Maybe I am getting old
(The Philippine Star) - January 30, 2016 - 9:00am

I stepped inside a bar/club/pub (whatever they call it now) twice over the past month (once was for a birthday celebration and the other for a spontaneous get-together) and both times there was loud, unfamiliar music playing. It sounded nice, to the point of almost being danceable, yes, but it was all new to me. I was hearing it for the first time. I should revisit MTV, as I think my three-year-old niece Julia knows more of the new singers than I do. In the bar/club/pub I felt as young as I did when I was a college student with a 10 p.m. curfew. It was nice to be out for a change.  But it was so noisy that it was difficult to talk to the friends I saw there. It took some time before I surrendered to the reality that nights like those are not for talking and catching up. Maybe it can just be about being present in the moment, guiltlessly embracing the greatness of doing nothing more than taking it all in — loud music, the sound of tinkling glasses and people greeting each other with hugs and kisses, backslaps and high fives, the sexy lights that make everyone look good. A rare night out can perhaps be as simple as allowing the day that was to fade away as you stay put, to be with friends. Never mind that you cannot make conversation. You can just bob your head or sway to the music, have a little drink or two, people-watch. It can be fascinating.

There are lots of beautiful girls — they are so young but already they look so sophisticated, with va-va-voom hair covering half the face, bright, matte lips pouting, eyes lined and with wing tips. When I was their age, I remember looking more like a girl than a woman.  And the boys. The boys are like eagles hovering around the girls, best foot forward, looking and acting all grown-up. “May gatas pa yang mga yan sa labi, a friend of mine comments. We laugh, and agree that those boys do not yet know how much better they will look when they are much older. We look at the giggly girls who, at this stage of their life, probably think looks and muscles and groove are criteria enough. Wait until they find a man who has all that, plus purpose. But that is for them to discover. On a couch, a pretty girl has fallen asleep on the shoulder of a boy. She must be so tired. Maybe it was exams week and they are now just relaxing? He is unmindful of all else around him, drinking his drink, and he hardly moves (lest he wake her up, I guess). She finally wakes up, much later in the night, and I remember seeing them eat. He seems very gentle with her and she, appreciative of him being so. There are many little clumps of people, friends just getting together, winding down, I guess. All seems right in the world. It is many slices of life out there, given any night. I know it is time to go home when all I can think of is bacon with rice, or fried chicken with rice. If I were in Cebu I would want to eat bulalo at Abuhan. Richard and I ended up driving through for a burger instead. 

We have a 15-year-old. In a few years, it is not entirely unlikely that she will find herself in a club/bar/pub. I say my thoughts out loud and Richard is quiet. I think the thought scares him — no, I think it frightens him! The way it would any father, I guess. So much of what is out there we cannot control. But I think of all the little sampaguita vendors who roam the streets day in and day out, going up to strangers, and the fact that they tread safely through a full day’s work and are able to do the same thing all over again the next day feeds my faith. I remember Richard telling me that, in fourth grade, he was living with his mom in San Juan while his dad stayed in Paranaque. At that tender age, he already knew how to commute all by himself, riding a jeep from P. Guevarra to Camp Crame and then a bus to Sucat. From there he would take another jeep to enter BF Homes in Paranaque. God watches over us all. May I remember that when my heart starts to fret.

I think of bars and clubs and boys meeting girls and vice versa as I down my burger. I think of how it was during our time, how it is now. So many things stay the same, but so many things are also so different. I think of our 15-year-old and I caution myself not to jump ahead to that time when she will haggle over her curfew, fall in love, get her heart broken, spend more and more time with friends, work or start something of her own, get married, have children…

I think I have to stop right there. Thinking of all that makes me feel really, well… old.   

 

ACIRC BUT I CAMP CRAME CEBU I IF I MAY I NBSP PARANAQUE RICHARD AND I SAN JUAN THINK
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