Self’s So-Called Solitary Life

Self realizes her life is strange, strange because it is so solitary. Which makes her feel so very un-Filipino.

Dearest Mum’s life is the real life. The real Filipino life. But she grew up in New York and self grew up in the Philippines. Go figure.

Daly City aunt’s life is also a real Filipino life. More people invite her to Assumption alumni events than invite self, although self is also from Assumption, and perhaps closer in age to the people doing the inviting.

Ex-Assumption classmate Connie’s life in San Gabriel is also the real life. She bakes cakes for her elderly neighbors and, in spite of not having a job, has many friends, most of them from her parish church.

Self has received one invitation to the next Assumption gathering, and this one involves wearing a red and green outfit (because November is practically Christmas), bringing two $30 gifts for exchange (if hubby chooses to accompany self, which he very well might, since self has discovered he is so fascinated with these glimpses of another life, the life self had before she got married), and bringing further $30 for the food. At this party, self will be forced to participate in a contest to judge who has the “best outfit”, and will further be made to sing karaoke.

Anyhoo, that party is still nine days away, and yesterday, after returning from her one class of the day, self spent the day entirely alone (except for the beagles, of course). This was happiness. For instance, self was able to buy The New York Times. Even though she wasn’t able to start reading it last night, she has it beside her this morning. And, because she was all alone, she bought “Boo” Chips from Whole Foods and no one witnessed her scarfing down the whole bag. And she even found time to affix a whole row of lighted pumpkin heads on the picture window in the living room, which she thinks is the reaason so many kids came to the door last night — almost 70 — and why the huge bag of candy she bought from Costco weeks ago now has only a half dozen pieces left in it.

And this morning, self does not wake up thinking of anything that happened yesterday, but is instead looking forward to her day, and now she is reading Linh Dinh (or re-reading, she should say), whose Blood and Soap is turning into one of her favorite books, and she re-reads the first story in the collection, “Prisoner with a Dictionary,” which begins this way:

And so a young man was thrown in prison and found in his otherwise empty cell a foreign dictionary.

A couple of sentences down, self reads this:

He was far from stupid, however, but had an ironic turn of mind that could squeeze out the joke from most tragic situations. He could also be very witty around certain women.

Which suddenly reminds self that her horoscope for the day is:

You definitely know how to create a good time for everyone around you.

Stay tuned, dear blog reader, stay tuned.

Re-Writing Halloween Post

Do loyal blog readers find it disconcerting when self re-writes her posts? Because all of a sudden, self feels like she must re-write the last post she wrote, the one about all the Halloween excitement.

Self begs dear blog readers’ indulgence. What she really wanted to write about (though she only just discovered this) is what happened after hubby came home.

Sixty children had come trooping to the door. Half a bag of candy was gone. It was 8 PM.

Hubby grew very excited and said he wanted to put on a costume.

Self was in the middle of cooking Ervilhas Guisadas a Portuguesa, or Eggs with Peas, Sausages and Coriander. This was from a recipe self found in a Time/ Life cookbook called The Cooking of Spain and Portugal. Self did not purchase this cookbook. Dearest Mum “borrowed” it from home of Daly City aunt, about a decade ago. Do not feel bad for aunt, dear blog reader, for she has never cooked a thing in her life. She and her husband eat out every night, unless her daughter, who lives with them, cooks something.

Anyhoo, shortly after hubby declared he would put on a costume, self observed him ransacking son’s closet. “What are you looking for?” self inquired.

Hubby replied: “Son’s graduation toga.”

Uh-huh, self thought. This should be interesting.

Pretty soon, hubby emerged from son’s room dressed in a black toga, and with a Scream mask. Gracie burst into hysterical and prolonged barking and self thought her eardrums would burst. More children came to the door, but instead of going forth to greet them in his costume, hubby suddenly ducked into the bedroom and self said, “Well, aren’t you going to hand out the candy?”

“No! You do it!” hubby whined from the bedroom.

Self became terribly confused, but she did as ordered.

To date, self had seen: many heads of wild hair; assorted angels; assorted ballerinas; assorted Princesses; one elephant; one Incredible Hulk; four Spidermen (on the tiniest toddlers); one lion from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe movie; assorted Grim Reapers; and one axe murderer. Among parents in costume, self observed a witch, and an Amelia Earhart impersonator with crazy goggles and an aviator jacket. This year, unlike in years past, there were no political figures (so, no “scary Hillary”, which self had heard was going to be the most popular costume this year), no vampires, and no bumblebees.

Afterwards, when self returned to the living room, she found hubby had changed out of his costume and was sitting on the couch.

“What happened?” she inquired.

“I changed my mind,” hubby said.

And with that, dear blog readers, good night.

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