My friend ANL messaged me from Atlanta to say that she’s been getting terribly stressed the past few weeks. Her husband, Len-Len, works as an intensivist in one of the biggest hospitals in their area, and the risk of contracting COVID is super high. She bemoaned that very few people wear masks even in cramped places with high concentration of people like the supermarket, because they feel like it is a threat to their inalienable rights. She and Len-Len have been getting nightmares, and I didn’t want to take the spotlight away from her story by narrating my own nightmare of sleeping with a bath-salt addicted stranger who growls and eats faces. ANL asked me how I was, which is a very simple but a very sweet gesture that I will always appreciate. I told her that I’ve been very stressed too, but that the primary cause of stress every morning is that as soon as I am all dressed up and my shirt is tucked and my belt is in place and I’m wearing my shoes, that’s when I feel the uncontrollable urge to take a shit. I am henceforth left with no choice but to systematically take off everything, unless I want to get them crumpled or wet.
It was a relatively light Friday in terms of patient load, only had 3 patients for chemo and 1 patient for an outpatient consult! I happily did my tasks in the clinic, excited to leave and probably get a quick drink IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY. I passed by Solidaridad, the late F. Sionil Jose’s bookstore, which has been a favorite stop whenever I had the time.
Of course I couldn’t linger longer because it was a very small, cramped bookstore, so I quickly picked out a couple of books. I got Truman Capote’s The Complete Stories, and Alice Munroe’s Too Much Happiness. I still have a floor to ceiling pile of tsundoku, but I had finished two books last week, so I think it’s a bit justified. Also, I think it’s okay to just buy all these books and not read them immediately, because you sometimes just get in the mood to read something and it helps if what you’re in the mood for is readily available. File Alice Munroe under: In The Mood To Really Focus And Learn More About The Craft Of Writing. And this is my first Truman Capote, and so far I’m enjoying it.
Had spam sandwich for lunch, so by the time I finished my book raid I was a bit hungry. I was hoping someone would bring me something more substantial to eat in the clinic, like rice with ulam, but no such luck. Only two restaurants had al fresco sections in Rob Manila as far as I know: Denny’s and Italiani’s, and since Italiani’s had a greater chance of carrying an alcoholic drink I chose it over Denny’s. I had chicken cacciatore, which is like roasted chicken with tomato sauce, and an “italian smash” which probably had .0001% alcoholic content. I ate half of the roasted chicken and took home the rest, but by the time I got home the tomato sauce had seeped into the cardboard container, leaving the chicken looking dry and pale, like an aired-out, overpriced chicken afritada in the the corner carinderia.
I wanted to continue reading so had coffee in the the nearby Starbuck’s, but left after a couple of pages because everyone was just braying and laughing. As if those two activities aren’t considered weapons of mass destruction by this time!