I thought it was a working day. I walked back to the terminal to catch a bus home – or to wherever I was going – when I saw the old woman carrying the cake, wrapped in ribbons, placed in a red box. She didn’t look like a little old lady who can afford cake. Maybe some kind soul gave her the cake. Or maybe looks can be deceiving, and that her barefoot, gaunt, and frail body actually has some deep pockets, and can afford the cake.
And all I taught her was everything
I know she gave me all that she wore
Now my bitter hands chafe beneath the clouds of what was everything
The pictures have all been washed in black, tattooed everything
Long weekends are boring. Imagine long years of boredom.
I wouldn’t begrudge Ninoy Aquino the benefit of a holiday, and I happen to agree with This Government’s idea of “holiday economics” (yes, that’s the sound of the seven seals). The long weekend – with one coming up next week – has turned me into a bored man on edge.
Centuries ago, though, a bored man turned to ink, paper, and a whole lot of free time, and wrote something forever immortalized in history as one of the best books ever written. So good, you probably never heard of it.
The Japanese monk Kenko spent his bored days in the monastery writing essays, and compiled them into the Tsurezuregusa, or the Essays in Idleness. I like to think of it as the first blog ever made. The story has it that when he was not meditating, Kenko spent a lot of time hunched over his parchment pieces and his inkwell, and wrote down his thoughts on whatever came to mind. The end result was 243 essays on his reflections and meditations on random themes about life, nature, and general mindfuckery.
Of course, this was the year 13-something-something.