The weather's slowly turned chilly; you see more and more people out with their jackets, and there's a crispness in the air, like the slow, silent crumbling of Graham crackers, or the slow popping of popcorn in the microwave. But you can't hear it.
Out there, in the street, there's gaiety and fanfare, without really being fanfare because fanfare is always planned. The kid carolers, knocking on your door and throwing rocks when you act the scrooge. Bright lights, big city lights, all throughout the avenues, and you know that just down the street from the church you can pick up a steaming bibingka or puto bumbong with niyog and luscious butter.
In the pulpit, the priests are getting ready, celebrating the reason for the season and telling us that the son of God is at hand. On the other hand, stores have advertisements and hawkers telling everybody that Christmas means a variety of sales from both retail and wholesale just so you can make your loved ones smile maybe just a little bit more.
In the television, even the Catholic channels have advertisements.
If there were snow here, you'd see more couples walking slowly, arm-in-arm, enjoying the added proximity given by the need of warmth. It's a good thing it seldom rains in Christmas, at least here.
Funny isn't it? How in the midst of all this cheer, all it takes is a moment to stop and think, and to look inside of yourself and the realization that while you're happy, there's no avoiding that gaping hole of something that sits on your chest, keeping you from really saying that hey, it's the holiday.
It's the holiday.
That doesn't mean you're not happy. Happiness is multi-layered and while it takes a little bit of effort to expose the innermost bulb, it doesn't take much to get the tears flowing.
Tears fall to the ground at the rate of at least ten centimetres per second. Dusk comes in at approximately thirty minutes earlier at eight hours on the GMT. It takes a second for an instant message from across the globe to reach my computer. And yet, time marches on slowly.
In a couple of weeks, Christmas is over. In a few minutes, your bank account is a couple hundred pesos poorer. In a second, a tequila shot is gone, and after a five-second period of time when you slice a block of cheese, you have just taken away approximately 1% of the entire cheese.
1% in 5 seconds.
200 in 5 minutes.
2009 in 11 days.
And what changes?
Again this year, the days leading up to the holidays I greet with a stiff glass of Jim Beam and a poker face. I don't know how you celebrate your holidays folks, but Merry Christmas, for your sakes.