It was Joma’s birthday, but I didn’t even greet him and I don’t think it matters. I don’t exactly exude warmth when I well-wish anyone, much less when I make the occasional and frankly, obligatory birthday greeting, an event that happens yearly, so me not greeting you on your birthday does not nor will it ever guarantee a heartbreak.
As customary, this birthday was held at the nearest Central – a bar very dear to the hearts of the sort of drinkers who never think it okay to ever whip out a gadget for group pictures that will inevitably find their way to Facebook. It’s a fine place to get shitfaced. As I made my way there, I was filled with despair at my seeming inability to ever triumph over Friday madnesses. If you think making it anywhere on a Friday night is a bitch, wait ’til you have a plan on Friday night paydays. I really kill myself these days trying to insinuate my presence in the least objectionable way possible.
I’d like to think that meeting such social obligation is of relative significance if I were to seriously care about staying on certain friends’ radar, because my presence just happens to be the least material aspect of any gathering I try to consider myself a part of, and because also, it’s nice to drink with friends who don’t care about how many carbs there are in a beer-nacho combo.
I’m lucky to have penetrated Jom’s gays because I don’t normally stay in groups for any sort of significant time because communicating is a skill I tend to lose interest in doing when four or five others are more than willing to oblige, and I’m nothing if not completely generous in allowing others to indulge. I consider myself lucky meeting conversation quotas. If I’m able to crack a joke or cause a slight commotion with a very inappropriate remark, I consider myself done.
But this night was slightly different. Whereas before I’d be pushed to say something, this time, there was no such admonition. What I got was repeated requests to speak louder. I was constantly badgered to raise my voice because they just can not hear me. This is totally understandable because it’s not the first time anyone’s ever ordered, begged me to speak louder. I’m so filled with graciousness and finesse these days that I don’t even take it against the bastard who made fun of me every time I say something (‘Nagsalita sya!’, ‘May sinasabe siya!’) and just made a mental note to talk about his equally inappropriate behavior that night – whipping out his tablet AND showing off an MMDA app in a way that you can tell he’s dying to show it off, next time I meet with them. This is level one of a problem I know ought to be addressed. Level two is getting the self to want to speak and level 3, maybe, is sustain desire to communicate. Maybe I was just too tired.
Always, I attempt to throw myself at any recognizable conversation that I need to throw myself at but I fail so grandly and so often I wonder why I even try. I attempt to get a word in, but my tone is either super low or I’m just incapable of saying anything that has the capacity to register, and often none ever does. I have to think and think and think, did I say something okay (the subject), did I say it okay (the manner), do I say more (the quantity), shall I laugh, shall I feign laugh, the wondering never ceases. Thinking when you’re supposed to be dining and just sitting and talking with a group of people who would never pose considerable harm should you fail to contribute anything to the conversation should not be a cause for alarm, but it’s sometimes a bit excruciating to go through. My psychological well-being rots just a little bit every time. It can be unbearable.
When nothing else ever seem to work, I think of Jesus, praise his holy name for the beers at the table that are easily purchasable in places where these things tend to end up in.