Thursday, June 07, 2007

Looking back

Reunions are always the perfect time to reconnect with your past and remember the good times. Recently, I went to a college block reunion (one of the few ones I willingly attended) and am amazed to find out that not much has changed. It's just like yesterday when we graduated. Everyone looked quite the same, save for the goody goodies who have acquired vices (so now they understand the reasons for frequent restroom breaks and meetings in the pocket gardens).

It's great to find out that most of us are quite happy where we are now - pursuing the same path we thought we'd take in college. We're all in the same industry, though differing in fields. Two of my blockmates are DJs, two are helping out with their family businesses, one is finishing her masteral degree, one is in film production, and another in TV prod. Most are in advertising and I'm the only one in PR. They were surprised. They always thought I'd become a clown or comedian. I couldn't remember what the rest did... (sorry, short term memory loss!)

College was fun (x 10 million times). It was when I felt most free and at the same time responsible. Imagine living in a condo with five highschool friends (the eliazo dorm wasn't an option- we didn't want to deal with curfews and guardians; bedspacing wasn't an option either - it's not really fun to live with people you don't know). The freedom was overwhelming. Suddenly, nobody told me what to do, when to eat, what to eat, that I should sleep, take a bath... on the downside, though, nobody cooked. Breakfast wasn't ready when I awoke and there was no dinner when I went home. During the first few months, we'd clean our 'home' religiously. We swept the floor every other night, defrosted the fridge every other week, washed the dishes as used (among other things) but eventually, we found more things to do and had not much time for housekeeping. So our house helpers took turns every weekend to do the cleaning (especially the bathroom because this is one of my pet peeves). For the first time in our lives, we were managing our household. We bought furniture, scheduled the 'servicing' of the airconditioner, stocked up on groceries, hired plumbers to fix the clogs, cooked (and got burns), changed light bulbs, and endured black outs (condo's generators only serviced the main halls and common areas). My housemates and I, although we've known each other for more than 8 years having attended primary and secondary school together, had developed an even deeper relationship because in our little household, we only had each other. When I'd go home late or leave early, when I'm not eating dinner at 'home', I'd have to send a message to four other people.

I was sleep-deprived, especially throughout the last two college years. A typical day for me started around 8:30 am (I joined the reg committee so I can control my schedule). I lazed around, watched TV, looked for something to eat, reviewed my notes. I went to school around 10. Classes ended around 5. I hung out in school some more, went home around 6 p.m., slept, woke up around 9. Then the comm duo picked me up (and whoever wanted to join) and we either saw a movie in Rockwell or had some drinks along Katipunan. Home around 2, opened my notes and studied a bit... go to sleep by 4 or 5... but it was all good. I had to justify the costs of living in a condo by studying hard. This motivated me to excel more and to learn to balance my school and social life.

We had a penchant for unconventional gifts back then. When someone turned 18, we didn't want to give her something we bought from the mall or wherever. It had to be something totally unique. So for the first debutant, I got her a cone. Not an ice cream cone or just any other cone. It was one of those orange cones they use to line up the roads or as markers in parking areas. I snatched one of them one evening in the Meralco offices along Ortigas avenue and spray painted my message. For some reason, it ended up like an 'exclusive' gift, something like a coat of arms for elite families. If you get one on your debut, you're automatically initiated in an exclusive circle of friendship (now, that's really silly!). So, my friends and I got cones (got - in tagalog, nenok) from Greenbelt (the parking lots were new then, and so the cones were bright and shiny), Skyway, and the most expensive one I got from Mandarin Hotel when my friend dared me in my drunken stupor (unlike the others which are made of plastic, this one is rubberized). But that was several years ago. If you dare me to take one now, I'd probably chicken out.

Looking back, I know I had so much fun. And I may never ever have the chance to do all the crazy things I did so I'm glad I made the most out of my time in college.

As an entertainment columnist puts it: The best things in life are not things. :-)