I caught it again. No, let me rephrase that for I constantly have opposing ideas in my head that I’m convinced I actually have more personalities than what I used to believe. After all, it would be nice to follow a writing idol’s way of referring to herself.

We caught it again; the zombie sickness. Of course I’m not referring to the sleeping sickness ’cause it’s not at all cool but a sickness I coined for myself back in college before the world got sort of crazy with anything related to zombies. It’s that compulsion to walk aimlessly to calm one’s mind by thinking of other things when in fact there’s actually a tendency of creating more problems by doing such a thing. But we need it once in a while so we let ourselves be consumed by it.

Our excuse this time was to buy ourselves a planner which we happen to have lived without for more than a year now. Something which could have made us consider the excuse too lame if not for the fact that we’re managing a project now, got tighter deadlines, a team to check on, and more time management challenges to deal with at work. We let it pass as an excuse and headed to the shopping center feeling lousy with what we’re wearing as our brains wouldn’t cooperate with us in dressing ourselves more appreciably.

We went to National Bookstore; it’s the only bookstore near our place that sell planners. It’s near middle of the year and we know that buying a planner at this time can be a bit stupid but we already knew what we wanted, a Blogberry. Yes it sounds like the mobile phone. It’s a planner from Stradmore Notes meant for students. Given that and the start of the Philippine academic calendar, the planner starts on June which makes it perfect in our case.

But once there, a small leather bound planner caught our eyes. It had three small notebooks inside; one that functions as a task/appointment list notebook, one that is ruled and meant for more detailed notes, and one that has totally empty pages ideal for sketches and diagrams. It costs P590 which we could happily spare for a planner if it was practical. The notebooks were thin so we asked a sales assistant if refills are available. She said yes and proceeded to offer equally small notebooks that clearly do not function like the notebooks that come with the planner. We quickly declined before the question “Are you f*cking serious?” appeared on our faces.

We spotted only one Blogberry which is meant for academic year 2013-14. We asked the sales assistant for an AY 2014-15 version but she offered the one that we found. Clearly she’s not aware that AY 2013-14 ends this month. We left the place fighting the urge to do cartwheels on our way out. FYI, that’s the feeling we get when we find things incredibly stupid. We want to blend in with the stupidity by doing cartwheels in inappropriate places. In the end we bought two blank notebooks the size of our passport for only P70 from the department store.

We didn’t want to go home yet so we walked around some more. We went to Booksale but there was this lame fashion show going on in front of it that probably made book lovers want to throw tacky books at the stage and leave at once. We lost our interest in hanging around there and went back to National Bookstore to check out books. We went to Arts and Photography section but nothing convinced us to part with our hundred peso bills. We moved to Philippine Literature section but there was really nothing there but a shelf of tacky novels. Yes it is a subjective claim. We are aware of the marketability of these novels and the practicality of selling them compared to works of other Filipino authors that make a lot more sense but it’s still saddening that Philippine Literature is somehow now represented by these novels. It’s very like the movies nowadays as pointed out by Ms. Celia Rodriguez in Jessica Zafra‘s podcast. One can no longer take acting seriously now. If one goes for quality, the movie won’t sell to the masses. If one goes for sales, then the movie shall most likely lack quality.

Feeling quite desperate we dropped by the Self-help books section. We are currently nursing a broken heart so we thought maybe we can use some advice. We were so wrong. The smiles plastered on faces of the people on the covers made us think they need more help than us.

We checked out Business section next. We enjoyed some books of the type before but we doubted if our minds are prepared for them at the moment. We left.

On our way home, we realized we did not really want to read anything. We wanted distraction. We wanted a shallow sense of accomplishment. One can quickly progress in a book. An hour of reading can already reveal a good part of the story. Such a thing never happens in real life.

We are not feeling well. This zombie sickness is just a secondary result of something more serious. One can offer to sit down and talk about it but it wouldn’t be that easy for us. Our brains must be wired differently (we are always ready to call ourselves plants) and that difference made us believe that generally, hell is other people. Maybe we could use attention but it is of a very specific kind. If we spot a minor flaw, we’d be out the door in no time. In addition, we’re too cynical to believe that someone out there would actually want to help us.

So we fix ourselves or maybe try to do so by being kind or polite to other people, particularly those we clearly have no reason to hate like strangers. That should explain why we go out at times like these. We attempt to get that needed dose of real affection by gathering smiles and thanks that we are sure are meant for us. At night when we retire to our room it could get both happy and sad. But we are a one-man army  and one-man armies are the most perseverant if not the strongest. So yeah we won’t talk about it… but we love free hugs. -aB

Featured Image by: ~Justinian

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