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HONORING MY MOTHER | The continuing

Celebrations are over and in just a day’s time, it’s back to work for some uni workers. For others, especially those in the industrial sector, sorry there are no long vacays or breaks, just a squeeze of one simple dinner with the family, a little revelry to meet twelve o’clock midnight with neighbors, then perhaps a few drinks, Facebook greets, a few hours of sleep, and it’s back in the saddle again so to speak. Grind baby, grind.

In my tiny universe, it’s been a long-standing yearend joke with one friend of mine. Every December 31, we try to out-greet each other with our standard salutation of “Pasm”, our own made-up slang for the Visayan “pasmo”, referring to being overworked to the point of exhaustion, common among slaves. Not to fret, it’s slaves to our work, profession or passion, that is. That’s just plain and simple, griping while drowned in tasks because that’s what workers do.

But that’s just us. With the rest, New Year’s Eve is usually met with the formal greetings that are extended to friends and acquaintances; as common as the cold or when one meets another on the road. But take note, while in other countries, this custom of nodding and saying hello when one meets one on the street seem commonplace, it rarely happens here, except during the yule season. Something must be in the air during that time indeed.

During the December twenty-two monster traffic jam in the city, I spied jampacked commuters slowly frying in the tiny public vehicles we call the multi-cab. Still, in a few cabs, I saw people still managed to share a few laughs, with convos here and there and then smiles all around, despite the forty-plus something noontime heat. For them romantic emigres, they’d as easily conclude it’s just because of our lovable nature, or slaves that we are really. I maintain it must be because the Jose Mari Chan season is here and there’s definitely something that they put in the air.

That, until January one when the magic starts to fade. During my childhood, the first day of the year is always a bummer of sorts because deep down, you know school vacation is about to end and the brief extended playtime with neighbors (and crushes if any) has an expiration date and it’s ringing.

We’ve one tiny fam tradition that we go around the subdivision and share a little loot we’ve prepared with neighbors. Later, we’ve added the security detail at the uni nearby where the matey works. Doing the first leg every early evening of the 31st, one is met with excited and smiling faces, like that of small children receiving gifts. In comparison, the trek on the morning of the 1st is a bit different. While it’s expected that we’d be met with tired faces, the thrill appears gone and as I said, the magic starts to fade. Perhaps, like the children that we were long ago, they know the fun is about to end. The bell will ring anytime and it’s… waiting time again for the next yuletide season. Bring on ’25!


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