Friday, September 28, 2012

"La Sallites inspire, Ateneans perspire..."

 This morning, in Manila living a Travelife, I was stuck in traffic on the way to work, so I decided to use the time to catch up on emails and texts. I'd sent a "nice doing dinner with you" message to the two school friends I'd gone to Las Flores at the Fort with the previous night, sent regrets for a foie gras tasting invitation as I'm going to be in Kyoto while that's happening, and typed out a long overdue email to a friend in Vancouver from my phone.


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Then, before opening my computer to work on the magazine, I decided to text my die-hard La Salle friend M, as his name had come up over dinner with my two school friends -- not from me, mind you -- and so I wanted to let him know we'd been talking about him, in case he'd been biting his tongue blue the previous night.

He's not at all old, but for some reason he's just gone on semi-retirement right now. So I ended my text with the following teasing message: "Hope you're enjoying your 'retirement.' PS: That's a concept I can't relate to. Ateneans never retire. We're used to leading forever purposeful lives."

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When I sent that, I knew what would be coming next so I actually should've known better. Within minutes, his text reply came back, really long and full of stuff about La Salle, God and country. He ended his long tirade with the following sentence: "We leave the mundane work to the Blues..."

I had to laugh, even if I knew he was probably serious.

Anyway, I replied: "La Sallites are all fancy text about God and country. Ateneans are all about, well, real work. That's where I'm headed now, by the way. Have a nice day."

I thought that was the end of that, and I was about seven minutes away from work; so after sending him that message, I opened my computer to get some real work done.


But this La Sallite was on a roll. He texted back: "I agree. La Sallites inspire, while Ateneans perspire. Great combination and symbiotic partnership, don't you think?"

I have only two friends in the world who send messages over the phone in this kind of language, by the way. This one actually inputs a phrase like "symbiotic partnership" into his phone for a message to me, while my other friend J uses words like "behooves" and phrases like "dysfunctionality ruled their world" in his BBM messages.

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Anyway, M's messages were actually long and philosophical, but I don't want to quote everything here as that's private.

But after reading them, I decided to give him a punch: "Since you're semi-retired now, you should think about becoming a life coach for all these La Sallites who talk big and have lots of time on their hands, but who don't really know what they want in life."

I meant him, of course. But I put a smiley face at the end, just in case he was about to say "Ouch."

Eventually I asked him: "Greens inspire, blues perspire? Are you getting these lines out of a book or are you actually thinking these up on your own? If it's the latter, I'm genuinely impressed."


He replied, without a tinge of false humility: "I'm one in a million."

How uncanny, I thought. The last time I'd heard that phrase, it had been from my friend J, M's vocabulary soulmate and just as Type A and OC as him in many ways, when I'd expressed a form of very mild admiration for something he'd said as well. What are the odds of that happening?

Anyway, M sent a couple of really long philosophical messages after that as well, still on the Ateneo-La Salle theme. But by that time, I'd reached the office and so I decided to call it a day with the messages. My quota for quotes about school rivalry was just about done.

And just like that, it was back to my never-endingly eventful Travelife.


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