Friday, August 15, 2014

Here's to solitary dining

Cab Cafe usually serves its coffee in a paper cup, even if you're dining in. Ask for a mug--the coffee tastes just the same and you save on paper and plastic stirrer. Photos by Babeth Lolarga

Because we all need somebody to talk to, somebody that will listen, somebody that understands.” - a tweet from Inspirational Quotes

Often I find myself talking to whoever just happens to be reading this blog or past blog entries after he/she accidentally "hits" it in search of something else. Other times I share the day's content out there to friends and family who give a word or two of encouragement. 

Otherwise, I talk to myself most of, if not, all the time. I do the talking not too loudly though. Otherwise, my frenemies suspicions about my eccentricity, a.k.a. weirdness, will be confirmed. And there are some people out there who delight in others pratfalls. It is not a kind world, unfortunately for the sensitive.

Where was I before the taho vendor’s cries interrupted my concentration? I’m supposed to make a strong pitch for the occasional meal enjoyed with oneself, not with some Other (be it partner, child, grandchild, parent, sibling or friend). I call it a form of decompressing so I don’t suffer from what divers call “bends” when resuming my routine and becoming a social being again.

Yesterday from late morning to apres-lunch, I was with kindred spirits or fellow cultural workers. One of them referred to ourselves as alipin ng sining (slaves to art and culture). I always bristle like a porcupine when I hear the word alipin. I like to correct the phrase, to think of ourselves as “art warriors in aid of peace.”

But even warriors need a rest day. No, it’s only Friday today, and there are two more writing deadlines to be met. These deadlines are largely self-imposed, but I want to meet them in the quickest, most efficient way possible. 

For me to do that, I must decompress first the way a diver must go up slowly from the depths of the ocean lest he/she suffer from the bends and get paralyzed. So after that meeting-cum-coverage-cum-interview-cum-shared meal, I headed home but stopped over at good ole reliable Cab Café on East Capitol Drive, Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig. I was desperately in need of a caffeine fix to stay awake and finish a hanapbuhay article. The cake chiller was tempting, but I’m always careful about my sugar intake. 

There was a slice of cherry “cheesecake.” It had no cream cheese in it. Deceptive, right? Instead, the sumptuous red cherries that sported a come-hither look were sitting on a lump of yogurt, the yogurt sat grandly like a princess on a round savory biscuit. Think crown, think princess, think throne. 

Whoever in the kitchen-bakery thought of this must be congratulated. I’ve always had a taste for the sour (okay, here’s where you make jokes about my increasingly sour disposition).

Hurray for “decompression chambers”, those way stations between being a social being and being a completely solitary person once one returns home to face an empty Microsoft Word page, a throbbing cursor, a waiting angel (or devil) that one must wrestle down to keep the flow of words going and going without disappearing.

P.S. My bill didn't even exceed P200, and I got the drafting and writing done before midnight. Oy vey!
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