds of parts.

I get a call to pick up my brother and the mechanic at my mom's office in Makati, because my dad has another meeting to go to, and the place they went to in Pasay didn't have the compressor we needed. Here my headache begins. So I drive from Sucat to the heart of Makati. It is hot, and traffic is bad. Sitting in traffic while basting in the heat: I like to think these things make me a stronger person. It is looking less and less likely that I can go to the bank like I wanted to. I pick up my brother and the mechanic, and receive new instructions, more money: the only place they know with the compressor we need is in Cubao. Terrific. I drive to Cubao. It is hot, and traffic is VERY bad. We get the compressor, but because of traffic and the delays (the flat, the missing parts) it's already late. The aircon will be worked on tomorrow. So after all this shit, what got fixed? The tires. We have to bring the car back to the shop tomorrow morning.

I get a call from my dad: drop off the mechanic and give him money to get back to Sucat, go back to mom's office, we'll have dinner and visit my tita who's in the hospital. We're not dressed, I say, we thought we'd be at the shop and back home by 3, which is why we were wearing shorts and slippers. No problem, he says.

On Edsa, going back to Makati from Cubao, the engine DIES. Which shouldn't happen, because the car's an automatic. I get it started again, but then it dies again a little while later. We pull over, and examine the engine. It overheated. The first time that this car, which has been with us for years, has ever overheated. Because the water completely ran out. A hose under the engine came loose and the radiator leaked fluid. Luckily, we have bottles of mineral water in the car. But it revealed yet another problem: the temperature gauge is fucked up, because I would've seen the overheat coming. Another delay. Get to mom's office, have a pizza. Mom gets a text: bring a priest. Thankfully, from this point I am no longer driving and we are using the Lynx.

We pick up the priest in his parish in Pasay before going to the hospital (UDMC). The hospital is horrible; the bathrooms are filthy and roaches are on the floor and walls of the halls. The priest says some prayers. I don't think they're last rites, but it's not looking good. My tita has had cancer for some months now, and she's been pretty weak recently. It was her fifth night, I think, at the hospital. She was having difficulty breathing, was gasping, maybe pneumonia or water in the lungs. Occasionally her arm would go up, violently and suddenly. She could hear us but couldn't really communicate, and her husband had to hold her legs down. It's a terrible scene, and I start tearing up. I'm not particularly close to my tita, but everything gets to me: how pale she looks, and how frail and just so-- small. I try to stop; I don't like crying in front of my family. I distract myself with details: there's an empty bedpan under the foot of the bed. Purses on the floor. Coffee and sandwiches on the table. Traffic sounds outside. The hum of the airconditioner. But try as I might, my mind goes back to the heavier things: my tito holding down her legs, watching her breathe. How's he feel? Is he prepared? I got scared when they asked us to bring a priest; it didn't look good, she might not last the night. Above her, sitting on the bed, is her daughter, my cousin. They're not on good terms, haven't been for years. They live in the same compound but not in the same house; my cousin "moved out" a while ago, and talks mostly to her dad. When she talks to her mom they usually end up quarrelling. This is what I hear, anyway. Sitting above her mother, she's fanning her head, a hand on her arm. I can see the dried tracks of tears on her cheeks.

My tita is my dad's last living sister. His elder sister, Anita, died long ago, before my parents even met. She died of cancer too. My dad's older brother also has cancer now. It became better but has come back. My dad's dad, also cancer. Died when my dad was 16. Also never met my mom. A little over a year ago, my lola, his mom, passed away. Not cancer, but as is common, I discover, pneumonia gets you in the end. The body just becomes so weak, that the breathing becomes almost impossible.

I hope this doesn't sound too cruel, but this was something I thought about: if you come from a big family, unfortunately you get to a certain age where you have to attend a lot more funerals.

When we left the hospital, my tita was asleep. My cousin said some color had come back to her cheeks.


This must've been karma for Sunday, which was pretty good. I was able to sleep late, dropped by the Costellos, then went to Quark's shoot for the next Chicosci video. He told me to bring office clothes but neglected to mention that we would be swing dancing. Possibly because it would've scared some people away. Mikey choreographed it, and it was fun. Doing around 7 takes of a 30-second shot was devastating, though. My feet still ache a little. Saw some people I hadn't seen in a while: Mikey, Alia, and Trinka. After, we grabbed some dinner and watched a great Ciudad gig at SGS, then finally got to try Una Sikat's Sizzling Bulalo before heading home.


Still haven't seen Hellboy. Hopefully today, as a reward. Everyone watch Spartan. Might be its last day today.

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