Give me a break!
FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura (The Philippine Star) - July 28, 2019 - 12:00am

Today I think I will write about a few things I hate. I know there are people out there who dislike the use of the word “hate” for mundane things. Too bad. I like to use the word when I speak of things I immensely dislike.

I used to hate having a cell phone. You know the big one that was heavy to carry and always gave you a jolt when you managed to use it right? I hated those. But late in life I decided to enroll in a master’s course in entrepreneurship at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM). I was the oldest in class. My classmates believed in scheduling CAN (don’t ask me what that acronym means; it’s the group with whom you work on cases) groups and other activities like lunch, drinks, over the cell phone. So I learned to use my cell phone. It became part of the course.

 I took it because my friend, Lydia Echauz, then the dean of the De La Salle Graduate School of Business, asked me to teach Marketing Communications, which was my field of practice since I was 25. So I taught it and apparently taught it well because I was one of the highest rated teachers. Except my status was “lecturer.” I could not be a professor because I did not have a master’s degree. So, thinking that I was facing retirement and had to think of something I could do well, I decided I wanted to teach and to have the rank of professor. So I decided to go to AIM for the master’s in entrepreneurship.

 They accepted me even if I did not have a college degree because by then I was president of J. Romero & Associates, the first outsider president, the first female president and the first one who was not a member of the family. Also, I found out rather belatedly I was the first president who tripled its billings the time I was there.

Now when I think back to those years I think the best knowledge I retained was how to use my cell phone. Now I fully depend on it to sell the food supplements I sell, occasional jewelry I make and to call our driver to pick me up. But there are things about the cell phone I really hate. 

 We live on the 28th floor. You’d think telephone reception would be good. It’s not. It’s inconsistent at best. Most often conversations are choppy. So I prefer texting. But I had a stroke in 2003 and while I have my old personality back, there are minor damages that linger. My fingers don’t operate cell phones well. When you call, I’m supposed to pass my finger from the red to the green button and you answer. It doesn’t work with me. I think my fingers are dead. When my cell phone rings I have to rush to find my husband and ask him to run his finger over the buttons so I can pick up the call. By the time I answer, the caller has hung up. That’s why I prefer texting. Please just text.

 Of course there are those who text me the most awful questions. Is it true that the big property on the corner of this and that was stolen from the real owner by some-well-known-name? How would I know? I report it as spam. But that doesn’t get rid of him. He changes phone numbers and invents another stupid question I would never know the answer to. He does this  over and over again.

There are those who try to sell you insurance coverage, or membership to some club or other. With them, I am really curt. When they stop to take a breath I say, “I have something to say. Please listen. I am definitely not interested. Good-bye.” And then I hang up. Really! I am turning 75 in a few days. Why would I want to buy anything when I don’t need anything any more? In fact, I should be giving away my things.

 Sometimes it gets to be too much and I find myself dying for a break from all this madness. Guess what? My husband and I are going on holiday for five days starting Aug. 1. We will go away to feast on Peking duck and chili crabs and all the wonderful food that his son Paton and daughter-in-law April will prepare for us. We will go visit wonderful Singapore again. We are so looking forward to this break.

 Please order whatever you need from me by July 31 or starting Aug. 6. For the intervening days I want you to imagine I went to Mars to check on the latest housing project. 

 But don’t worry, I will be back, fatter and happier than ever.

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