Lizada: Curses

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By Rene Lizada

Papa's table

Sunday, May 18, 2014


SO YOU wake up in a sweat. The first thing you notice is the noise because there is none. There is only silence. No whir of the fan. No whisper of the aircon. No radio. No sound. Silence. You stare out the window and the sun has risen. The clouds are white and the sky is blue. And it is hot, very hot and you realize it was the heat that woke you up. And slowly you realize, hala brownout na naman. Curses.

Slowly, you struggle out of bed and head for the bathroom. You turn on the faucet and instead of a gush of water you only feel drops of it. Of course, you cannot see the water because it is too dark to see anything in the toilet even if the sun is shining outside. Curses again.

No electricity and now meager drops of water and the panic hits you, screams at you: Wala ka naka igib ng tubiiiiig kagabi. You have to work and in order to do that you must have a bath otherwise your boss will give you a memo for unprofessional smell. But how can you do that when the water is... is... is... You want to scream but it is useless. You scream anyway. Suddenly the water comes back and you hurriedly get you balde and start to fill it up praying and hoping and hoping and praying the water will not stop.

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After you had breakfast in which you could not have hot coffee for obvious reasons you run back to the toilet to do your thing. You take a candle with you or a flashlight. You need light because your bathroom now has become a cave. And you have become a caveman. You sit in the dark, waiting and sweating like a pig.

After you are done, you wash your hands and start brushing your teeth. Normally, you take a bath first but because of the heat, you brush first so that after the bath you can get out of the sauna of a bathroom. While you are brushing you adjust the flashlight so that the light reflects in the mirror and thus your cave has more light.

(You have become a veteran already with this because of the many blackouts the past days).

After you have done brushing it is now time for the bath. Gingerly, you enter and start groping for the tabo. For a few moments, you cannot find it because it is floating around the balde. You curse because you are perspiring. Mercifully, you find the tabo. You take a swig and the water hits you. You were expecting cold water but it is lukewarm, warm even because of the heat. You look around for your soap and you scrub yourself. You wanted to shampoo sana but who can do that in the darkness?

You want to splash more water but your balde is almost empty, in fact you have to bend your knees to scoop out the remaining water. Once you are done, you step out and look for your towel. You find it but it falls on the floor. Curses! You grope and finally touch it. You rub yourself, I mean your body ha, and you find yourself sweating already. Great. You have not even stepped out of your cave and you are already sweating.

You get the flash and open your drawers and bring out your underwear and clothes. You look around for more things to be brought in the light and out of the cave. Your sweating becomes more felt. You have your towel, clothes, underwear, comb or brush, socks (if you are male). If you are female it could get worse. So how do you bring out all your stuff and the flashlight? Two trips. Curses! You tell yourself to stop cursing because cursing causes even more sweating.

You sit on the chair or bed or whatever. The heat is so bad and you want to just be naked but you simply cannot go to work naked because they might arrest you for illegal fantasy.

So, while you dress you sweat and you sweat. And you are not even out of the house. Finally, you are ready, somehow you managed to dress up in the dark. You take a look at the mirror for a final check. You would not want to go out with an inverted blouse or shirt or mismatched shoes, would you? If you have a car, you turn on the engine and the aircon and you smile. The aircon is cool and you have been reduced to a simpleton because now you are happy with the car aircon. You look at the sky.

It is deception as its best. The sky is blue and the clouds are white and it seems like a perfect day inside your car. But once you step out, it is an entirely different thing. The heat, the merciless heat will get you. You open your radio and you hear only static. Your favorite station has joined you in the blackout. Curses.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 19, 2014.

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