Monday, July 29, 2013

The Roommate Agreement

   When Raquel hit middle age she decided to move in with her Trekkie daughter, Esse.  Esse, a child prodigy herself, agreed but she wanted a Roommate Agreement like the one Sheldon Cooper has with Leonard Hofstadter, the boys from the television show, Big Bang Theory.  Their Roommate Agreement items are as follows:

1.  Esse does the toilet as soon as she wakes up in the morning and stays there for an hour.  This goes on every day without exception like clockwork like Sheldon.

2.  Raquel will have to drive Esse to work and back because she does not drive just like Sheldon.

3.  Esse sits in the same spot to watch her sci-fi and fantasy programs every night just like Sheldon.

4.  When Esse is talking about a Comic-Con, Dungeons and Dragons, a role playing game (RPG) or Assassins Creed, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Raquel is supposed to listen like she understands.  

5.  One issue that took more debate was the use of disposable plates.  Esse said she felt guilty about adding to the trash the planet will have to deal with.  She said she would wash the dishes herself.  Raquel said she felt guilty using the ceramic plates that would need washing because as far as the whole planet is concerned she’s not related while the dish washer is her daughter.  The younger one burst out laughing.  She said her mom was so before environmental science. The ruling was that they would use the disposable only when dictated by circumstance otherwise they will use the ceramic plates.  

6.  The trash will be segregated for recycling purposes.  To Raquel it’s a chore but she agreed.

7.  Garbage will be taken out only once a week, on the specific day that the trash will be collected by the garbage truck.  This means that the garbage would have to be in a plastic bag sealed with a strap to avoid insect lure and the leak of smell.  

8.  Raquel brought a bunch of silverware.  She likes to have some available to use without having to wash what was on the sink.  Esse only approved of three sets that have matching design.  She put the rest hidden where Raquel can’t find them because it irritates her to see varied designs of the silverware.  

   Esse asked her mother if there is anything she would like to add to the agreement.  Raquel replied there’s enough in there for one lifetime BAZINGA!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Asian Driver Friendly State

   When I was in the midwest every American I met said they’ve never been to California.  I wondered why, it's short plane ride away.  People all over the world want to see the Golden Gate Bridge.  I thought it was painted in gold and was disappointed to see the bridge was red.  I wondered why it was not named Red Gate Bridge. 

   Many Americans from other states are intimidated by California.  It is the third largest state after Alaska and Texas and yet it looks quite small in the map due to its long and narrow shape.  The climate runs from subarctic in the north to Mediterranean in the south.  It lies between the Pacific Ocean and the Nevada Desert, a happy medium between wet and dry. 

   The celebrities of Los Angeles and the Bohemians of San Francisco made California seem remote for the more conservative people of other states.  However, I noted an interesting feature of San Francisco I would love to tell my midwest friends.

   I used to miss the red metal STOP signs on the street corners in the midwest making my passengers scream “Stop!” with their hands flying towards the windshield.  In San Francisco, the word STOP is painted on the asphalt in white.  I have to be blind to miss it now.

   I wondered why the number 50 was painted on a road.  Finally I saw the sign standing at the roadside bearing the same number.  It took me two weeks of driving past it to realize it was the speed limit.

   A few meters before a stop light the road is painted with SLOW DOWN and the name of the street you are approaching will be on a metal green sign posted at an island so that a driver will be alerted if he intends to turn at the next corner.

The word XING is painted on the asphalt at pedestrian crossings.  XING is a Chinese word that means “to walk”.

   My midwest American friends have warned me about driving in San Francisco after seing me miss stop signs and speed limits in Kentucky.  How could they guess that San Francisco is Asian driver friendly?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Filipina’s View of Stand Your Ground Law

   My grandmother wanted me to be a lawyer so I can be a lawmaker.  I did not have the persistence to do the 8 long years in college.  When Martial Law ended I ran for a position in the City Council of Pasay City.  By then my grandmother was 92 and bedridden.  She asked her caregiver what day was my campaign parade.  The caregiver said she sounded like she wanted to march in my parade when she could no longer stand.  That was when I realized how bad I failed her.

   Recently there has been a lot of debate over the Stand Your Ground Law.  For my grandmother’s memory I would like to take a stab at how the law could be redefined:

   Section No. 1:  The Stand Your Ground defense should only be used if the victim is unarmed and alive.  A self-defense shooting does not have to kill.  One could aim at a leg, an arm, shoulder, etc.  Any person at the receiving end of a bullet would stop the assault to assess the damage and that should give the other a chance to run to safety.  When a person is shot and continues with the assault that’s a scene in a movie or television.

   Section No. 2:  Gun owners should be oriented and trained on aiming at the part of the body that would stop an assault but would leave no fatality.  Owning an item that could take a life should be licensed with complementary training and testing.  A driver’s license requires as much and yet driving does not kill as surely as a weapon.  Mental and psychological tests should also be given to gun owners since public safety employees take them and they are not always armed.

   Section No. 3:  The shooter is obligated to call 911 as soon as the other person is no longer a threat.  This would attest that the shot was done in good faith.

   Section No. 4:  If the gun owner has satisfied Section No. 2 but during the struggle the gun went off killing the other then it does not fall under Stand Your Ground because it was an accident.  Thereby should be called accidental shooting.

   Section No. 5:  If however the other person is also wielding a weapon then the incident does not fall under Stand Your Ground.  It should fall under an entirely different category such as duel, shoot out, war, etc.

   Laws should be defined in the context of the era it is operating.  The foregoing sections should make everybody happy.  Gun dealers would continue to sell their products.  The shooting victim would be alive to tell his side of the story.  The shooter will not have blood in his hands. (Genesis 4:8-9)  Training for the weapon license would create jobs and government revenue.

   But what do I know?  I’m just an old politicized Filipina with a third world sense of justice.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Filipina Moves to San Francisco

   San Francisco is home to over 382,950 Filipinos.  The Gold Rush saw the founding of Wells Fargo in 1852.  Levi Strauss opened a clothing store and Ghirardelli began making chocolate.  Immigrant laborers gave the city a mixed culture and set it as a financial capital.  Even the 1929 stock market crash did not hurt a single San Francisco bank and at the height of the Great Depression, San Francisco built the Oakland Bay Bridge completing in 1936 and the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937.  

   Tony Bennett sang in the 60's that he left his heart in San Francisco as the city gave birth to America's counterculture like the Beatniks and Hippies.  In the 70's, the city became the center of the gay rights movement.

   Sheila found an apartment in Daly City.  She loved that the homes are connected to each other like the apartments in the Philippines.  Having neighbors nearby always gave her a sense of security.  Not to mention that she has family all over California that she could run to.  The family is the Filipinos’ security system.  

   There are so many Filipino restaurants and Asian stores.  There is a Mexican convenient store at the corner of her street that sold her favorite jar of Green Mango in Brine which she uses as an appetizer dipped in fish sauce.  

   People park in the streets so that the residential areas have streets lined up with cars on both sides.  It is a dash for a spot every time.  Each side of the street has a "no parking on cleaning day".  One has to move the car away on the cleaning day for 3 hours.  Parallel parking was Sheila’s biggest challenge.  She felt guilty every time she scratched her new tires on the gutter or the roads that rolled up and down scraped the under chassis of her beloved red Saturn Ion coupe.  She would apologize to the car and feel bad that no one answers back with “it is okay, I understand”.

   She got lost a couple of times but she learned the Freeway, Bayshore Blvd., Highway 101, 82 and 280 in two weeks.  She learned to take the bus named MUNI, and the train called BART.  

   Life has turned a page and a new chapter has began in the life of an adventurous middle aged Filipina.  Only God knows what this new chapter will bring.(Jeremiah 10:23

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Leaving Kentucky

   Sheila flew from Manila to Louisville, Kentucky as a middle aged bride.  She asked God for one last chance at marriage.  She had so much to offer her American groom whom she found in an internet dating site.  She had education, long track record of employment, no financial baggage like children or debt, no vice or expenses other than basic needs and a heart full of hope for a loving husband she could grow old with.

   Out of 37 replies to her profile she picked out the man from the south of  Kentucky.  He had long blonde hair and mustache that looked like a character from a western movie.  He was thin at 5'11" with strong arms and spoke with a voice like a country singer.

   Three years later Sheila was divorced and alone.  It took another four years before she could decide to move on with her life.  It meant physically moving out of that state where she had invested on a condo unit, found friends and a comfortable routine.

   She had grown familiar with the roads and highways.  Moving meant she would have to learn new traffic laws, highway exits, location of malls, theaters, etc.  She would be leaving friends hard to find in these last days. (2 Tim 3:1-7)  

   She would spend a lot of hard earned money for the transition like  car shipping, flight, new apartment and household items that are too heavy to ship but will have to be replaced.  

   She would miss the seasons which are more defined in Kentucky where the summers burn and the winters freeze, the springs and falls are scenic.

   Life unfolds beyond our understanding.  Sheila didn't want to leave Manila and now she doesn't want to leave Kentucky.  However, there is a point where one wakes up and realize an anchor has been lifted by an all powerful hand.  It is time to sail on.  "Continue to rejoice, to be readjusted, to be comforted, to think in agreement, to live peaceably, and the God of love and peace will be with you." (2 Corinthians 13:11)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Educating Mom 2 - Kim Kardashian and Sheldon Cooper

After 8 years in the US Brenda still had the character she flew in with.  She refused to lose an ounce of her Filipino habits.

   Filipinos are too open even to strangers.   Nobody steals identity in the Philippines.  Even the wanted criminals use fictitious names and identification. Small talk in the Philippines between bus passengers could include the number of children, marital status, health condition, job and religion, etc.  In America those information are on need to know basis.  When her daughter noticed the girl corrected her in a way she won't forget.

   "When you are too open you're becoming like Kim Kardashian.  You know how she got famous.  Right?"  That was enough to change Mom's attitude towards personal information.

   Brenda also has a silly rule about her relationships.  If a friend should miss three of her shout outs she would decide the person has written her off.  This rule was born from what her own mother used to say to her when she was a child.

   "If you can't find a person he probably does not want to see you."

   "If you go to a friend's home too often they will get tired of you and might not be able to tell you frankly they don't want you around."

  Those words said enough number of times instilled in Brenda a defense mechanism about rejection.  Everyone had three shots to respond.  A fourth communication from her might be considered a nuisance.  Her ex-husbands were also given three shots at sexual rejection.  Her relationships ended on that note.

   Brenda's daughter explained to her that people forget to reply or call.  It does not mean anything, just plain shortness of memory.  In America if people don't want you they will gladly tell you.  Until they do it is safe to assume you are still welcome.  The girl suggested her Mom follow Sheldon Cooper's rule about 3 strikes.  The 3 slight minus what good the person has done brings back a shot or two for the person.

   Brenda being an avid viewer of the comedy show herself saw the sense in following Sheldon Cooper's rule.  Too bad she was no longer marrying age.  The lesson came too late.