1/08/2009
The damn what-ifs

My first umbrella was a good one. It felt sturdy and it covered a surprisingly wide area for a two-fold, but it was really big. The idea was for my umbrella to be easy to bring, something I could put in my bag and carry every time I go to work. The best I could do, however, was put two-thirds of it inside, with the handle sticking out of one corner of the bag. Still, it means it was easy to grab when it suddenly rains hard and I'm in the middle of the Ortigas Center, walking to the shuttles, or to anywhere else I have to go.

Perhaps that factor led to it getting lost at the start of the year.

My mother bought the umbrella, albeit temporarily: I had to pay around P350 when I got home. The new one costs a little over half that, but seemed to have the same qualities, or maybe better: the two-fold may be covering a smaller area than before, but at least I can put it inside my bag and not have the entire handle stick out. It feels less sturdy, though, but I don't think it'll suffer the fate of an umbrella I borrowed in the middle of the typhoon - it just broke up before I could even use it.

We've had disagreements since I lost the umbrella. She argued that it got lost because I insisted on bring it every single day, even if the weather reports don't indicate anything about rain. I argued that weather is unpredictable, something that I've proven to myself in many cases, when a sunny day in Bacoor turns out to be a dark rain cloud in Pasig. Still, she won the entire thing, by suggesting - and that's putting it gently - that I not bring my umbrella unless it's the rainy season. It was reasonable, I figured, so I did just that.

But here's where the weather became predictable: it started to rain. Yesterday there were just drizzles, nothing that my jacket - which I can bring every day, thankfully - couldn't handle. The rain drops were of the light variety, half-torrential but finer as compared to those days when classes are suspended and work isn't. Today, though, I was awake inside the shuttle to work and I thought that tomorrow could be my first rainy birthday. The highway was seriously wet. The rains were basically torrential.

I made it through without the jacket, thankfully, as the skies were merely gloomy in our office. As I felt my bag sway further from my shoulder - it was lighter, of course - I walked to the office and hoped not to step on a puddle, and not to see nothing from the window throughout the day. Inevitably, I wouldn't notice anything but the other employees look out of the windows, moving the blinds, and seeing nothing, and that's when I confirmed my worst fears for the day. The rains were, yeah, basically torrential.

"So you went to the office without an umbrella?" Adette suddenly asked.

"Yeah," I answered. "I have a jacket, but that wouldn't hold." I was now looking out the window, and all I can see were drops of rain that were blown off by the strong winds that characterize San Miguel Avenue. I felt my journalistic streak come in. "Rain outside seems to be torrential times twenty-three."

"Yup," she answered. "It's the same here in Makati."

Of course, I regretted not bringing my umbrella. I felt that it would rain, since there was some degree of precipitation yesterday, but thought the jacket could hold it. This time, I was stuck inside an office in the middle of the day, thinking about how I'll be able to get out and buy myself lunch. I was more worried about buying my lunch than getting home with as less moisture as possible.

"What if I buy food na?" I volunteered.

"If pwede, why not?" she asked.

"Well, for one I'll look ridiculous," I answered. It was ten minutes to eleven. Just ten minutes to eleven.

"Eh kaysa naman hindi ka makakain ng lunch mamaya dahil super lakas ng ulan," she argued. "Pero what if mamayang lunch time saka gumanda lalo yung weather, di ba?"

"Yun nga lang," I conceded. "The damn what-ifs."

The conversation ended before the top of the hour, and twenty minutes later, I found myself going down the building, jacket in shoulders and hood in head, to buy myself something. It was a drizzle that my jacket couldn't handle. Or a drizzle that didn't need a jacket, but you'll never know when you'll get caught in the rain. That never happened, even if I was stuck in line for a good twenty minutes.

I only ate lunch an hour after I got back, as I finished the last of my articles. There were two bags of fast food on our row of computers. A damn what-if right there.

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