In the taut days after a family member was rushed to the hospital after a mild stroke, I was shaken by the gulf between the lofty-sounding things (professionally, cultural capital) that I appear to have and how they mean absolutely nothing in the real world. Nothing. Incessant was the refrain, part self-censure, part frustration at our capitalist nightmare of a healthcare system: I shouldn’t be broke after just one thing, not at my age, not after all this time, the simple, steady life I have spent years trying to build for myself slowly receding from view. In the oppressive backseat of a taxi stuck somewhere in Boni Serrano, in between one of the countless errands I had to run, I remember thanking the traffic for the lull, the pause, the blessed in-between during w/c nothing (more) can go wrong because nothing can happen. The day after he was discharged from the hospital and, caught by surprise, we scrambled to look for help, I turned 37 to greetings from well-meaning friends who didn’t know. Close to 5pm, I excused myself from the world and had been preparing to go online for my grad class when the power at home died. Of course. That night, exhausted after yet another trip to the pharmacy, I entertained the thought of ordering Koomi to punctuate the cursed 24 hours, some feel-good yogurt to end the sitcom / indie short of a day, not unlike Jaclyn Jose’s epiphanic fishballs. It’s been a month, shorter than usual because February, and normalcy appears to peek from behind the haze (the help we found, truly heaven-sent). But what is normalcy? I’ve cancelled a free Hong Kong trip. I’ve applied for a credit card. I’ve taken a copyediting job for a journal. I’ve postponed plans to get the unit professionally deep-cleaned. I pray that my five-year-old laptop has another year in it. The sheer myopia created by material precarity. The disquiet. The care. We took up Kafka last week in class. The first time that Gregor calmed down that unquiet morning was when he overheard his parents telling Grete to call a doctor and a locksmith. When, in other words, he thought that help was on the way. ‘He felt himself drawn once more into the human circle.’ To be human is to partake cake-like in the suffering is the facile idea here. Or perhaps Borges’s only semi-facile ‘My humanity is in feeling we are all voices of the same poverty.’ Or better yet vexed RuPaul calling out, ‘Cue the sniper.’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.*