oh mylanta.


oh dear readers, let me tell you about my hellish ordeal in the last twenty-four hours. see, i take doxycycline for acne, and the directions explicitly say not to eat dairy products when popping the pill. but i had eggs with cheese and stale chips with salsa anyway. and the night before, nachos from el sombrero. big fucking mistake. an hour or so after popping the pill, i had the stomach ache of my life. i tried taking a nap, but couldn't get in a comfortable position. i was getting chills, feeling nauseous. i felt like i had swallowed a big ball of paperclips, or else a rock.

i started to think about tumors, flesh-eating bacteria, appendicitis, e. coli. was this it? was this how i was finally going to go? what a terrible thing, i'd be one of those statistics, found weeks later in my apartment, dead from eating some bad nachos. at around midnight, when things hadn't gotten any better, i called the group health nurse. she told me to get prune juice, maalox or mylanta, and docusate sodium. it was rainy out, and it was midnight. i didn't even have a single friend nearby whom i could call and pick things up for me. that's when i thought about the importance of living in an area where at least some family is nearby.

i took the bus to safeway. i didn't even bother getting out of my pajama pants. i bought maalox, prune juice and yogurt, and i felt like a 50 year old man. i didn't care. the pain was so great, i didn't give a shit who saw me. i waited for the bus heading back home. there wasn't one. i waited some more. there wasn't one. i took the prune juice out of the plastic bag and started drinking it straight from the bottle. and so there i was, on rainier ave. s. past midnight, drinking prune juice while wearing pajama pants.

i started to walk home. there were a bunch of leaves and branches on the sidewalk from the previous day's storm. it was a cold, lonely walk. this is what life's going to be, i told myself. just one long solitary walk down a dark street in the rain. life really was just suffering, until it was over. as soon as i got home, i downed some more prune juice with two teaspoons of maalox. i slept for a bit, but then three hours later, i was wide awake and hurting. there was no way i would ever get to sleep, and no way this stomach ache was going to go away on its own. i called an orange cab to take me to group health urgent care.

the driver asked how i was. i told him i'd been feeling shit all day. he said he was sorry to hear that. he had a bluetooth, and he talked to his wife in a language i didn't know. we stopped at an atm. i just wanted to die. i got sixty out, paid him twenty. he said that he hoped i felt better. i told him i did, too.

the nurse was this unfriendly dude. i figured i would be unfriendly, too, if i was working a shift at 4 a.m. the doctor came in, and he wasn't even wearing hospital clothes. just jeans and a baseball shirt. he was short and stocky, and he asked why i ate dairy products with the doxycycline. i told him i didn't know. because i was an idiot? i told him i was constipated, but he corrected me and said that i had bowel movements, so i wasn't constipated. i wanted to ask him what the hell this boulder in my stomach was then. he prescribed some pills, a lot of pills, and gave me instructions. he told me to never eat nachos ever again. for the rest of my life.

by the time i got home, it was well past 5 a.m., and people were already hanging out at starbucks. i went straight to bed and finally fell asleep. it was an incredible feeling, how such small pills could make a person feel normal again.
the best wednesday ever.


wednesday last week was hella good. mostly, it was because those miners got rescued. how often do you see brown people headlining cnn news when drugs, guns, and earthquakes aren't involved? it was such a weird feeling, being on the bus after work, and thinking about how there was this positive energy. somewhere in the world, 33 miners were being rescued and being reunited with family. i thought this was weird because there's always so much bad and depressing news, and no one ever really stops to think about what this does to us. it's just fucking news, you know. you read/see/hear about a bunch of deaths, bombs, oil spills, home foreclosures, kidnappings, typhoons, warnings, rapes, really sick shit, and then you go on and finish your lunch. and then, for the first time, in what seemed like for-fucking-ever, there was a bit of good news. a brief reminder from the major news networks that the world is okay to live in sometimes.

the sun was out on wednesday. my gums were healing from the teeth extractions. i walked through the park to get teriyaki on broadway. i took my time eating it. i walked back through the park to work. i got the mail, and my new marmot precip jacket, which i had purchased on sale, had arrived! i tried on my jacket at my desk, and my coworkers thought it was funny. i thought about the adventures i was going to have in my new jacket.

after work, i went to the park by my apartment. no point in wasting perfectly good sunshine. i started shooting threes, and then this cambodian dude i had seen before invited me to play 21 with his gangster buddies. i didn't win, but i enjoyed the company. we played 2 on 2. i won. we played 3 on 3. i lost. when it was over, i slapped hands with them, and i said, "it was good seeing you again." this is what people did, these were the kinds of things they said. i might be a normal human being.

i showered, and i got ready for karaoke. i had initiated karaoke with two people i had met at a party, john and meera. they were a couple. i didn't mind being the third wheel, so long as i got to do karaoke. we went out for beer, and john bought me a chocolate stout. in return, i ordered a pitcher of manny's. he didn't want to sing. meera did, but she hesitated turning in her slip. i sang "screaming infidelities" and really butchered the loud part. it didn't matter. this was the best wednesday ever, didn't they know? a black man slapped my hand, as if to say, "good job." an attractive blond followed, sang madonna's "get into the groove." meera said they had to go, but that we should come back again sometime. i stayed a bit longer, finished my beer.

afterward, i stumbled two blocks back to my apartment. fuck yeah. the best wednesday ever.
okaaaaaaaaay.


friday night, and it was hella cold out. fall done come quick, seemingly without warning. i had a ticket to a soldout wiz khalifa concert, and no one to go with. i could've scalped it for hella bills on c-list, but i really wanted to see the show. fuck it. i'll go it alone. i had diarrhea from the two soft tacos i had eaten earlier from el sombrero. not a good start to the night.

who the fuck was wiz khalifa? that's what y'all'd like to know. he's this twenty-two year old rapper from pittsburgh, and he's got cred from the teenyboppers to the indie nerds all the way up to the old o.g. fools. i don't know how much of that is exactly true, but from what i saw, that was about the looks of it.

how'd i stumble upon his shit? i remember it like it was yesterday. back from manila in january, i was mad depressed because my cousins didn't come along, and i didn't get a single titty in my face the whole three weeks i was there. no way i was gonna listen to that depressing indie rock shit anymore. i turned to bad rap. i loved the confidence, the ridiculous claims of wealth, weed and bitches. only problem was, most decent rappers (wale, cudi, curren$y) don't ever take it far enough. and when they do, it's but for a quick second. then they get back to having something real to say.

enter wiz.

the line for the show was as funny as some of his songs. as soon as i stepped in it, these two kids in front of me got busted by security. security, in the form of a big white dude with a black hoodie, pulled their mcdonald's cups. "is there alcohol in these?" the kids nodded. the security guard emptied the cups and tossed them into the bushes. he pulled them out of the line. "you guys can't go to the concert tonight, but i'm gonna give you a chance to get your money back." he told them they could sell their tickets, but there was no way they were gonna see wiz. it made me glad i wasn't underage anymore.

despite that, i still felt hella old. the line was like fucking wu-tang meets camp rock. this black dude behind me kept saying, "lot a niggaz tonight. lot a niggaz." and then there was this white girl who was on her cell phone. "can you get my water bottle? it's inside the trunk, and in my bob marley bag!" there was a douchebag with a white hoodie and sunglasses and he looked like zac efron. there were big ass black dudes eye-fucking the shit out of white girls with their tits popping out their tanktops. i didn't get these girls. it was fucking cold out. i got to thinking about teen girls cutting themselves and starving themselves, all to fit some make-believe mtv image.

and everyone was trying to get high. security yelled at the crowd, "y'all got weed? i know you do! if i catch you smoking it inside, i will take it from you, and i'll smoke it right in front of you!" every two minutes someone was talking about weed. it was, after all, the waken baken tour. kids kept talking to each other, being super paranoid. "they'll throw you out if you're underage and they smell beer on your breath!"

once inside, i got to the designated over 21 area, which was nearly empty, save that for a few asian dudes. felt like home. and damn, i needed a drink. i ordered a rum and coke, downed it, ordered another. switched to beer, and then i was buzzed enough to enjoy a rap concert surrounded by ghettofieds and jailbait. the second rapper, yellow wolf was hella whack. people, including myself, booed the shit out of him. he put his hand to his ear. "i need that shit!" he said. "they're booing him," this jailbait said to her friend. "it's because he's fucking awful!" i said. she laughed.

finally wiz got on, and it was sick. he did his donkey laugh multiple times, played songs i wanted to hear ("this kid frankie," "the thrill," "black and yellow," etc.), and i left feeling satisfied. and still kind of drunk. the way it should be at these sorts of things.
the time to be smart is now.


my poor mother, how i scolded her.

her: don't go hiking anymore. it's dangerous.
me: don't tell me what to do.
her: you'll get attacked by a bear.
me: so what? if a bear attacks me, it attacks me. what am i gonna do about it?
her: don't talk like that.
me: why? i could die right now. i could have an aneurysm or a stroke right now.
her: don't say that.
me: we all die, mom. i am going to die. you are going to die. it's a part of life.
her: don't tell me that!

i asked her to make my favorite filipino dish, kare-kare. she went to order oxtail from bob's meats across the street. she was wearing her big blue jacket and jeans. i took pictures of her as she paid for the meat. she was so short, chin level with the metal counter. i thought of her as a bear buying food.

while i was at work, she only left the apartment to go to safeway, pcc, and mcphereson's market. her old classmate, too busy preparing for a trip to the philippines, cancelled plans with her. she had no other friends in seattle. we had that in common.

"it's lonely here," she'd say. i couldn't argue with that.

"come back to sacramento. i'll give you $100 a month," she said.
"you're bribing me to move back home?"

"and another thing," i said. "stop telling me my apartment is terrible. i'm sorry i'm not living the life you set out for me. i'm never going to make a lot of money, or go to law school or business school like you want me to. i don't want those things."
"your place isn't that bad," she said.

we ordered halo-halo from red ribbon in the southcenter mall. there was no place to sit, so we had to find some couches in the middle of the main walkway.
"people are going to complain," she said.
"why? it's a food court. all malls have food courts."
"yeah, but we're close to the stores. the white people are going to complain."
"so let them complain."
i hated the sense of inferiority that lingered in her voice. it was her decision to move to this country, her decision to stay even after she retired. why stay in a place where you feel you didn't belong?

"are you going to move back to the philippines?" i asked.
"no. that's not my home. my home is here."
"but you don't even like sacramento. why don't you just sell the house already?"
"now's not a good time to sell."
"it's never a good time to sell."
"if you move to the philippines," she said, "then pops and i probably would go, too."

"the filipina girl down the hall, she's dating a black guy?"
"yeah."
"that's sad."
"you're so racist."
"too bad she's not dating you instead."

"you should call selly's daughter. she lives in ballard."
"why? why would i want to do that?"
"i just hope you don't end up like uncle tim."

she showed me what to buy at seafood city in order to make filipino dishes. it was amazing the things she picked out. i looked at the bok choy, the eggplant, and i thought, never in a million years would i think to make a meal out of those things.

i went to church with her. we had to walk, and she was short of breath.
"you're out of shape," i said.
"i'm old!"
"still, you need to exercise more."
"i know. i know."
in the homily, the priest kept repeating, "my friends, the time to be smart is now." it became our inside joke for the week.
after church, we walked back in a downpour.

after cleaning my apartment, she said, "look! i can walk barefoot and my feet aren't as dirty."

i wanted her to be healthier, to have friends, to have money and be able to travel. i wanted her to not be so afraid of life, to take risks, and stop using old age as an excuse. i wanted her to stop worrying about me, to realize that she is no longer in control, that none of us are.
feel some pressure.


mariah, the beautiful receptionist, greeted me. she knew my name without even looking at the computer. she smiled as she said my name, and she touched the back of her neck. i convinced myself that this was flirting, that she was flirting with me, and even if it wasn't true, it at least momentarily helped me forget about the awful ordeal i was about to undergo. i was finally going to get my wisdom teeth removed, and even though it was only the top two, which were already erupted, i was anxious as hell about it.

after a few minutes, she led me to one of the chairs. "do you have any questions?" she asked. yes, will you let me impregnate you at least twice? "no," i said. she told me there was a hook where i could hang my backpack. i put my belongings on the hook, and then i sat down. she handed me a consent form, one that said i ran the risk of infection, cardiac arrest, death. i signed it. minutes later, my dentist showed up. we shook hands, and he asked if i had questions. i said, no. "i'll just get you really numb," he said. we laughed at that. please don't kill me.

the injection wasn't bad at all. same as when i got my filling some months ago, i couldn't even feel the needle going in. it was only slightly sore as the needle came out. i could feel the novocaine on my lips and tongue, and within minutes, i was numb. he numbed both sides, a total of four shots. "you're going to feel a little bit of pressure," he said, and then he went to work. it's just a bit of pressure. you're going to be fine. don't panic, don't go into cardiac arrest. i could hear michael jackson's "man in the mirror" on the radio. fuck! is this is a sign? m.j. went into cardiac arrest, and then he died! "you're going to feel a lot of pressure now." his whole fist was in my mouth, and i noticed that he had kept his watch on.

good god, that's a lot of pressure. but don't worry, you're not feeling any pain. this is nothing. remember when she left you? that hurt. nothing will ever hurt you as much as that did. this ain't shit, baby. i tried to not think about what he was actually doing to me. i didn't want to look at his plastic guard, as i ran the risk of seeing the bloody carnage that was happening inside my mouth. i understood why some people wanted to be put under for a procedure like this. i anticipated a cracking sound. something was going to crack, and i didn't want to hear it. i paid attention to the radio. it was taylor swift's "love story." remember when you were in boracay and you asked that girl to dance to a remix of this song, and she said she didn't want to? god, you're a loser. you deserve this. you deserve to have all of your teeth extracted.

i exhaled deeply when the first one came out. the assistant asked, "are you okay?" "yeah," i said. he went to work on the next one. it came out easier than the first. i remember him making a circular motion with the forceps. before i knew it, i was done. all that anxiety and all those sleepless nights for nothing. the assistant packed my mouth with gauze, and my dentist said to just take it easy today, to get a lot of rest. i thanked him, and he thanked me. i was so happy to have finally found a good dentist. possibly the best dentist ever. i should write him a letter, and tell him that he's the best dentist i've ever had. and that the dentist i had as a kid scarred me for life, but now he is restoring my faith in dentistry. okay, maybe not that much. a simple thank you.

i went to pay the bill. i noticed mariah had some glitter on her face. she charged me $168. say something witty. be charming, even though you're bleeding. i didn't say anything. she told me to get plenty of rest. "and no heavy lifting!" she added. i smiled at her. love me. please. i got on my bike and rode home. i texted in sick to work. i put ice packs on my face and changed the gauze every ten minutes. i watched love, actually and ate ice cream. i bought soup from geraldine's for $8. i watched rushmore. i was glad it was over. something to do while i still had dental insurance.

a bit of pain to distract from the overall numbness.
more sex in the future.


what's that? you give blood?
nah, had to get tested for the hiv.
uhh, ok. i mean, i guess everyone should, right?
haha, no, i'm kidding. i'm applying for --, and they asked me to get tested.
what? you're leaving, too?
well, i'm just applying. nothing's official yet.
yeah, you're out of here. you're outta here.

what did i say about eating in here?
you said we're not supposed to.
so put it away.
can i just eat it right now?
no. put the chips back in the box, and put it away.
just one chip?
no.

it's a pretty exciting time to be alive.
what do you mean?
just the technology that's available to us.
oh yeah, right.
i mean, i was in a mall in manila chatting with you on an iphone. instantaneously.
yeah, it's crazy. think about the jetsons. they probably didn't even have cordless phones.

have you been tested for hiv before?
no.
have you had more than one sexual partner in the past year?
no.
then you're probably at low risk.
yeah, i'm pretty sure i don't have it.
do you use condoms?
i've only had one sexual partner ever.
well, if you have more sex in the future, be sure to use condoms. and get tested.
okay.

would you like some water?
actually, could i have some tea?
sure.
and a mango smoothie.
yes.
this tea, i brought from home. we ran out of tea, so i had to bring it from home. is this okay?
yeah.