Plus One

Last All Saints’ Day, I brought my laptop to Batangas. There we tested the Magic Jack. The Magic Jack is a net contraption where you can call your love ones using a telephone that is plugged to your PC a la USB. Our relatives in Florida will just pay 20USD annually. But there’s a catch: if you’re not using DSL, it would be harder to connect. Since we solely use broadband USB’s (Tattoo is somewhat crappy now), we can’t use the Magic Jack. So we just used my remaining postpaid broadband credits to indulge in Facebook.

Facebook is the current Top 10 most viewed site in the Philippines (Friendster since Facebook’s launch dropped from number 2 to number 90) outside search engines. If you are reading this, I think you know my avatar: Cindy and I posing when we attended her colleague’s wedding where she was a bridesmaid). They had me enlarge the pic, zoom it, and them castigate it. They dared me to bring her because they want to see the first girl that has met my parents, seen my room, and pretty much get stuffs whenever my parents return from travel bagged with treats. They also asked me to attend the baptism of my cousin’s daughter, Corrine, on November 8. The problem is... that’s our 13th “monthsary”.

Hmmm...

I have opened the subject up to my folks and at the same time mouthed the same insights to my beau. Both liked the subject. I was contemplating however… if this would turn pretty.

If there are things you should know about me:

1) I don’t reveal everything about my life – I have my family, two sets of extended families, and friends from high school, college, gaming world, work, and other varieties. I have secrets one part will never know and vice versa. Sure, you might say I write a blog site that exposes my inner thoughts. But fact is news, in layman’s terms, is basically to interest people on what you want them to perceive. Media controls information. You really think you know me? Do you think I’m faking this part? I can’t tell you what you think.
2) The more you pressure me, the more I won’t do it.
3) I don’t like being tested.
4) I don’t blend in... I stand out.
5) I don’t trust a person again once they wronged me.

Oh... it seems I didn’t define numbers 2 to 5. This is not me NOT revealing everything...

Fact is I just feel lazy.

Why the enumeration? You see, this is something relationship-queasy Syd will vomit at. College and environment has prompted me to not take love seriously. Plus... sure, my mom and Cindy got along... but imagine my mom’s bloodline pestering her with advices about the “M” word. Everything they know about my love life is broadcasted through the lips of my mom. Me? I keep mum about my romantic endeavours. Its not that I don’t want to relay it… I just figure that they won’t see it anyway.

It was November 6 when from 8pm to November 7 at 8am, I was fasting to get my blood checked. “Events” in that late Saturday afternoon, forced me to sit out a LAN battle. It was in a way good because I got to my parents’ good side... plus I didn’t return smashed. The last time I got drunk, I ended up trapped in a car en route to the most unpleasant rib since my “ninja roping days” a decade ago. I can’t blame them though. They think I changed for the worst and I think they changed too. It has been three consecutive weekends that I had fun without scourging a sentinel. I did sleep late though so I could hunt movies that will encounter a sudden attack of colorbars (Sky Cable’s censorship tool) at the French Channel. Some things are better left untouched.

By the way, you know you’re getting old when the “games” you have in your computer either starts with Adobe, Microsoft, or Windows.

Anyway, I woke up at 7:30am and since I don’t boil water, putting water on my body is brutal. Due to again… “events”… we got out of the house at 9:30am. I texted Cindy to go straight to the meeting place – the Shell station beside the SM Hypermart branch in Julia Vargas. Midway to the travel, she’s already there which prompted us to double time. When we got there, I went out of the car (sitting at the back because the only way for me to really drive is for me to get my own car) kissed her in the cheek, and told her “Happy Monthsary”.

Yeah.

And so we travelled. When my mom talks to Cindy, this is my cue to sleep. But then, she’ll bug me with things so that will wake me up. Actually, throughout the trip there was an imaginary line between the persons at the front and at the persons at the back. That line will be crossed when the men became silent and the women (particularly my mother) start up a conversation.

Oh, the imaginary line is only for the men!

The time of Corrine’s baptism is an hour before noon so when we arrived, we went straight to the church rather than going to their place. When we arrived, I suddenly experienced jitters. How will they react? Will her presence upstage the occasion? What words will come out of their mouths? How will Cindy react?

I told my parents and Cindy to go ahead as I fortunately forgot the digicam in the car. Yeah, call me a wimp but like I said, the pressure haunts me. This is after all, the first woman I will introduce to the persons that for 27 years, supported me without waiting for something in return. The church was big… so by the time I entered it; they were still standing and introducing themselves to one another.

I don’t know if this is true but when the idea of me bringing Cindy popped up, my cousins never really bought it. When I went up to them… they all have these pretty demonic smirks.

I went to Kelly, my cousin and Corrine’s mom, and she diabolically smiled. She said Cindy had a small face and she was pretty. She also said that she could be insane for dating me. She said this before going with her husband Baldo as they go in front of the altar where the priest will baptize the babies. Kelly’s parents, Ninong Rupeng (mom’s bro) and Ninang Vicky had the same smile. Ninang Vicky kissed Cindy in the cheek (I warned Cindy that my older relatives preferred the traditional “Mano po”) while Ninong Rupeng surprised me by simultaneously laughing and talking. Maxwell, Kelly’s younger brother, was preoccupied entertaining his friends while older brother Mark, a.k.a. Kuzin Brownie, had the same smile as his sister. And yeah, for some insane reason she kept on calling Cindy as Melissa, Mona… and other female names which is seemingly followed by a diabolical smile.

Mark said somewhere in Brgy. Sulpoc, Tanauan, Batangas, there is a house doing serious cleaning. This house is pretty recognizable because of the huge “WELCOME CINDY” tarp displayed on its lawn.

Coming in late were my other cousins Ate Lorie, Kuya Julius, Ate Joan, and Ate Emen. Their other brother Oyet, couldn’t come because he recently had a son named Joaquin. As of 2009, the kids from my mom’s grandkids are as follows: Yana, Jonas, Jolo, Jasmine, recently-born Joaquin, Jao, Mia, Duyduy and Bethany from faraway Florida (Kuzin Andy’s kid).



Mark could have fathered a girl from his past although the quantity (and quality) has yet to be known.

Cindy quickly noticed that we really have a tight-knit connection. Aside from their similar demonic smiles, we were really cozy with each other. Imagine me and my 215-pound frame commanding my 50-year old aunt to carry me. Sure, a piece of my skin was detached when she pinched me but that’s basically our repertoire. Another thing she noticed is that we love to mess around one another. After I greeted Kelly, Ninong Rupeng dragged me to his seat and interviewed me with Cindy sitting at the next row. Then he talked about the “M” word… which is marriage… and he said that he’ll dish out dinero just for his godson to walk down the... middle of the church. Cindy was then sandwiched by my mom and Ninang Vicky, with both supplying information on the persons I meet and greet inside the church. During this moment I was either taking pics or babysitting.

And yeah, my family’s noisiness didn’t escape her either. Ate Joan had her poker-face on, saying that after they get out of church, she’ll interrogate Cindy (by that time, Cindy could have been used to the interrogation).

After baptism, we headed to the reception area where I didn’t know that Tanauan had a “that kind” of place. The food was actually normal. I was expecting people will serve their typical “oily” dishes where inches away from the buffet table is a pig struggling to survive and chickens having their heads removed (they served a couple of my uncle’s goats though). Cindy had no qualms about this except for the fact that she doesn’t eat dinuguan (and she could cry seeing a pig die and not bother to eat it). A few minutes later, Chanana and Mama Zeny arrived. Mama Zeny is the wife of mom’s eldest brother, Papa Johnny while Chanana (Tita Ana) was the one that usually tucked me to sleep when I was little…

Which flares up my godson Jao.

Honestly, imagine a 27-year old battling a three-year old.

Sigh… being a kid has its perks.

Anyway, Chanana and Mama Zeny sat at the other table where whenever I face Cindy, I see Chanana staring at me, constantly raising her eyebrows as she smiles at me. Meanwhile, Mark kept on giving me insane advices on how to love… in front of Cindy. Still calling her Melissa, Mona, and random girl name, he made up false tales of our escapades with Andy and Edwin whenever they visit from Florida. I responded by telling her that Mark was the reason behind all of my wickedness.

Well… not all actually. I caught some bad habits attending college and learned other things as my yuppie life evolved… but like I said to her, whenever I sleep over at his house, we often sneak off at night to Calamba. At Padi’s Point Calamba, he was the one that talks to those unsuspecting province lasses while I was brought in to the picture as the guy that “came from Manila” (but I have to sound like a Fil-Am to pull this off nicely). I barely nailed chicks that way because once the girls voiced their goofy accents, we (mostly I) tend to scram (one of the things I look next in a girl is how they talk… afterwards h0w tH3y tXt! ^_^). When I leave for Manila, he texts the girls up so they could eyeball in some romantic getaway.

That part of my life stopped half a decade ago but he continues to spawn broodlings across Luzon.

Ehem.

A-NY-WAY, Kelly and our cousin Marlon would pester me on how I would use their kids when I decide to “M” word (Marlon’s kid is shy that in order for him to make “mano” I threaten him that I will give him Bratz this Christmas). By this time, I was also hiding from Ninong Rupeng that was pestering me on how I “fooled” Cindy in dating me. This was also the same question asked by my lady cousins. Mark then took me to the other part of the party where Alfonso overflowed. Yes, the drink that could buckle knees and disrupt speech patterns was the “star” of that side. When I got there, I saw a couple of middle-aged men blushed and poised to gag. I learned to never use chaser when drinking hard but I haven’t learned the fact that Mark is fast in dishing out “tagay”.

At this point, Cindy was taking care of Corrine. Kelly exclaims that she had four female cousins present and her daughter is being cared by a woman she only knew two hours ago. Ate Lorie then exclaims “Nagpa-practice”. I heard it because I decided to tap out because there was a goofy-looking, arrogant, braggart menacing us with repeating stories on how he was awesome.





Afterwards, we went to our ancestral home in Brgy. Sulpoc to visit Papa Johnny, Chateray and Ninang Puring. Papa Johnny smirked when I was introducing her while Chateray pinched me in the arm. Chanana was already there so I re-experienced her wicked stares. Ninang Puring (or Chapuring) didn’t see Cindy since she actively participates with church work on Sundays. I toured Cindy to the places where her footwear can’t encounter animal dung. I toured her to the pig pens that were once flourishing with swine. We also saw Joaquin, born October 31, 2009. I was surprised when I heard Ate Nene gave birth. I didn’t even know she was pregnant! I guess this prompted me to visit Batangas more. The last time a slept over was over a year now and that was just a “spur of the moment” thing. But we didn’t stay long in Sulpoc because we need to return to Ninang Vicky’s house. Before we left though, Chateray packed us with a LOT of veggies and suman and other things from their stash. Chateray gave us a pack and she gave Cindy a pack of each as well.

After getting another set of goodies from Ninang Vicky’s house, he headed back to Manila (Mark was busy playing tong-its with Tito Robert (Ninang Vicky’s brother) and other competition). Perhaps imagining Cindy’s arms carrying a LOT of vegetables and other loots, we took her to her house where we were greeted by Cindy’s mom and siblings. In a blink of an eye, the meeting of the two matriarchs made everyone else invisible. They were talking… smiling… and still talking! When we left, Cindy was concern with my sense of direction (or lack thereof). Luckily we found our way back to the highway.

It was almost 8 o’clock then.

I didn’t screw things, Cindy enjoyed, my relatives were all happy and giddy, and my parents met her mother.

That day turned out awesome.