My life story
FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura (The Philippine Star) - February 16, 2020 - 12:00am

Happy Valentine’s,” I tell my husband at the breakfast table at around 9:45 a.m. I woke up at 9:30, left him still asleep, went to the table to take my pills, put on my glasses and began to play solitaire on my cell phone to pass the half hour between my taking pills and eating.

 Typically he emerges around 15 minutes later, all combed and fragrant. “Happy Valentine’s to you, too. It’s Friday, isn’t it?” he says.

“No, it’s Thursday,” I argue. “It’s my deadline today.”

He looks at the calendar on his cell phone. “Sorry, it’s Friday today.”

 I panic. I missed my deadline! What was I doing last night that I missed my deadline? I was watching a serial on Netflix, my most recent hobby, and the day, the date, my whole life just slipped by. I thought yesterday was Wednesday when Thursday night is when I’m supposed to send my Sunday column.

What is wrong with me? I ask myself silently. Maybe I’m getting dementia, which will surely slip into Alzheimer’s like my mother’s. She began to show real signs when she was 70 and I am 75. Just the other day, while browsing through my computer I watched a documentary on Alzheimer’s prevention. I tried to become a member but the credit card I use for these purchases expires in March 2020. It was issued in March 2017. Then I got married, moved houses... did I notify them of my change of address? No, I don’t think so. Thankfully I have a brand new credit card. I’ll use that one.

The American firm said I had to consult the bank. I thought maybe it had not been activated yet. So I decided to use my old credit card but they noted it was expiring in March 2020. They rejected me as a subscriber. I felt terrible. It was the first time I ever got rejected by an American firm. I’m an Amazon subscriber. In fact, I only use my credit cards for foreign purchases.

I went to the bank that issued my card that expires in March. I would have to call their customer service. They volunteered to do it for me but I needed to have my cell phone with me. It had used up all its juice and I didn’t have my power pack. I’m sorry, but I did not grow up with cell phones. And I’ve been retired a long time. I’m not like my husband who, by the way, is six years older than me, but carries his cell phone and a power pack all the time. He has about three power packs, because he buys, misplaces, buys a new one, and later finds the old one. I think I have two. One that came with my phone when I bought it and another given to me as a gift. I hardly use either of them.

 So now, until I find the energy to call and re-register my identity, I don’t have any credit cards that I can use. Maybe that’s what erased my memory about yesterday being Thursday.

Just this morning as I washed my face I remembered my early days at work in advertising. I remembered working late at night, smoking Queen cigarettes and drinking beer with the cameramen while waiting for the lights to be set up. I remembered riding with the Coca-Cola salesmen on the delivery truck. You know those. You see them all the time. Gigantic red trucks stocked with then wooden/now plastic cases of soft drinks. I would ride those and help at service areas, loading and unloading bottles, picking up dirty empty bottles from the sari-sari stores not on the highway, but on what we called the eskinitas, the little pathways inside the city, not just in Manila but sometimes out of town. Then the salesman and I would have lunch in a stall in the market.

 I remember when I worked for a cosmetic company going to the provinces, to areas of nipa huts and dust because it was summer, and selling them not cosmetics but the other products we had — shampoos, deodorants, the occasional body lotion.

 When I worked as a secretary in the US, I did not know how to use a copying machine. Much later the office called me the copier’s mother. They would call me to see if I could make the humungous machine that spewed out stapled copies work before they called the service man.

Who remembers all that? Only I do because most of the people I worked with have gone to heaven. Now I’ve turned into a lazy woman who watches series on Netflix from my bed. Once I had a very interesting life. Now all I do is repeat endlessly that Munting Sabsaban has Mass only on the first Saturday of every month and all Masses are at noon.

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