Monday, September 13, 2010


Let me tell you about my clothing choices. Oh, no, I'm not going to pretend to be fashion-savvy. Trust me, I couldn't put a fashionable outfit together, even if my life depended on it.

It's just that the other day, I was wearing black, which I almost never do. As of my last tally, my closet contains exactly one black and two dark blue shirts, and about one shirt for each other color. The rest of my tops are white. I don't know when this started, but after four years in college, the white shirts have slowly piled up.

I really prefer white shirts, mostly because the weather is baking like an oven most of the time, and I, unfortunately, tend to sweat profusely and easily.So white clothes keep me cool and comfortable, while also keeping me from perpetually looking like I just came from a jog.

Click for source.
However, I've been thinking about how there's a lot more to my clothing choice than just comfort. I realized that I actually suit my shirt colors to my mood—and based on that, I'm pretty bipolar, I guess.

Most of the time I'm white; I'm bright. I catch the light, reflecting it, reaching out. This is me in my happiest, most hyper moods. I go out on impromptu drinking sessions, I dance around, and act like a kid with ADHD. This is me in my most sociable, most engaged moments. I laugh at anything and try everything, just for the heck of it. I breathe the air and sunshine in, like a silly sunflower in bloom (and mind you, the concept of me as a sunflower is silly in itself).

But other times, I'm black; I'm dark. I absorb the light, curling up, cowering in corners, shutting out. I refuse to talk to people, spending whole days shut up in my room, watching movies and reading.This is me in my most detached, apathetic moments. I watch anything—to distract me, because I think about everything—especially the unnecessary stressors. The air feels trapped and I feel too tired, too heavy to move. 

Lately I've been alternating between dark and light shirt colors; dark and light perspectives. Too many things going on, and I'm losing focus. As colors signify moods and emotions, I'm pretty much overloading on the whole spectrum every day.

Most days I come home tired and drained, and fall asleep feeling defeated. I wake up the next day hoping for the best; for the nearest I can get to a clean slate. Then the day comes at me again and before I notice, I'm stuck in the cycle.

But it's fine, I guess. I'll find a way around it, I always do.

We are all are light and dark, in our own ways. We all have the potential for goodness and positivity, yet we are at the same time inevitably flawed.

The thing about black and white is that they both are overloaded with the whole spectrum. One simply chooses to reflect it, seeing it as an opportunity to exude brightness, while the other keeps everything in, trapping the light.

Having choices is freaking difficult. And as we've all heard at some point, our life depends on what we choose make of our circumstances. No wonder life is such a pain in the ass. We'll just have to deal with it, then. If we make enough good choices, maybe we'll even turn into prisms and achieve states of rainbow-shitting happiness (very similar to Maslow's concept of self-actualization, except this has hints of substance abuse).

[Okay, I think I just pushed the analogy off the cliff. Don't mind that last bit. Just stay happy, folks.]

Friday, September 3, 2010

Torre Lorenzo

September 1, 2010

I'm in Torre Lorenzo, with a sudden amount of free time. I was supposed to be on an all-morning date, but something came up. Three hours to kill, and nothing to do. I'd brought no laptop, no books—not even paper, save for my psychology reviewers. So I'm living out the ultimate writer's cliche—scribbling on coffee shop napkins, and basically trying look artsy fartsy. 

I'm just kiddding about that last part. I look nothing like an artsy fartsy, mysterious writer—if anything, I look sleep deprived and too small to be a college senior. Anyway, what was going to talk about? Oh yeah, Starbucks Torre Lorenzo.

I figured I've never done a blog about places before, and if we're talking about favorites than this definitely tops the list. I know, Hollywood and the endless stream of rich kids have made coffee shops overrated. But Sb Torre and I go a long way back.

I first became acquainted with the place in high school. I grew up in a school in Vito Cruz, and Starbucks was my usual source of treats for my girlfriend, or of payments for lost bets. Don't get me wrong—I'm no rich kid, though. I still see this as overpriced coffee. (Side note: actually, my wallet /was/ actually considerably thicker back then—now I seem to be stuck in a financial crisis all the time).
I remember this one time, I was with some of our high school faculty members. I'd developed an unlikely friendship with one of my teachers, and I remember how good it felt to be able to talk and laugh with those teachers without being the target of petty gossip. I haven't talked to that particular friend in a while, and Starbucks always reminds me of how much fun we used to have. A love of coffee was one of the things we had in common, and one of the things we immediately agreed on—even though she'd always, always disagree with me, just for the sake of disagreement. Despite the eleven-year age gap, she treated me more or less like an adult, a real friend whom she could trust with real issues and problems. I actually kind of miss her.
Torre Lorenzo also played host to various rendezvous with various friends, even with my college friends. We would take the jeepney ride from Faura to Vito Cruz. Starbucks Rob just doesn't have the same feel—it's always full of foreigners and their "exotic" dates. Dates and meet-ups with my girlfriend also end up here when we run out of ideas, or time, since it's nearby. Aside from the usual dearth of seats, Torre never fails.

But what I love most about this place is the time I get to spend here by myself. During moments like this one, when I 'm bored, I go here. People-watching is always fun. I'd sit at the long tables fronting Taft or Vito Cruz, and watch passerby. I'd think up stories for them. I'd never actually written down any, I just suck at finishing stories. But really, it makes for a relaxing time-killer.

Also, whenever I feel frustrated, I turn to coffee instead of alcohol. It's harder on the pocket, but I'm sure my liver will thank me for it later on. And besides, drinking alone makes me even more depressed. Alone time here just makes me relaxed, then sleepy after a while.
October 17, 2009
Another flashback, to almost a year ago. I'd planned a surpise which had miserably failed. I was worn out from all the relationship stress and I didn't know what else to do. I hung out here for around three hours, until I felt better. I wrote, I read, I texted my friends. That, for me, was the defining moment of my coffee-fueled relationship with this place. Okay, weird. Maybe it's just the coffee—it actually makes me sleepy.
And then there's this last thing about the place—they never get my name right. They've generated more nicknames for me than all my friends and relatives ever have. I've been dubbed RG, RJ, AG, Arjie, Arci, and Liza, among others.

That is, except for today. They finally got my name right. Well, granted that the barista asked me about the spelling, it's still a first. I think my favorite coffee shop is starting to like me back.


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