Boring update of my monthly weekend off

COMING home late from Lea Salonga’s Songs from the Stage, I had a good rest, so good I had almost overslept—which means, I woke up at seven. My parents, hardly getting any shut-eye, rushed to the airport to catch their early morning flight. I wasn’t able to say my proper goodbyes, though I did feel Tatay kissing my head and fixing my blanket to make sure I was warm.

Tatay texted me at 10 am to tell me that they’d just landed; this, while I was sipping coffee. Sean would meet them at the airport. They’d have brunch at Auntie Net’s charming home in Gen San. The apartment seems quieter without them.

After his morning French class, Manong still hummed Hamilton’s “Burn,” which Lea sang so well last night. We all thoroughly enjoyed the show: a mix of the old and the new, the classic and the contemporary, but still the same Lea Salonga we’ve all, as a nation, loved and adored.

Our plan then was to eat seafood in one of the busy restaurants along Macapagal Boulevard, but it was nearing midnight, and Tatay, who, even in his drinking and smoking days, confessed to hating coming home late, would hear none of it.

Typing

I’m writing this piece using an old desktop, recently resurrected by the more technologically-minded among us. The computer has been lying around beside the call room’s front door. It’s immediately on my own desk’s posterior.

I like the staccato sound of the BenQ keyboard, still dusty after many months—probably years—of storage. The computer reminds me of my first desktop, the first one I’d ever owned, which I bought in 2005, cheaply at 25 thousand pesos at a store in Gilmore Street. My friend Luther, who would eventually graduate summa cum laude in electronics and electrical engineering, accompanied me that morning. I didn’t care what the specs were—processors and RAMs were his thing, and choosing the best one for me, at a price range I could afford, thrilled him. What I was really after was how the entire ensemble would look like. I wanted my keyboards to have a clean font.

At the time, all dorm rooms had actual desktops, with heavy monitors that had to be detached from the CPU box. Residents would assemble them at the beginning of the semester. They’d be dismantled during semestral or Christmas breaks, when the dorm would be closed. Only very few people owned laptops then.

I miss that desktop. I would eventually ship it back to Mindanao, where my brother Sean would use it as his own, mostly for gaming and playing music—things I didn’t have much interest in that the time.

These days I own a very slim laptop—an 11-inch Macbook Air—which is lighter than my Internal Medicine textbook. How technology has grown indeed. I place it inside my satchel and sometimes forget it’s there.

Books I’m currently reading

St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russel. Stand outs from this short story collection: “Ava Wrestles the Alligator,” “The City of Shells,” and “Z.Z.’s Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers.” “Out To Sea,” where a beautiful girl named Augie visits an old retiree, was romantic but lonely.

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris. She’s the copyeditor of The New Yorker magazine. She’s so passionate about her work that she refers to punctuation marks like they were human beings. A very endearing work that, aside from telling us how Miss Noris got into her job (it is primarily an autobiography), she also tells us the difference between an em-dash (—), an en-dash (–), and a hyphen (-).

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. I had tons of laughs with The Mindy Project, a show written and produced(?) by Miss Kaling herself. The hilarity was in the depiction of an Ob-Gyn who had all the time in the world. In real life, my friends in that profession could barely attend dinners, with their cesarean sections and all. Very light reading but quite insightful, too.

Ending my Toxicology rotation

I HAD never talked to so many strangers over the phone as I did this month. Generally my interactions with the callers, mostly physicians, were pleasant. There were few that stood out:

-- a man from Mindanao who asked about pesticide poising. "Sino po ang nalason?" I asked.

He said, "'Yung saging ko po. Hindi ko alam kung ano ang nangyari kasi hindi na ganoon karami ang bunga niya."

-- a physician calling from Mlang, North Cotabato, who, when he asked who was on other line, recognized me. "Dr. Lance Catedral?!" Apparently he was a classmate of one of our interns last year.

My month-long Toxicology rotation would not have been half as enjoyable had I not met the following:

Toxicology

From left: Drs. Bitoy Bongon (Tox fellow), Reg Lactupo (Emergency Medicine, PGH), Leslie Garcia (Tox fellow), Jem Agnes (Emergency Medicine, Ospital ng Makati), Racquel Bruno (Internal Medicine, PGH), JP Ner (Tox fellow), Jela Matibag (Emergency Medicine, Makati Medical Center), and Nowell Catbagan (Tox fellow).

It was so fun that I understand Jela's reaction when all of us parted ways.

Jela leaves Toxicology.

See you around, dear friends!