Smoketh has finally finished her thesis. So on top of being a nephrologist, she is now a faculty member of the Department of Physiology. When we were in first year medicine we were all terrified of the nephrology physiology module, finding all those transporters and molecules and tubules too confusing. And of course, sodium. I never understood sodium, it’s like it has a mind of its own, going wherever the hell it wants to go, in, out, with water, without water. The results of our nephrology physiology examination were released on a hot and humid February 28 in BSLR East. I remember, because there were two of us in class celebrating our invisible leap year birthdays that day, me and Mildred. After the class had languidly sung a tokenistic Happy Birthday (they just wanted to get to the exam results, dang it), Dr. Cordelia, the nephrology consultant, went in front and said, “I’m sorry the exam was so difficult. But it’s not my fault, ha, it’s Dr. Manuelita’s!” Dr Manuelita was the other nephrologist in charge of the exam.
“But even though the exam was difficult, someone got 98%!” Dr. Cordelia enthused. “Congratulations are in order for the topnotcher…. the birthday girl herself, Mildred!” We all clapped and cheered. Suddenly people looked at me, assuming that I should be feeling pressured.
“Matatalino daw talaga pag leap year! Ahhahahaha!” Dr. Cordelia laughed, deliberately making MORE gatong.
Well, you know what Dr. Cordelia and the entire class, I wasn’t feeling pressured! At all! Because I knew deep in my heart of hearts that I had totally fucked that exam! After the top five were announced she displayed the complete list of results on the bulletin board. I got a… 55%! Smoketh didn’t do super fantastically either, but look where she is now.
To celebrate her liberation from thesis data collection and statistical analysis we decided to buy a keyboard for her iPad Pro. Smoketh abhors shopping, and she needs a constant enabler. While waiting for her in Coffee Bean in UP Town Center I decided to go back to a manuscript I was writing. A college guy, Benito, was also typing furiously on his Mac at the next table. Another guy, Wesley, then arrived, presumably his date. From the way they were talking, their very polite and deliberate usage of words, the courtesy laughter at each other’s jokes, I have concluded that it was the first time they were meeting in person. This meant that I could no longer go on writing, because I had to concentrate on this nefarious habit of eavesdropping.
But was it really eavesdropping, pray tell, if our tables were so close to each other, that their laughter could dangerously shower SARS COV 2-laced spittle on my non-fat latte with two sachets of Stevia? Was it really eavesdropping, if they were talking so loud, as if in a one-act play? The answer, of course, is yes. It’s a bad habit. I should be using my earphones more often. More focus, less snooping, greater productivity. But their lives are so exciting kase!
Wesley excused himself to talk to someone on the phone. When he got off the call, he told Benito that it was the laboratory where he had his COVID swab test done yesterday. “They just called to tell me I’m negative,” Wesley beamed. “So have you had your vaccine na?”
So I guess this is part of the new preamble on Post-apocalyptic/Still-apocalyptic dating. On top of “I have a job”, “I’m not DDS”, and “I don’t have STD”.