Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Better without him

This morning, I was actually driving nearby, through my friend J’s neck of the woods, when my Blackberry pinged. What do you know? It was J, messaging from somewhere frosty. Like about three dozen other friends, he’d flown the coop for Christmas and headed North to holiday someplace where icicles form on windows and people swear at the temperature.


Perhaps because I’m flying almost every week, I actually love being in Manila for Christmas and New Year. But J, and so many other friends, are right now in Tokyo, Vancouver, New York, Aspen, Hong Kong, Whistler, Ontario, Osaka and the Swiss Alps as I write. He’d read my blog while freezing and he was obviously pleased with himself and with what he'd read. He wrote: “So your best blog of the year was dinner with me? I’m so flattered.” There was a smiley face at the end.

I was caught by surprise by the timing and by his message. I knew he was away and I'd literally just driven past his neighborhood without remembering him. And then I couldn't remember that part about the best blog entry of the year either.

So I almost opened my computer to check what I’d written as I couldn’t recall saying anywhere that dinner with J was my best blog entry for the year. Perhaps I’d written it in my sleep -- that actually happened once. But more likely, he’d imagined things once again. But I’d forgotten my portable WiFi so I couldn’t connect from the car.


Anyway I messaged back: “You’re overreading my blog.” And then I added: “But one entry about a dinner with you did make me smile. I thought it was very well-written actually.”

I was referring to a kare-kare dinner I’d cooked for him one evening just before I flew out of Manila for Sri Lanka, that we’d had – quite extravagantly, if I have to admit it now -- with a bottle of Chateau Palmer 1999. But only extravagant in the sense that a very good bottle of delicate French wine is almost a shame to have with very strong Filipino food. I thought I'd captured that moment for posterity with accuracy and style.

J certainly had no qualms about putting forward his theory of relativity, about how the whole world revolves around him. “You were inspired. That’s why,” he messaged back. “Admit it. I’m the most fun there is.”

Now, finally, this made me smile big time. I wrote him: “You certainly have a lot of confidence in yourself.”

“Is confidence bad?” He asked me. It was funny that we were actually having this kind of conversation by BBM between Makati and some snowy village with plebian food.

I texted back immediately. “Nope. In fact un-confident people bore me to death." Because I was also busy answering emails on my phone, I forgot to ask him if he was confusing confidence with delusion as well.


Just then I happened to glance out my window for a moment, as my car passed beautiful houses lined up along quiet tree-lined roads. I really like my own neighborhood nearby, but his is a beautiful area. I BBM-ed him a tease: "Why does your neighborhood look so nice when you're not around?"

But J was unflustered. And for once he had an answer even I would have a hard time disagreeing with: "It's lovely, with or without me," he messaged back in a matter of seconds. Yes, perhaps it is.

Just another day in a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.


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