Friday, September 26, 2008

A new kind of indifferent

The other week I saw a McDo crew member outside his branch across Edsa Central, w/ family & friends around him, taking pictures of him in his clean uniform on his 1st day of work. Smiles were wide. A woman I figure to be the mother dabbed the corners of her eyes w/ a tissue. I couldn't help but smile at the day's news.

One of my favorite teachers from college required us to write reactions to 2 local columnists every week. Others dreaded the assignment; I found it a chore at times. But I insisted on the value of the exercise. 

More than just a practice of writing, it was an exercise in being up to date w/ the goings-on. And coupled w/ my insistence on presenting personal thoughts in valid analytical frameworks, I became my version of a responsible citizen -- upholding my duty to be concerned w/ the issues in an extensive way.

But I now skip the Inquirer as daily reading, & settle w/ The New York Times & The New Republic, mostly for updates on the US presidential elections -- as if those things affected me more than whatever it is that dominates the front pages of the Bulletin these days. 

The other day I watched 'the news' & listened to a comparison made between Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin & the proverbial slutty-teacher figure. "She'll win votes from those who want to fantasize fucking her!" said the 'newscaster.' A day later I edited an article where an Aquino is mentioned; I Googled to check if he's the 1 who's a senator.

This morning I arrived at work & went straight online to Yup, Pumaren's pissed as I'd thought he'd be. Headline: "2M kilos of Chinese milk sold in RP stores." I closed the window & chat with an officemate whose head rested on his desk. His wife is due in a week; the thought of providing for a kid comes w/ too much worry.

So I'm working now, interacting w/ real working people, w/ real issues, real concerns. I know, on a much deeper level, the word on the street, the sweat of the common man, his odor, his armpits all up on my face as I beg for air riding home on the train. When I ride a cab, my nods to the driver's musings are more pronounced, as if to say I finally truly understand what he means, cuz I too have all these adult obligations.

So months after graduating, I've slowly morphed into what I thought I'd never become -- apathetic, hiding behind excuses: sumusunod naman ako sa batas; may respeto naman ako sa kapwa kong tao. 

But the truth is that I've lost touch w/ the issues, the seemingly abstract conundrums that lead to the palpable grief I see firsthand. I've clumped all institutions-related problems together as a generic whole, reducing understanding to generalizations, & most unfortunately, begun to accept things at the top as as is, unworthy of my attention cuz of my smaller, working man concerns.

Sure, I'm more in touch, issues I've mused over now seemingly more tangible. But that has made me, in a way, a new kind of indifferent. And in this light, I finally, truly, get it... this... this mess.


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