A Blogging Monday for a Middle-Aged Im/Migrant

Mondays are for blogging as far as I am concerned.

Given a choice between taking my dayoff on a Saturday or a Monday, I chose the beginning of each work week to work on my blog. To think, to regenerate, to renew.

Mondays are for meditation. I am an im/migrant even of the workplace.

No enslaving work on Mondays, please, I tell myself and had that thought 'mental telepathized' to my Japanese boss.

He undertood the energy of my creative rage.

He looked at my employment documents and said, in a Japanese accent only a Japanese could do justice to, the way only Filipinos could come up with that distinct Filipino English accent even Simon Cowell could not do however much he tries, 'Ok, ok, no work Mondays, ha! Got you, but why?'

Oh, I got to meditate each Monday, I tell him, still through telephy, and I mind you minding my own im/migrant business.

And so this: no serious stuff on Mondays, unless migrant life has decreed that to enjoy the beginning of the work week by not working for that starvation wage you get at the end of the day is a mortal sin like that Catholic church's 'to-kneel-or-to-not-kneel' brouhaha in Huntington Beach down here.

At the consecration of the bread-and-wine, at that trans-signification/ trans-symbolization (read here: trans-substantiation is so pre-Vatican II, if you have not known that yet!)in St Rose of Lima church in Chula Vista, we all kneeled, we the praying and believing congregation kneeled to contemplate on the mysteries of the ultimate sacrifice of the saving victim the Christ.

So this Monday, you wake up full of joy, filled with the prospect of a week with much promise for grace.

You turn on your laptop to listen to the Benedictine monks with their "Qui meditabitur."

You remember your own chanting with your small community of religious missionaries in the 80's, those days when many seminaries, novices, convents, and religious houses were raided by the dreaded military intelligence, the young soldiers of a regime that promised so much redemption by way of revolution.

The young soldiers, fresh from the confines of the military academy, had so much to prove to the regime. Pakitang gilas, they were dogs on the loose, in search of the prey.

They were sent to the best military school of the country courtesy of people's money so they could become the guardians of the people and country.

And now, here they were, raiding one seminary in Novaliches, another religious house in another place, arrested this father superior of this activist religious community--or the rumor mill in the religious communities went around so fast.

There were no emails then.

There were no cellphones that can command adherents to democratic causes to mass up instantly in EDSA and save the republic from useless harm from the useless elements.

Like what happened to EDSA II.

I did not understand the clear connection between revolution and redemption then during the first-ever regime of terror that lasted for almost twenty years.

Now I know better, as the regime was right with the premises of its hallucinations of a promised new day coming to all Filipinos while many were allowed to leave for other lands, there to nurse their own wounds only exile could gift.

These were the same hallucinations the Erap presidency would repeat two decades after, one of the key reasons for his ouster from power.

So Filipinos were going on exile during that regime.

But even before that, we have been going on exile.

The pre-Spanish natives produced merchants and commerce men and trade experts.

The colonial Filipinos run away to Europe to understand the meaning of grandeur and grandstandng.

Yes, the wounds of exile are a gift.

They make you remember the country you have left behind with the angled lens a temporary outsider and from that angled lens, you come to see, you come to see differently--you come to realize, you come to realize differently.

You do not wonder now why wandering and wondering could be close cousins, perhaps twins of the mind tormented by the uncertainty of possibilities: for to wander is to keep on wondering and to wonder is to keep on wandering.

There, there, the exile in your way of rationalization of things, your unique way of putting together a logical picture of your scheme of things.

So each Monday is sacred to you, no matter what.

For three Mondays now, you have the whole morning only for you and for your thoughts.

There are no phone calls, no emails, no letters, no nothing to worry but your thoughts, how to commit them on your gaping and gawking computer screen, how you organize them, imagine some sense in the words you are taking from your vocabulary of the possible, from your grammar of the meaningful because it makes sense.

You sit down to write the first piece, just the title in the beginning.

You always begin with titles, play their sounds, get intoxicated by their sonic offerings, the sounds coming into an innuendo of their contexts or their lack.

Once more, you toy with one title over another, experiment with the power each title suggests.

You choose.

You can not use the tricks of teenagers like your children, with their enthused notion of the linguistic.

You remind yourself that you are a middle aged im/migrant with the duty to write a book on im/migrant misadventures, the book that will restate the story of Carlos Bulosan more than 50 years ago.

Or so you promised you teacher Bien Lumbera in your letter to him thanking him for accepting the invitation to give the keynote address at your Nakem Centennial Conference in Honolulu.

You start to type the title: 'Untitled as of yet'.

This is the way you enjoy your Monday: you enjoy it to the fullest with no worries.

You deserve a day, a morning, a break, a respite, a retreat for yourself.

Mondays have their own salutary effects on wondering minds and wandering souls enroute from place to non-place in search of a stable placement.

A. S. Agcaoili
Torrance, CA
June 12, 2006

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