Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Friday, November 05, 2010

Saan Na Nga Ba Ang Barkada Ngayon?

In my early youth I didn’t have that many friends. I knew well enough not to stick out like a sore thumb—that was the fastest way to get bullied. I had to blend in and be one with the general crowd. I kept my head down and looked for classmates like me: somewhat quiet, a little more studious than the usual (as opposed to the more sporty kind), and very much ordinary. Find an acceptable box, fit in it.

Before grade 5 it was easy for me to stay under the radar because I only made individual friends. But then I got into the honors class, and suddenly I found a barkada. We were 8 all in all. We were the brainy but not sporty ones. In the beginning, I was wary; having a group meant that we’d be associated with one another, and we clearly were neither the jocks nor the popular ones. But we were the smartest and the most artistic ones in class. So the others knew well enough not to antagonize any of us whom they could assign as leaders in our group projects. They needed us.

During reading of honors, 5 would often be first honors, one would sometimes be first, often second honors, another one would be often second honors, sometimes honorable mention, while I often would be sometimes honorable mention, sometimes not mentioned at all (to be fair, I almost grazed the underbelly of second honors in one quarter). One was very musically inclined, composing and writing songs. Four of us would join the high school theater group. And while we all did not excel in sports, three of us became very good at playing the gayest of sports, volleyball; two actually made it to the high school varsity team.

And none of us ever had a girlfriend during our student days. Only one came this close in college to ever seriously consider dating a girl (as opposed to just going out on one date). But the Lord had other plans; our friend was killed during our first year college.

Then we graduated.

Now we’re all in our 40s. Three are certifiably straight: one married, one divorced, and one still single and married to his job. Two are certifiably gay, both with books out. Two others are still single; but if you were to ask me if either of them plays for our team, my answer would be, “Officially no; but it will not surprise me if I am wrong.” No one among us has had the courage or the chutzpa to raise or even hint at the issue to either one. But then again, we’re at that age wherein ambiguity has lost its ability to confuse and to scare. Now we know better than to pigeonhole ourselves. Our group stats are ever changing.

But one day, we will all have the same status as our kabarkada back in first year college.


somelostboy said...

I remember playing that song 3 years ago when my high school barkada started to fall apart. But then again, I guess it would be nice to look at those petty misunderstanding years from now.

And oh, I always wondered how it feel like to be in an all guy barkada:)

Anonymous said...

I guess I would dare to say that we have all followed our own paths toward happiness and fulfillment, no matter where it has led us geographically. I do miss our camaraderie.