Conflict theory

"Magdala kayo ng jacket," my mother gently reminded us in the wee morning hours. "Umuulan."

Indeed, it was raining. It almost happened over the weekend, but it only felt the need to let go today. By six in the morning it was still as dark as an hour before, further accentuate by the sound of the drizzle, partly drowned out by the radio. I never needed reminding, however, since I always had my jacket and my umbrella with me, powered by that everlasting belief that you'll never know when you'll need it.

It remained that way throughout the morning car ride, and in a fit of cooperation my iPod started playing slow songs. I quickly fell asleep on the highway, and woke up fifteen minutes later at C5, with the sun shining brightly outside. The windshield was barely wet, even. Where did the rain go?

"Umuulan diyan?" I told Ariane a couple of hours later, from some computer in some building in Ortigas. "Ang weird. Ang liwanag ng araw dito."

"Oo, ang lakas ng ulan," she answered. "Pero maliwanag. Labo."

It remained that way throughout the morning, or so I thought. The disadvantage of my new desk (apart from the unwelcome smell of brewed coffee in the morning) is that I no longer have the window to my advantage. I used to glimpse as it and, if there are droplets of water against the glass, I'd delay walking out for lunch, since it definitely means it's raining hard outside. I could still tell if it's sunny outside, though, and so before I took off I peeked behind me. For safety, I brought an umbrella.

The rain was terrible.

But, what the heck, I still pushed on. I had an umbrella anyway, and although I knew it was too small for someone like me - making my skin and moisture an irresistible pair - I knew I could push on without much damage. It was the usual four-minute walk to the Shangri-la Plaza, and in that short time, I encountered a handful of unusually deep water puddles, had slightly wet polo sleeves, and had my corduroy pair drenched a third of the way up. I arrived at the mall hardly the face of corporate neatness, but never mind if I looked like a term that I'm hesitant on adopting from someone else. I came there for lunch. I ended up having lunch. It was, ironically, very hot when it came to me.

I don't understand why it's only lately that I've entered my deviant stage. Sure, not everything is correct on television, but if that's to be followed, then I should've started rebelling during my high school years. I should've started sneaking out (at least more often than I actually have) and, perhaps, started doing things that I shouldn't be doing unless I was really being adventurous. I shouldn't be sticking to ages-old beliefs, instead making my own from all of those experiences I should've had.

Rather, it's only now that I feel compelled to break away from common knowledge and just, well, do it. Never mind whether I'd go back to the office very wet, with people looking at me and wondering whether I was running along Pearl Drive without any cover. I'd probably have an excuse - "inabutan ako ng ulan pabalik" - or, perhaps it's me overreacting, but it's that line of thought that some people have tried forcing into my skull for the past four years: walang pakialamanan.

I planned to stay inside the mall for, say, around three hours, considering myself lucky because I was (again) finished with all of my tasks before midday struck. Only equipped with less than a thousand bucks, a pen and the lunch receipt, I decided I'd hang out inside a bookstore, and perhaps read or write stuff, trying to make something cathartic out of everything. Instead, I was again walking on rainy Ortigas streets barely forty minutes after I went into the mall absolutely drenched. It wasn't raining as hard, thankfully, and for good measure, the sun was shining. The puddles weren't as deep as they were before. I was thinking about the things I wanted to do once I get back to this desk.

Sometimes, I figured, I deviate from my own deviance.

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