Saturday, September 28, 2002

biking with dogs

When I was in grade school, I used to ride my bicycle to school. I lived in Greenhills and my school, La Salle, was only a village and half away. I’d ride with one hand on the handles and the other on my green briefcase (a gift from my mother that I took inordinate pride in) while my black lunchbox swung behind me. The trick, of course, was balance. It wasn’t too hard when I was biking in a straight line, but it was murder when I had to make turns, necessitating shifting handle-hand, briefcase-hand and lunchbox from one side to the other. I used to wear leather shoes to school and once in a while one foot or the other would slip on the pedals, due to the texture, curvature and nature of leather shoes.

Especially trying would be the days when certain dogs would give chase. I hated having to pass through a particular street because the nasty dogs there, if they were of the mood, would start barking the moment I entered their line of sight. I would speed up in an effort to outrun them, aiming for the next corner – because for some reason, they refused to go beyond that point, as if an invisible barrier physically prevented them from crossing.

Inevitably, the day came when the stupid dogs gave chase, and with only a few meters to safety, my foot slipped on the pedal and I fell. I was in panic and expected to be savaged by the two dogs. Instead, they devoured the spilled contents of my lunchbox and growled at each other while I scurried to the safe corner. Moments later, their flustered owner came running, shooed them away, apologized to me and helped me pick up my briefcase and empty lunchbox. Instead of a horrible mauling, I had a scraped elbow and knee and no lunch.

I remember thinking how lucky I was to get out alive. Until lunch time came and I had nothing to eat.

career path
question (7 of 100)

Q: If you could choose the career for your child, would you? The conceit is that science has a way to guarantee that if, for example, you want your child to be a doctor or a poet, certain painless treatments can be performed in infancy to guarantee the necessary skills and interest required by the career path.

A: Absolutely not. I want my daughter to have the freedom to choose what she wants to be when she grows up, to be able to determine her own fate and find her own bliss. However, I’d be dishonest if I don’t say that I do wish her career choice would be something that allowed her financial independence – so she can have the comfort of money and not need to rely on lover or husband to provide for her. I also would be happy if her choice reflects a propensity towards the arts, something that is creative. But with that all said, should she decide to be an actuary, well that’s good too. As long as she chose it.

My angst here is that my initial career path was foisted upon me. I was to be a doctor or a lawyer (here in the Philippines, the generation of my parents thought that only the following professions were worth becoming: doctor, lawyer, engineer or owning your own business; anything else was spurious and a waste of time and effort, perhaps even implying an inability on their part to provide for educational opportunities). All I wanted to do was to write. So of course I rebelled, ultimately shifting courses in college without their knowledge and approval.

What about you?

(Neat graphic Victoriana.Com, A Victorian Antique Marketplace)


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