Thursday, August 27, 2009

Marking Time

Only for forty-somethings, or those who feel like forty-somethings. ;-P

"Marking Time" by Dogberry, an essay on entering the four-oh's. An excerpt:

Last year my fortieth birthday came and went, and just a few weeks ago my forty-first birthday whizzed past too. So far I am happy to report that I have not gone out and bought a shiny new saxophone or an expensive sports car, or hooked up with a skinny 22-year-old model.

I remember welcoming the arrival of the year in which I officially would become a fortysomething with the enthusiasm one reserves for visits to the dentist or to one’s in-laws, or to one’s dentist who also happens to be an in-law. In my mind I was okay with the arrival of the big Four-O. But as the weeks went by and the fateful day approached, I became increasingly anxious. What exactly was bugging me? I thought I had made my peace with one’s inexorable march toward old age (assuming I got there in one piece) and ultimately oblivion. Friends tried to console me. “Fifty is the new forty,” one said, which only made me anxious about one more thing, the big Five-O that loomed in the distance. “You don’t look a day over thirty-seven,” chuckled another, which should have been funny because it’s something I might have said. Nothing made me feel better.

My wife, sensing the arrival of one of my dark moods (during which I am absolutely no fun to be around), suggested a trip out of town. So just a few minutes after the clock had struck twelve on the inevitable day, we were on an express bus to Baguio, and I was trying in vain to get some sleep. We arrived at five in the morning, and I’d forgotten how cold it could be up in this mountain city. One’s amorphous angst is easily overcome by whip-slappingly cold air.

One of the images from that day that has stayed with me: sitting in a restaurant on Session Road looking out a window at a hazy, rainswept afternoon while the smell of bangus sinigang and sizzling pusit filled my nostrils. It was a Saturday in the middle of August. For someone who hadn’t been to Baguio in years, and whose trips always coincided with summer, the wet weather felt strange, as if I had walked into a house a day too late for a party. I wondered, as we ate our hot lunch in the middle of the afternoon (we napped from mid-morning till past noon), if this—the rain, the overcast sky, the sight of people huddled under the awning just outside the window to keep dry—meant anything.

Click here to read the whole piece.


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