Day Twenty-Six: Something that happened in a hospital.
I once accompanied a co-worker to the hospital when she fell ill at work.
She was deathly afraid of needles. That was not great if the doctor had to get her blood sample to find out what illness she has. I was coaxing her and soothing her as the nurses tried to get her hand set for the extraction. She was crying in whimpers the entire time out of terror.
I let her squeeze my arm during the extraction. She held on using her other hand so tightly, it felt like my arm was also drained of some blood while little nail marks showed up against my skin.
It probably took us at least fifteen minutes to convince her and make her relax for the blood extraction. The actual extraction barely took a minute.
Day Twenty-Five: Winning.
I rarely win in raffles.
Some people are born lucky. They are more likely to win in games of chance. Their names are often drawn, even for consolation prizes. I had a co-worker who was so lucky, it actually backfired on her: her name was drawn twice in an office raffle. Unfortunately, raffle rules state that employees can only submit one entry per person, so she was disqualified for both prizes.
Whenever I attend company parties, there will be that point during the eventual raffle when I’ll hold my breath waiting for the announcement of the winner, only to exhale in disappointed because, as usual, my name was not called.
That’s more than ten years of working and annual company parties, plus the occasional parties thrown by the account’s client or some other employee-benefit contest.
It’s the same outside of work, even when I was younger. During school fairs, in church parties, even in the occasional traveling perya. I would spend all my money playing the color game and lose all of it without really winning anything.
There was one particular time when I actually won a raffle that I do remember.
Day Twenty-Four: Losing.
During the Nineties, Battle of the Brains was one of the more popular game shows on local TV. It was a weekly quiz show where different schools would send a team of delegates to compete with each other, answering questions from various categories (Science, Arts, Current Events, etc). During sixth grade, I was sent to compete in the Elementary School competition of the show with two other classmates.
I’ve been in several inter-school quizzes before: Math Quiz Bees, Science Quiz Bees, Campus Journalism Meets. You can say I was the mental counterpart of school athletes. I was hopeless in sports and physical activities, but I was quite good in competitive quizzes. During grade school, I realized that it was an easy way to win high grades and exam exemptions from teachers. I still joined inter-school competitions in high school, but my more conservative high school teachers were not too impressed by it; my high school grades dipped because I was mostly a very lazy student.
Prior to the show, our team was put in a relatively intense training. Teachers sometimes pulled out from class so we can do mock quizzes and they timed us when answering various questions.
During the show proper, I remember being underwhelmed by the studio. It was much smaller than I expected from what is shown on television. It was grubbier and not as “high-tech” as how we thought it would be.
We lost. (This entry’s title was a giveaway, wasn’t it?)
We were second place, with a very close score with the winning school. Partly it was because of a True or False question that was initially answered incorrectly: I thought, because of only two options for an answer, answering incorrectly invalidates attempts to “steal” the points. The team that won was not above taking advantage of an answer that was practically given away.
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Day Twenty-Three: The best meal of my life.
It is a common joke among former residents of the Chairless Apartment that whenever we start cooking pasta, it means we are running low on money.
Normally when we buy groceries, we would include two kilos of dry spaghetti noodles and cans of fried sardines. We also always keep lots of garlic and pepper in the kitchen cupboard.
On days when we have enough money among ourselves, we would eat out or order food delivered to the apartment. If we feel like cooking, we would think of comfort food we miss and prepare them: pork sinigang, kare-kare, menudo, ginisang munggo. Nearly everyone in the house can cook, and we help each other in the kitchen.
On lean days, we bring out the pasta.
Day Twenty-Two: Something that happened in a car.
The world started spinning the moment I stood from my seat.
“Can I stay over at your place?” I asked the guy I just met. He was friends with my friends and I thought he was trustworthy. Cute and trustworthy.
It didn’t help, the short walk to the roadway. Every step felt like a tumble and I begun feeling like my stomach was starting to protest.
It wasn’t the only one. I vaguely remembered one of our companions complaining. He wanted to be with the guy. How did I ever get so lucky?
The cab driver might have had misgivings if he should let us in. His instincts were right, of course, but he still agreed to bring us to Pasig.
I can’t remember what the ride was like, now. It was probably awkward and quiet. I wouldn’t trust myself talking while trying to hold my beer down. The world was hazy and my eyes couldn’t focus.
It happened when the cab was about a hundred meters from the guy’s place, like a bad sitcom sequence. That point where I could have waited just another minute and things would not have been as embarrassing. I threw up.
No one throws up with dignity. One can hope that he can at least open the cab window and let puke fall out to the street. I didn’t do that.
Damn manual car windows. I barfed while the window was still halfway open with some vomit falling on the cab floor. The driver should have listened to his instincts.
At least I didn’t puke on the guy. He wouldn’t have slept with me if I did.