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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.


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Saturday, August 05, 2006

entry arrow1:06 PM | Why I Like My Weekends

These are days when I wake up an automaton, to the ringing of the alarm clock more insistent than the crowing of distant cocks my neighbors keep in their backyard. Always, when I wake up, there is barely any sun out yet, but I tell myself to push on, to drag my feet to the shower if possible, all because my days have taken on this menacing length with schedules filled to the brim that they more than approximate the very picture of exhaustion.

Except that, in my case particularly, exhaustion -- and the mad juggling act of activities and appointments that go with the territory -- is the very definition of living for me. Workaholism? Maybe. (Sometimes I suspect that I am, in fact, the laziest of men -- which is the sum of my eternal fear of failure.) Maybe I just like the buzz of having gone through the day having accomplished many things, sometimes to my amazement that my body can take some well-aimed abuse and survive for yet another day.

Some of my friends do not like that, at all. Margie Udarbe, for example, tells me to slow down, and to get a physical -- just to monitor things. "I don't have the time," I tell her sheepishly, knowing that she's right, but also that I have an unhealthy fear of hospitals and doctors. Ma'am Jong de la Cruz, from her desk at the Alumni Affairs Office, texts me to remind me to take my daily StressTabs. "I already did," I usually reply back.

But I like work. Work, for me, is a way of putting meaning into life -- even if sometimes my zealousness for doing things as fast as I can to maximize what young life I have left in my bones gets me into trouble. Or a reprimand. Which often takes away so much of my spirit that I go into depression for days on end, only to come to the same conclusion all the time: that work matters still, eventually.

With that kind of madness embedded in my bones, I do take my ideas for relaxation a little too seriously. Because work may be work, but when time comes that I should surrender to the call for relaxation, I become the fervent disciple to the act of letting go, to the promise of pampering till the soreness of the daily grind becomes but a mere footnote to a life put on a temporary hold.

Weekdays may be hell, but I take no excuse for letting go of my weekend breaks, for example. Saturdays and Sundays are always spent in bed, where I will sleep until noon. Then I will have leisurely late lunch, then watch a movie on DVD or curl up to a book, and then by late afternoon have coffee in Don Atilano or CocoAmigos. Sometimes, I go on an outing with friends -- to distant towns or cities: Valencia, with its cool mountain air and river waters, is always a favorite. Dauin, too, with its beaches, and Bais with its promise of a road trip. My old barkada used to pile into Bebot's car to go to Tanjay, just so we could eat authentic Thai cuisine.

But nothing beats the glory of a great massage after fifteen minutes in the sauna.

In Dumaguete, we know for sure that the concept of city stress has definitely arrived, given the incessant traffic and rerouting we have come to endure in our daily lives. And a growing crime index that is slowly making us hostages to an unfamiliar Dumaguete atmosphere.

There's also another indication to the skyrocketing stress levels in the city: the proliferation of spas and massage clinics that open till the wee hours of night, serving a growing clientele wanting a quick easing away from lives spent working hard to the bones. Suddenly, we are definitely a city -- if cities are to be defined by high stress.

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