Friday, June 17, 2011

The Monkey, Lion, Cow, Horse and the Sheep

It’s been a long lay-away for me far from Microsoft Word. The last two weeks were spent in various activities and when I managed to find the time to sit in front of my laptop, I found out that the words didn’t flow as they usually did.

I guess I really am at the crossroads of something. This year will probably decide the course of what the rest of my life would be. Well, not in that dramatic fashion as implied but at a lesser degree, it will. 

First off, I am thinking of finally sticking to the path that is less travelled and that means that I should be thinking of going through life as a bachelor. It is far simpler I think, less satisfying and utterly lonely, perhaps but it is much less complex and much more in one’s control. Emotions and stuff are scary things to contend with and the uncertainty and adaptations you have to make; the rapid breathing and the heartburn you have to contend with are stuff for much, much braver men. I am not a teenager anymore, I’ve come to painfully realize and looking at my reflection on the mirror has made me realize that I am that old already. It is high time to face the facts and live with what I have. 


And I guess the fact that I take myself to my blog or to FB to rant is a sign that whatever shred of ‘whatdoyoucallit’ is over and done for.

Love, or the concept of love is a crazy thing. The anticipation, the bated breaths, the rapid heartbeats, the pain, the letdowns, the crazy grins, the mind games, the sleepless over thoughts thing and the overall euphoria over imagined connections despite distance and lack of face time is grueling. When you realize you are old, you yearn for simpler things and a calmer heart. One has to make a painful concession and yield to logical metaphors and unassuming lifestyles. Tough decisions, regrettable in time, tragedies in the making.

I’m joining a charitable organization sometime next month. It will start with small donations and some active blogging probably. And then if the call for another greener pasture does not fall through, then I’d probably seriously consider volunteering for another cause. Though all are for rather selfish reasons when taken really in context, they are steps in that direction, I think. Or, I change my mind again and settle for a continuation of education or staying put and become just another cog in the wheel of commerce.
Nothing is permanent. In life, things are always shifting with time.

Another colleague left the company two weeks ago for a better job. In a way, you are envious of him. While the current pay is good in our line of work (at least in relation to minimum wage earners), it is human nature to always dream of more. I guess humans are naturally greedy or practical (whichever way you prefer) and their wants are never sated. 

There are no promotions on my current workplace. I’ve come to realize now that the system is eschewed towards those who finished their schooling here and is seriously biased against foreign taught professionals. And the pay, though good as I’ve said has a very low rate of increase. Perform well or not, you are looking at the same pay rate. There is no incentive for working well, no corporate rungs to aspire for. It’s a dead-end job, a routine career choice that would give you a stable life on the long run if you can cope with its monotonous, mind numbing routine for the next twenty years of your life. 

And the mind revolts at that pace or one can choose to surrender. And right now, I can’t surrender.

I’ve also managed to connect with an artist/photographer during one of the gatherings here. He is a photographer and a painter. He favors long ponytailed ‘do whereas I prefer semi-bald; he likes wearing baggy trousers and hippie, native loose tunics whereas I prefer casuals; he and I both love the outdoors and we struck a kind of rapport, I think. He is the more accomplished artist and I admit that I envy his free spirited animation and bliss. He exudes the kind of aura I want to achieve: that of a man at peace with his world and with himself: free to do as he wants and devoid of the usual troubles that afflict men.

And I must admit that I envy him more for having a wife who is a hundred percent behind him. It is rare indeed for artists to find life partners who embody what his wife is to him. Most artists die in marriage as they are mired with the never-ending pursuit of material gain and those that break off come out as irresponsible husbands and dads who are not worthy of emulation. But he has achieved a rare thing: he is a good husband and provider and in exchange he is given the freedom to pursue his passions. I envy him for I might never be in his shoes. Either I spend life in solitude for its duration or I follow into the usual course of a life driven by economics.

But he did give me ideas about the best places in Canada where the spirit of nature roams freely and it makes me wish for time to be a bit faster so that I can finally get that Tacoma truck or RAV 4 that I am salivating for. I yearn for the freedom of the road, to be out of the constricting environment of the urban sprawl of Calgary: to hunt for that perfect nature shot in Cannmore, Banff or the Rockies. To commune with God’s creation free from the madness of human society. To be hippie myself, to drown in the embrace of Nature and God.

My aunts are conspiring to match me with a girl at church. I’m probably gonna pass again. They have nice intentions and doubtlessly the woman they want to pair me with is a great woman who deserves to be loved by someone who is a much better man than me. 

My shiftmate is also trying to match me up with his wife’s sister. I just smile and say that if it is the will of God, maybe it may happen. But again, she probably deserves a much better man than I.

And another guy at work has made it his goal to match me with another woman at work. That’s why I avoid lunch hour with them. Because again, she deserves a much better man than I.

And of course, my friends here are matching me with their friends and such. The women, all wonderful and beautiful are all deserving of much better men than I.

Now I am not writing this to brag or anything. I think it has more to do with our cultural background. We take it on ourselves to match single people when we see them because we all think that they are missing out on life if they are not married (which is probably true). And it’s not that I am choosy (far from it but in reflection, when you are in the position to make a decision that will affect your life, you have the right to be choosy), the women are all wonderful people who would make outstanding wives but I am not exactly what one would call a husband-material. I am a stupid, immature, cowardly, uncertain and infantile man. They all deserve much, much better men than I.

I have a lot of baggages and skeletons that go RAWRR! I am no prince charming or ideal husband. I am not the kind of man you bring home to your mother or father. Only a strong woman with a lot of will who could accept me as I am would be crazy enough to accept me. And I won’t be worth it. I am a worthless bag of s***! (forgive the ***, I only chose it to drive a point). If you want to be happy, I am probably not the man for you. There are many men who are far more deserving of you in this life, men who would make you happier. And you deserve to be happy…

It makes me melancholic, though. And it makes me imagine life with someone else but the irony is the fact that perhaps dreams probably only lie with my imagination.

There is talk about mortgages and life savings and pensions at work for the last two weeks. And one thing that you realize is that life is something along these lines. You spend your days making sure that there is a roof over your head, that there is food in the table, and that when old age comes knocking, you have enough funds to cover you before you finally close your eyes for the last and final time.

And it also got me into thinking about my goals in life. Like, am I really going to get a mortgage someday? Am I going to get myself tied down for the next twenty or twenty five years paying for a house? Do I finally commit to take up roots here? Will this be my home?
I have always been a vagabond. Not in the real sense of the word, mind you but something close to that. I spent the first five years of my life in Baguio before we followed my Mom to the mountains where I spent the next nine years of my life. And then after, it was back again to Baguio for the next fifteen years of life. And the last eight years have been spent in varying degrees of solitary living on three transient residences. I haven’t really stopped at one address long enough to call it home. And that life continues to this day and probably for the immediate future.

So I am really tempted to buy an RV instead of a home and make the road my home. (and the economic factor is also something to contend with house prices and mortgage rates increasing for the immediate future) or continuing to board up with good people who’ll have me. Life’s a journey as they say. Like a bumblebee flitting from bud to bud, so it seems with me.

And this is where the choice of a lone existence comes to play. 

I am a vagabond. I am a drifter.

Sad choices… and the only logical choices one has.

I have this coworker: a little bubbly Chinese woman who has a hard time forming her thoughts to English but we like her because of her unusual sense of humor. She is working even though her husband is willing to support her because in her words ‘I feel empty if I don’t work. Staying at home will only drive me nuts!’ My other colleagues give her a hard time because she is clearly the supervisor’s favorite but that is another matter. 

Anyway, just two days ago as we waited for the GC machines to do their work, she popped me this Chinese question: If you go to the desert with barely enough food and you have with you a cow, a sheep, a horse, a monkey and a lion, in what order will you abandon them?

I started with the monkey. It’s for me the most logical choice. It is no use for me in the harsh desert. Then, I chose to abandon the sheep second. It’s slow moving for one and for food just in case, the cow was better anyway.

And then I will abandon the horse. Aside from the fact that I cannot be riding it through the desert due to the scant food available, its meat is really not that palatable, you know..

And then I’ll abandon the cow if I have no more choice.

Then you might be asking, why leave the lion? She also asked me this one and I’d like to say that I left the lion for last because when it comes to the point where it becomes unbearable, the lion would eat me and perhaps it’ll survive the desert. That way, out of us six who started the journey, one would have a chance of surviving. 

But the fact that her English vocabulary is limited, I had to make do with a shrug.

She was laughing after.

As all Chinese questions went, the choices were all symbolic. The desert, of course, symbolized life and the journey is the journey through life. Life is like the desert, relentless. It is never ending and death both figuratively and literally is the only escape from it. The scant provisions symbolize human yearnings and his means. They will always be found wanting. Nothing will ever amount to enough.

The animals, of course, each meant something dear to you. And each animal and the order by which you abandon them indicates what kind of person you are. It indicates your priorities in life and you would be surprised at what they reflect. I was surprised myself.
I won’t be telling you what each animal symbolizes but I will give you this. The first one I abandoned symbolized by the monkey are my talents and the horse represents my dreams which I abandoned for third.

What astounds me is the fact that the order by which I chose them would be the same order I will abandon them should I have known firsthand what they meant.

So I leave you with the same question. If you are going to the desert with limited food and you have with you a monkey, a cow, a lion, a sheep and a horse, what’s the order that you will abandon them?

Life is crazy. I’ll tell you that…

It’s on us to make sense of it…


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