Sunday, October 01, 2006

The kissing-the-ground act of lizards

Every evening, when I have the time, I always look for house lizards. They are easy to find. They always come down from the ceiling, down the wall, to kiss the ground. I’ve always wondered why.

My father used to tell me a story why lizards kiss the ground every evening, about 6 p.m. I forgot the story already. Is it a kind of punishment from the gods? I can’t remember anymore.

The lizards, however, have been always a reminder to me. I mean their kissing-the-ground act. It reminds me of humility, of remembering, of recognizing from where we all came from.

With so many things to worry, I forget a lot of things, the simple things most of the time, like anniversaries, birthdays, acts of kindness and even the act of saying hello to people, I mean, just to be pleasant to others.

I wonder how come lizards don’t forget their kissing-the-ground act every evening.

Sometimes, when I feel reflective, I do admire the lizards. Aside their not forgetting their daily ritual, I admire them for – well this is a crazy reflection – their humility to remember where they came from. As priests say on Ash Wednesdays: “From dust thou art, to dust you’ll return,” or something to that effect.

Journalism is history in a hurry. That’s what I read last Monday in a journalism book I brought as reference material for a lecture on journalism in Zamboanga City. Life has been always a blur since I started working as a journalist, except maybe during those days and nights I spent in the barrios or in hotel rooms in some foreign country.

I’ve always told myself that it’s therapeutic just to stop for a moment, sit back, relax and just enjoy the ride. Yes, life is a ride and I’ve been enjoying the fast lane for a while now. It’s just funny that many times I don’t listen to myself. Many of us don’t, I supposed.

* * *

I’ve been trying to dig into my files these days to look for some papers – birth certificates, clearances, etc – that must be submitted to the office as part of my employment requirements. It’s not easy, the digging part. I have to look into envelopes, folders and boxes, leaf through old notebooks, books and files.

I’m still looking until now. I’m enjoying the search that I don’t want to find what I’m looking for anymore. I enjoy scanning old notes, books and files – and there are hundreds of them. Then, like ghosts from the past, people jumped from the yellowed pages of notebooks and pads. I have to talk to them, laugh with them, feel their pain and share their anguish.

While friends during my younger years accumulate wealth, here I am collecting dust, digging into dreams written on cheap notebooks, dreams that until now remain to be realized. What a life. But it’s fun.

I just wonder, as I write this, if 20 years from now I will be able to scan these pages, hese posts, this blog, to revisit the past. Will there be dust on my computer screen? What would be the feeling then?

* * *

A very dear friend gave me a book today. It’s Pedro Juan Gutierrez’s “The Insatiable Spider Man”. I intend to read it in the coming days. I scanned the first few pages and I came across sentences like these:

“He tries to kiss her. She smells the tobacco and alcohol on his breath and feels nauseous. She moves her face quickly to one side and pulls back. The man kisses her neck and licks her. She struggles some more. The man pushes her. Silvia loses her balance and stumbles. He holds her up to prevent her falling. He’s a giant playing with a little bird. Silvia is very slender and frail. She’s still trembling….With his right hand he fishes inside his trousers and pulls out a long black stiff thick prick. Shit. Silvia looks at it. She has to look at it since it’s a few inches from her eyes and she thinks, ‘Christ almighty, I’m really fucked now. Look at the size of it, dammit. If he puts it in me, he’ll split me in half, he’ll kill me, the motherfucker!’”

Just look at the lines, the short sentences, the active voice, the drama it brings to the reader sans the adjectives that many of us, lazy, trying-hard-copycat wannabe writers, use to pretend that we too know how to write.

Thanks for the book, my friend, it sure made my day!

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