you should come through.

i was just minding my own business, doing my laundry, when maya asked me to come over. "it's chel's birthday," she said. i said i would come over. i heard her tell chel that she invited me over, and that i was doing laundry. i heard chel say that it was cool, me coming over and all. i brought my laundry basket back to my room, and then i went down to the shola market to buy a six-pack of heineken. i also put on a button-down shirt that i bought and wore yesterday. maya looked like she was dressed up a bit, so i assumed the others would be, too.

i showed up with the six-pack. chel opened her refrigerator and she said, "put it with the rest." the whole bottom shelf was full of beers. i met her friends and coworkers. there was one older white woman, and a sassy black woman. the rest, excluding maya, were filipinos. one guy had a democracy now t-shirt. we talked about how both our moms went to university of santa tomas, also known as u.s.t. "utot sabae tae," i said. he laughed. in tagalog, it means "fart along with poop." "is that what she called it?" he said. "that's what my mom called it," i said.

i had the usual conversations with people i meet for the first time. it's a lot of "are you from seattle?" "what do you do?" "do you like it here?" and all that stuff. i met a filipina named carly. she's from renton, and she has a kid. she asked me about my family, and i told her they're all in sacramento. "what do you do then?" she asked. she sounded as though it was the weirdest thing in the world for a filipino to not live in the same city as his family. "i hang out with friends," i said. she nodded.

they all wanted to go to the war room for j. dilla's listening party. one guy, alex, who coincidentally did the same americorps/red cross program i did, but the year after me, said that he had no idea who j. dilla was. "he's a rapper," someone said. "he's like the new tupac." alex was kind of wasted, so he started saying j. dilla like it was the coolest name in the world. "i'm just gonna say 'j. dilla' for everything now," he said. "what's with this economy? j. dilla." carly said that he was up there, or something like that, meaning that he was more or less acting a fool.

someone asked me about my parents, and when they came here. "early to mid-seventies," i said, "after all that marcos shit went down." "i don't know anything about it," one guy said, "was it really that bad?" "he declared martial law," i said. alex said that it was a brute dictatorship. i didn't know what else to add. instead, i looked at these filipinos and their talk of twilight, of magic mic, of j. dilla, and i thought about whether or not i could really live in the philippines. do i like hanging out with white people more, or do i like filipinos better? are filipinos much different from filipino-americans? i didn't want to overthink it, so i got up.

"i'm gonna get going," i told chel. i only lived two doors down, so my exit wasn't dramatic at all. "happy birthday," i said. "thanks," she said, "and thanks for coming through." "no problem," i said, "thanks for having me over." "you should come through for the magic mic party." "definitely," i said, "i would totally be down for that." "awesome," she said. "do you watch the lakers?" i said. "no," she said, "but chev (her boyfriend) does. you should come through." "i might," i said. "i don't have cable. i don't even have a t.v. i've been trying to stream the games, but it's just kind of sad." "yeah," she said, "that shit's too slow."

i told her happy birthday again, and then i said goodnight to everyone. goodnight.

1 comment:

Aby said...

I haven't attended a B'day part in long long time.. I just find it too boring.