Sunday, August 17, 2003

Wet Wet Wet

Saturday started as a good enough day. Until it got really wet.

Left the house at 10:30 in the morning to attend the first of a seminar series organized by the Ateneo Comics Collective and the UP GrAIL (Graphic Arts In Literature). First in the near-two month line-up of sessions was one for writers, led by gang member Dean, Alamat’s Budjette, and Mango Comics’ Zach. Almost 30 were in attendance, including Jaime Bautista, who teaches a comics appreciation elective at the Ateneo.

Judging from whatever left of the session I caught, a good time was had by all. Dean, Budj and Zach had this ‘showtime’ rapport which the attendees appeared to relish. It was an overall success.

After the seminar, we went to the FBR condominium across the campus for lunch at Encomium, which should have been a convenient choice since it was a floor below Comics Central Headquarters. (I had wanted to check out their new trades and graphic novels from independent publishers.) But attempting to dine at Encomium turned out to be a nightmare. To make this long story short, I wasn’t able to have lunch (unless you call half a bowl of soup, iced tea, and coffee a decent meal) because of horrid service inefficiency. This atrocity was only marginally dispelled by good conversation with the Ateneo guys. Andrew Drilon, a few pounds heavier than when I last saw him (what has UP done to you?), later graced us with his presence, and revealed that he was planning a sequel to his metatextual opus Subwhere.

I left Encomium later that afternoon, hoping to quickly catch a cab to get to the office. Dean has an important presentation on Monday, hence my choice to work on a Saturday to get his materials all set.

Then it began to rain like doomsday.

It’s strange how the number of taxi cabs seem to dwindle when it rains heavily, as if their drivers were psychically attuned to the weather patterns, and pulling a vanishing act at the first sign of an awful downpour. This thought only occurred to me after getting drenched to the bone despite the trusty umbrella, feeling the cold cold wetness crawl up my jeans to just below the waist. I had optioned heading for shade, but seeing that there were other mortals likewise hailing for sporadic cabs, I braved the soak, tilting my umbrella just at the right angle to minimize the water damage.

To think that I had dressed up neat and proper that day, planning my color combination days in advance, as I had a little get-together that night with greenjack, Xochi et al. in Makati. (Dressing up is really near-nuclear science to me). Who’da thunk I’d be victimized by a sudden mood swing of the elements.

When I finally got a cab, and settling myself on the expansive area behind the driver, there was only that olfactory assault of mucky rain-on-denim, the feeling of a damp, wrinkled shirt, and the company of a wet bag. I immediately checked to see if my new purchase was affected (Top Shelf Comics’ bible-thick Blankets by Craig Thompson). It had to be okay, given the fortune I had spent on it, and thankfully it was.

Got to Greenhills at 4:30 pm and rushed to the eighth floor to get work done at the office. I was hoping that I’d dry out somehow in time for Makati. Which was a foolish wish, really, for three hours later, there was still that mucky-sticky feeling, particularly between the soles and socks and the quasi-rot stench of wet denim. Despite my being alone on the eighth floor of the supposedly haunted Atlanta Center, I was too miffed to feel any kind of fear. When Xochi texted, reporting a change of venue because of a downpour in Makati, I resigned to staying. Trendy-schwendy Greenbelt is not the best place to be when you’re soaked, harried and pissed.

So I had my first meal of the day at gool ‘ol Country Waffles, devouring their Combo Breakfast while being oblivious to the world. Vin texted saying that they were done with LXG, and later arrived with Dean, Nikki, and Dino. The next hours were spent discussing, open forum-like, matters about family, kinship, loyalties and love, and answering telenovela-scale what-if questions. (“Your undeniably greatest and truest love, the person with whom you share the utmost physical, emotional, intellectual, and romantic connection,.tells you he or she has to leave with no prospect of communication, and won’t be back in your arms till you’re 50 years old, asking you to make a vow of supreme loyalty in body, heart and soul. Will you make the vow and, if you do, stay to true it?”)

What a day! A two-sided coin, laden with incidents favorable and otherwise, an impromptu three-flip of the proverbial wheel of fortune. Dean himself had a roller coaster day as well, and I’m sure he’s written it all down by now in his blog. While days like yesterday are welcome, making for interesting blog-worthy material, I wouldn’t want to have them everyday. It’s their rarity that makes them special and memorable.

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