7/15/2015
An everlasting education

"Gusto ko 'yung panahon na may nakikita akong naka-camiso de chino tapos basketball shorts sa SDA and not being ironic," Anna tells me. "Nakaganun siyang outfit, pero his laptop was Alienware, and kasing-price ng one year tuition ang cost nun."

"Too bad," I answer. "Those days are over."

"Glad I'm not a student anymore, then."

"But we're all being schooled by these kids on how to live..."

And then I stopped myself, because I knew it was something I could write about.

The basics: I am a 26-year-old, and I am in constant denial. I refuse to accept, usually without tacitly acknowledging it, that the world is no longer my oyster. I am no longer in that sweet spot when I can know everything I've wanted to know, and meet everyone I needed to meet, without looking like an idiot, or a kiss-ass, or both. Oh, squandered opportunities. I didn't spend my youth going out with friends; conveniently, it was (and still is) difficult for me to go home from wherever in Metro Manila once the clock hits ten in the evening. I spent a lot of time reading up on useless things, like the history of British radio, or subtle shifts in geopolitics. Now, I'm just a nerd nobody would choose to interact with.

These kids, however, well, now they're experts. They know more than us. They know more than we ever will. And they're not afraid to let us know how much we have wasted.

"Saan mo gustong mag-birthday?" my dad asks my brother over lunch. He's turning 20 in eleven days.

"Kahit fishball na lang sa tabi-tabi," he answers.

I'm not sure if he is kidding or not. He isn't.

"Bilhan n'yo na lang ako ng PlayStation 4," he adds. "Mga 20K siguro? May extra controller na 'yun."

He is obviously trying to sweeten the deal. To be fair, he would mostly play basketball on the console, and my dad would likely want to get in on the act, too.

My sister turns to me. "Dapat pala ganoon ginawa natin dati," she quips, a sheepish smile on her face.

"Kaya nga eh," I answer, thinking of just how expensive the phone I am paying for with my own money is.

My brother turns to my sister. "Bakit nga ba hindi n'yo ginawa 'yun?" he asks. I'm not sure if he's still trying to be funny, or if he's being a prick.

"Kasi noon, marami pa kaming pinag-aaral," she answers. A fair point: her first year in college was my final year in college. My brother was smack in the middle of high school. That is not cheap. Also, while we did hope for gifts, we seemed to be happy with dinner at a different restaurant, and maybe a book or a CD. Then again, we were geeks of a different kind.

As it stands now, only my brother is studying. He's graduating in October. His last birthday dinner was a buffet at a fancy hotel; the only thing I remember from it is seeing Heart Evangelista in person and realizing her face is puny. He hasn't taken public transport to school for almost a year, choosing to drive instead. Granted, he is coming off from a pretty serious knee injury, but it's been a year, and he's stopped therapy (even if he shouldn't), and he still insists on bringing a car to everything, so much so that I have to consider him if I have to bring the car to work-related things.

Then again, remember the basics. I am a 26-year-old, and I am in constant denial. I refuse to accept, usually without tacitly acknowledging it, that the world is no longer my oyster. I am no longer in that sweet spot when I can know everything I've wanted to know, and meet everyone I needed to meet, and have everything I claim to need to have, without looking like an idiot, or a kiss-ass, or both. But to me, that sort of thing, while occasionally painful, is normal. We're not supposed to have everything. But these kids demand that they do.

He doesn't pay for the gas, by the way.

All those thoughts (and the fact that I had one earphone plugged in) mean I don't remember how the rest of the exchange went, but my brother came out of it the asshole.

"Kawawa naman kayo," he tells my sister.

"Anong sabi mo?" my sister hits back.

I was really just going to rant about how kids nowadays think they're experts. Sure, it's a different age. We were experts too at their age; we just didn't all have the means to show it off. I only had dial-up Internet in high school, and admittedly, even after I graduated from college. (Yes. I managed.) I wrote a blog, but never really used it as a pedestal. (I think. It's been ten years.) Now I see so-called blogging experts actually write posts teaching people how to blog. "Google loves mobile-friendly blogs," one might read, cheerfully, "so make your layout responsive!" the irony being that the blog you're reading it in is not responsive, and is therefore not mobile friendly. And yet that passes off as expertise. At least you look like it.

I thought that was the extent of what I will write today, after that aborted Twitter exchange with Anna. But no. Apparently I have lived my life the wrong way.

Granted, I'm a 26-year-old who's deeply insecure about my place in the world, or the lack of it.

And your responses...

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