Having wrenched myself away from the secure comforts of home and hearth in Northern California, I am now three months into another extended sabbatical in the land of my birth, immersed again in a life rendered quite removed and different from three decades of living in the adopted country.
Though eternally busy in dealing with all the ennui of the arcane chores of daily living in the old hometown, certain precious times are still available for eking out moments of quiet introspection and reflection into the profundities of life.
Like the eternally relevant and mind-challenging question:
What the hell am I doing here when I should be scouring the pleasure spots of the world trying to find pleasure, what else, in the kind of life most of us work very hard all our productive lives to aspire for and attain?
Or the trite and more mundane query into:
Why does the unbearable heat, humidity really, of the tropics not frustrate enough the people here to want to move to a more temperate climate – like in the mountains or to another country?
I am not a wise man neither am I a fool, as one of Elvis Presley’s’ songs goes. Thus, But what I am the way the good Lord made me, the song intones further.
First, sedentary retirement is not an option. In my quaint vocabulary to re-tire is likened to an automobile tire given new life, a retread. Retread for a more useful life. Retread to add more life to one already spent.
And beyond the sublime and surreal, there is the gaping need to try to recoup losses in physical resources such as a home and retirement resources such as pensions and 401ks which both have been equally decimated by the fortuitous onset of the global economic crisis.
So to the first question, everything is on hold. This would be the more appropriate option. And the old homeland still not reeling too much from the rippling effects of the global crisis would be a decent alternative in trying to generate some revenue for any business undertaking, or compound yields for financial assets that can be invested there.
Re the climate portion, indeed why do not people move? There are enough highland areas still uninhabited where heat-challenged people can ease in and enjoy life more, rather than constantly be warring against and always losing in the process with the irritating, debilitating, and paralyzing effects of intolerable heat especially in city or urban lowland living. Filipinos are indolent if this charge is factual for a reason. The heat can wreak havoc to the most industriously diligent human being. Man only takes so much heat. Try measuring the time one can bear to hold one’ hand over a lighted candle against the same action but this time with ice or anything cold. There is no contest.
As once proud residents of the San Francisco-Bay Area in the West Coast, we always prided ourselves on our sweater-weather climate. Any resident or guest desiring to spend time outdoors can almost always count that wearing a sweater would be sufficient enough apparel whether in the thick of summer or the throes of winter. Average temperature is almost always mild and changes are hardly perceptible.
But the sun in the tropics can beat on you mercilessly, whether sans apparel or wearing layers of clothing for protection. There is no escaping the intolerable effects of the hot and humid climate. Whether in the way it burns your skin or the resultant incessant sweat oozing out of our bodies. And this whether in the thick of summer or throes of the most wet wet season.
So there you go. Another abbreviated reflection session terminated, to live another day.
And I still live and the world around me continues to exist and spin.
Give due thanks to the Grand Designer.