We celebrate the feast day of Saint Isidore with a beauty pageant of bikini-clad teenage girls. People of all ages in the town are all gathered in the multi-purpose hall to witness this event. Local politicians are present to make their speeches and they are thanking this person and that person, and all the people gathered here, and of course the young people whose bodies we are about to ogle here in this feast day of Saint Isidore, May 15th. It is not an easy thing to do, the Vice-Mayor said. It takes a lot of guts and courage, so we should not heckle and say negative things about our brave and courageous and beautiful candidates. The Vice-Mayor is the daughter of the current Mayor of the Municipality of which this town is a constituent. The Vice-Mayor’s hair is a tribute to the 80s. It looked like it was sculpted first and then lowered with a crane on to the top of her head. She is about middle-aged and she is wearing this black lacy top, and jeans.
The night is warm this summer, people are gathered tightly-packed in front of the tiny stage in the open-air multi-purpose hall. It is mostly young people here. There are stalls selling popcorn at five pesos per small pack, fruit shakes at either five or ten pesos per plastic cup, size-dependent. I bought two five-peso cup mango shakes. I gave one to my brother. He is glowing red, practically incandescent in the badly-lit multi-purpose hall. We have just been to an uncle’s house where we ate a meal of pig’s blood, rice, and pork vegetable soup. Also there was beer. I counted one and a half cups my brother imbibed. Me, I lost count, but it was probably like seventy-five percent of a liter of beer. I have remarkably high alcohol tolerance. It takes a lot for me to be drunk, and I don’t stay drunk easily. While taking in the atmosphere of the festivities, a though appeared in my head, a question: Why is it that the drunker I am, the more I have the urge to write something?
Which was an unfortunate thing. I did not bring any writing implement, and besides there was no place where I could write. Overall it was typical drunk logic, which is to say it was illogical. But it felt good to think thus. Thank God for alcohol, one of the cool things in this world. Drink moderately.
Then up on the stage, while I was thinking thus, this girl’s turn to do her bikini walk. A cousin sidled up to me, and said, she’s a cousin of ours. Oh, I said, and strained my eyes. I seemed to have developed a bad case of drunk blindness, which is when you are so drunk your vision gets all fuzzy. Blind drunk, I thought, so this is where that phrase came from. I tried but failed to focus my sight. I ain’t no prude, but this whole event is much too icky for my taste. Maybe it’s the presence of older people. I mean, like, if it’s a youthful affair, no oldies allowed, then maybe it would be interesting. As it is, you have these old folks, semi-drunk to blind drunk, ogling as Rizal wrote ‘the hope of our fatherland,’ which is a very Eurocentric thing to say. Russia always though of their country as ‘Mother Russia,’ while Germany’s mindset I guess is more patriarchal. Anyway, I bought more popcorn, gave one to my brother who is wearing this black shirt with the words up front printed silver saying ‘Fly Me to the Moon.’ It’s a reference to the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. Fly Me to the Moon was originally sung by Frank Sinatra. Fly Me to the Moon was covered by the voice actress for the character of Rei Ayanami and it is the ending song of each of the episodes of the anime. I’d rather be back in my room watching my anime and shows and whatever, than be here.
On the way back to the house, riding at the back of another cousin’s motorcycle, I gazed at the darkness of the sky. The air was cold as it whooshed past us. Three of us in the motorcycle – cousin driving, my brother, then me. This is a primarily agricultural place, and there’s a vast space for all the projects of this agricultural college, which is the nearest center of higher learning in this municipality. Starry night, you can see much because the politicians and people here seem not to believe in street lamps. The cold wind contributed to my being back in a more sober state, and I thought about our dogs, and our rooster, which we haven’t fed yet, et cetera.