It was Sunday yesterday and I just laid in bed all morning. I stood up to use the loo and to have my cereals and take my meds but I just returned to bed. I was in bed and just enjoying, if you can believe that, the sounds of Manila on a Sunday morning.
In Bacolod, they have bird songs, different kinds. My parent’s house in Bacolod is full of trees and plants and if it is windy, you can hear the rustling of the leaves. It should actually be more peaceful and more enjoyable to just lay in bed on a Sunday morning but I don’t feel that sense of peace.
In Manila, you could still hear the roar of the MRT when it passes by Santolan station and you can hear the church bells ring somewhere off Crame (or maybe even more distant, I’m just not sure, sound carries), and of course, there’s the sound of passing cars, two-stroke motorcycles, and buildings being built. It’s not as loud as a weekday morning, especially since there’s no school with their morning assembly and a teacher on a microphone saying whatever, but there is semblance of a world outside other than my own.
I’m trying to figure out if these city sounds are more enjoyable for me because I was raised in the city. The stillness and the quiet and the birdsong of living in the province is such a treat for the first few days but then it gets cloying. Too much of that gets me anxious. I feel like I should be doing something. It ends up becoming like this sign that I’m not doing anything productive. Or worse, it is a sign that I’m nowhere in the middle of things.
The tyranny of Imperial Manila strikes again, turning a provincial comfort into a negative thing, as if that sort of stillness and closeness to nature is a bad thing.
But lying down in bed on a Sunday morning is a sort of revolutionary act when you breakdown the events that transpired throughout the week. When you take note of the lengths of time you spend waiting out traffic, waiting in traffic, rushing to a meeting, getting work done, surrounded by hundreds of people, thousands even, doing exactly the same thing.
I could never get that feeling in Bacolod. I figured that even if I found work there, everything is still fifteen minutes away from each other. Maybe twenty if it’s rush hour. There is no friction in provincial living that causes me to spark and ignite. I’m not saying that friction is necessarily good. I’m just saying that friction is something I look for and it somehow tied to the circuitry of my brain. I like living in cities. I like it when I’m productive. I like being in the middle of things.
Bacolod is lovely. My parent’s home is my home too, now, and it is lovely. And there are people who prefer that sort of arrangement. But I can do so many things on a Monday morning in the province and spend the rest of the week trying to figure out what to do. And without any real friends except my family, the few cousins I’ve got living there that I do get to see and my mother and father and brother, I don’t have a life there that creates the sort of friction that makes me feel whole.
I hope I am not being misunderstood. I am not saying I want a hard life. I just want to be on my toes. I want the challenge because I know I so easily can slip into complacency. Inertia is a law that I cannot break. Too much comfort will break me. Complacency will make me go back to hating myself because I want things.
I want things and I want to work for them. I want things and to be in the midst of an active world. I want to work. I want a challenge. I want to earn the joy of staying in on a Sunday morning, in bed, and saying, “I earned this. I’m not leaving here — this mattress, this pillow, or this blanket — until it’s lunch time and I really have to start the day.”