Thursday, October 20, 2011

Differences, and ugh that yellow smoothie

I think I've always been class conscious. It's one of the reasons why I particularly am not nostalgic over my college life and kept to a small company of people over those years. And especially after that ruse moments before my graduation with respect to my being a scholarship recipient (which was practically a rude reminder I take it of my middle class standing), my affection towards that certain college-basketball-crazed institution practically went nil.

You see I have, what I'll call it generally, "car issues." It's that discomfort and insecurity for example when I first found out my boyfriend drives his own car or otherwise practically has a driver. It's that feeling of alienation during my undergrad days that made me avoid solo trips to a nearby Mcdo (mcdonald's for pete's sake!) with its throngs of fellow students calling their yayas and drivers for sundo. And don't even let me get started on Starbucks.

Early college years before I rented closer to school, I hated Mondays and early classes. Those usually spell braving the rush hour and the mad traffic along SLEX. So I learned to stand farther from the train doors, away from the daily mob action and potential pickpockets. To cool myself under where the aircon vents are. To pick the best seats on a bus. To demand the right change because I know exactly how much my fare costs and when there are hikes. Which is why I have mixed feelings of resentment and envy for those who come late to class because of "difficulties" with campus parking lots.

Why me? Why them? Those kinds of questions. Why can't my father who has an office job even buy a family car? Who gets to decide that this shitty gymrat RayBan-in-hand (but hot) freshman and his new company of cool guys deserve their own rides while I have to lug my backpack (and sometimes a hand carry even) across the whole of the metro twice a day? In what way could I say that I'm perfectly okay with that? The questions began to touch on moot issues of who deserves what, meaning, less of a sense of fairness but rather of entitlement, which frankly aren't the right issues, though they may be closest to heart.

So you learn to accept facts of life, and learn to ask other questions. (Or at least get a move on.) Perhaps those less naive, those more positive. You know, those with "importance". Like what career to take? Should you follow your dreams? Or which stable job leads fastest to a car? Hehe.

Over the ease gained after downing few beers, I once told my boyfriend I've realized how different our paths appear to me. If I do adhere to conventional standards of success for "my class," I will work to earn enough for a car and a place of my own. And even then stability is no guarantee. But once you accomplished that, then no one gets to say you haven't succeeded. That's something a man can take pride of, and in no way do I look down on those material aspirations.

What I realized is that it translates already to years, to different priorities that will motivate our separate endeavors as two individuals. So there's a wee bit again of discomfort there. Again. At differences. My weak point really, I admit. (In a way, aren't some differences harder to take from partners, than even from closest friends?)

Actually what got me to revisit and muse on this topic is some trivial incident. Boyfriend treated me to a drink on his usual hangout/study place Starbucks where I only order half the time. That particular time I was resolved not to. Because I can't afford the luxury. Because to be practical, a coffee worth 2-3 decent meals is a luxury for me. Because of so many circumstances that leave me sometimes bitter like my resentment for my less-than-capable father; and since I want a vacation with my boyfriend, because I needed to accept tutoring the exact kind of students I am most insecure to so I could manage myself by myself over the break between semesters. Boy, was I unable to keep my calm and I almost gave in to an unfamiliar anger. (Because a part of me was embarrassed?) Good thing I didn't. It was a well-meaning gesture after all. But I just had to pause and reflect afterwards why I had that so intense a reaction. Turns out it's an insecurity I still have to keep working on.

You know I have that opposite equivalent of a poker face, and it was so easy for him to see how ruffled I was. Yes, I got angry. But I knew better than to talk at the heat of the moment, what with my legendary incompatibility with coherent speech.  So what I did was to take down a big gulp of whatever that yellow smoothie was (And for the record, I  didn't like that flavor, haha, not complaining though, free is free), together with a good measure of ego and pride. In no time, I could smile again.

Holler to V, it's our <3rd month. Hey you fine mister you.  


  1. Life would be boring if we're all the same, yes? Plus we got more things to mull over our idlest moments (I mean the rich and the beautiful don't really think what their life would be had they been poor and ugly as much no?).

    Congrats by the way, how I envy thee. :P

  2. Hindi ako maka-relate.

    (pause for effect)

    CHARING! :-)

    I used to envy my richer classmates. But the very few times that they treated me, I accepted their offer with much relish. I guess wala akong pride, BWHAHAHAHA!

    Seriously, it's good you have self-awareness, humility and courage to face your inner turmoil. In time you'll be able to make sense of things in the way that is acceptable to you. Meanwhile, a gift is a gift, freely given. Just be thankful. The issues are yours, not his. =)

  3. this post deserves an entire post as comment.

  4. @Grey, boring indeed. Thanks! Sabi nga nila You'll never know when your luck will change :-) Malay mo di ba?

    @Mcvie, baklang-bakla lang ng pause for effect, kalurks! Ahaha. Nakinabang din ako sa mga ganyan! Pero somehow iba pala pag partner, hehe. Napapa-issue tuloy ako lol. But like you said, they're my issues. Eh jinowa nya ko eh haha (joke lang V) Thanks!

  5. Dear, at the end of the day, it always boils down to character.

  6. Interesting, really. I have a feeling we went to the same school, but anyway. My family had a rough patch in the middle of college, that meant having a few things taken away from me. I felt the same way you do--I took those extra long routes just so no one would see me walking out of school, I would lie to say my sundo was there na but I'd actually take the trike.

    It's the stupid, little "shameful" things that got to me and looking back, it was really all in my head. Nobody really gave two shits about that stuff, class is class--and if you meet people who judge you for it, fuck them. Be yourself and you'll get to where you're meant to go.

    Good luck! Looking forward to reading along haha.

  7. at the end of the day, pag patay na ang ilaw, pare-pareho lang kayong umuungol! anong mas masarap ungol-mahirap o ungol-mayaman? hahaha

    but seriously, sabi nga Mother Teresa, even the rich are hungry for love & care, for being wanted and for having someone to call their own =)

    happy 3rd to you and V!

  8. @Lanchie, yeah, sometimes it just takes time to go to your head (and keep it there.) :-)

    @somuchtrouble, we did. Hehe, wow you were part of the rowing team! astig. Thanks for sharing your own troubles back then, really. High five!

    @MkSurf8,thanks! nabaliw ako sa unang part ng comment haha.

  9. parang lahat naman yata ng tao, mapalalaki, babae, tibashki o bakla eh may ganyang keme sa katawan.

    at tama si MKsurf8, pagpatay na ang ilaw, pare pareho lang namang umuungol yan. unless di mo type ang lights off. LOL.

    happy 3rd sa inyo ni boyfie mo. :)

  10. When I was growing up I was used to an easier life. I would treat people too, not to show off but to share what I had. I was used to having a driver drive me around. I was used to having the small things getting done for me by my dad's secretary.

    Fast forward to my first job. It was in Singapore. I became a second class citizen. People saw me and assumed that since I came from the Philippines I must have come from a poor family. Not middle class. Poor. That I needed special treatment. They would treat me dinner, coffee whatever. I hated it. I had a hard time being gracious about it.

    Then I met my ex. He wanted to treat me to dinners, drive me to work and do stuff for me. Again I had a hard time accepting it. I didn't need special treatment just because I'm a 'poor' Filipino boy. It became several arguments until he hit the nail in the head. I was the one who was class conscious. Not him, not my officemates, not my friends. It was just me.

    No one really cares about class. Not the ones who really care anyway.

  11. buti ka nga nasa upper middle-class hahaha
    hahaha I get you... but that's what life is... where you're at is always where you start... and getting to know exactly where you are opens greater possibility to self development... don't rush ... marami pa tayong time...

  12. Wow, Aleph. This is some really good stuff!

    I read in this Murakami book about the pain of being middle class in a school full of undeserving rich kids. The main character said she hated how she could never say "I don't have money" while most everybody used that as an excuse when they didn't feel like going out.

    I'd like to think self-made people like us know the value of money. And someday, when you have your own car, house, white picket fences, the whole nine, you'll look back at this post and smile a calm smile- the same smile rich folks have when they realize they want of nothing.

  13. Mas baklang-bakla than "pause for effect" yung ganito:

    "Seriously, it's good you have self-awareness, humility and courage to face your inner turmoil. (INNER TURMOIL DAW O???!!!)"

    O divah?! Imagine mo si Mr. Fu lang ang nagsasalita. Megaknown! Hahaha.

  14. @JepoyDee, totoo maari naman syang maging issue nga ng sinuman. Thanks!

    @Tony, I never knew may ganun kang experiences. Dahil sa mga nagshare, I'm seeing a bigger picture now. :-)

    @Dan, di naman ako upper middle class hehe. Maraming pang time, tamuhh.

    @citybuoy, anong book yan ni murakami? mabasa nga hehe.

    @McVie, Mr. Fu or more like MGG ang moda? ahaha

  15. Aleph, this post is wonderful. A wonderful self-reflection.

    Often, people take blessings for granted.

    You are still very lucky.

    Best of wishes to you and V.

  16. uy, guyrony, thanks ah! Best wishes din sa inyo ni you-know-who! :-)

  17. Bakit ba affected na affected ako sa mga ganitong posts?haha. Probably because I also come from the middle class and used to feel these inadequacies.

    But narealize ko lang recently na wala naman nakakahiya kung wala ka ng isang bagay. It's not something people can take against you. What's more important is you are content with yourself and with what you have. :)

  18. This is why when rich kids make a stupid mistake, I swoop down on it like a vulture.