Three Questions

Date posted on June 5, 2006

Norms did this personality assessment test of sorts on us last week. It’s the kind where you’re asked questions and your answers are supposed to reflect aspects of your personality. I’ve always been a sucker for those stuff so I gladly obliged.

It’s pretty simple. The three questions:

1) What’s your favorite animal, and why?

2) Which animal is for you, okay lang? The one you have no strong feelings for? Yung wala lang? Why?

3) Which animal do you hate, and why?

We were supposed to support our answers by enumerating the traits of that animal that we answered to a particular question.

The first was easy. I answered “Horse.” They’ve always been one of my favorite animals. It was a toss up between a horse and a dolphin.

For the second question, I answered “Dogs.” I actually have three dogs: Mutt Li, Reiko, and Mecca (I have a new, fourth one, but I haven’t met her – Nixa). I love them to bits. Primarily because they’re mine. Because I chose them to be my pets. I’ve had more dogs as pets than any other animal, but in general, as animals, I don’t have strong feelings for dogs. Sila yung ‘wala lang.’

The third question was for me, the toughest. Of the gazzillions of animals that existed, it was hard to pick one that I hated the most. Then I remembered this trip to Palawan I had with my friends.

It was in October of 2004. A send-off gimmick for one of our good friends, Ayie, who was leaving for the States for good. Another friend of ours, Joey, is originally from Puerto Princesa, so she invited us over and made us stay in her home for free. She took on the role of our personal tour guide as well.

We went island hopping in Honda Bay (where the famous Dos Palmas island resort is located), visited favorite local destinations in the outskirts of PPrincesa, and checked out the night life (which in PP meant singing with DOMs and giggly girls in a sleazy videoke bar). Of course, there was the perfunctory drinking session till the wee hours of the morning. Half of our group was inebriated beyond recognition. Yung hostess nga namin, si Joey, nung tulugan na, panay

ang dasal. “Lord… Thank you for the sweet watermelons… Thank you for my friends… I pray we won’t have hang over tomorrow…”

And then we went to St. Paul Cave, the subterranean river national park that was declared a World Heritage Site. It was a good 3-hour drive north of PPrincesa. I’ve done the boat tour of the dark cave before, and the novelty of the boatman’s spiels and jokes do wear out (pang-one time, big-time lang), so I, along with two other friends, decided to stay in the picnic area and wait for the first timers to return instead, surrounded by humongous monitor lizards and scavenging monkeys.

I was so tired from the night before that I decided to take a nap on the picnic bench while my two other friends munched on the snacks we brought. Slowly, I fell into the land of Nod. I

haven’t even started snoring when I was jolted out of sleep by a sudden motion above my head, accompanied by frantic shrieks from my friends.

I shot up and jumped on the table, paranoid and afraid that one of the bayawaks had bitten my leg without me realizing it. I was fine (if you don’t count my almost heart-attack). It was then that my friends started pointing at the woods. When I looked, they were actually pointing to the monkey who ran up our picnic table and stole some of the food that we brought – right in front of my friends! As in, hindi man lang natakot. Walang kahiya-hiya, naglulundag siya papunta sa mesa namin, tumalon sa ibabaw ng natutulog kong katawan, at ninakaw ang pagkain sa gitna ng magkatapat at nagkwe-kwentuhan kong mga kaibigan. Ganon ka garapal.

I was so pissed. Not because of the loss, but because I was still shaking and my heart was beating so fast. I felt scared, and one-upped! We kept shouting at the monkey and the rest of his posse, trying to shoo them away, but they just stared right back at us, undaunted. I threw something at them, which sent them scurrying off. But it wasn’t long before they were back, surveying our perimeter and eyeing our picnic basket.

So finally, I had an answer to the last question. The animal I hated the most: Monkey.

 

I said I liked horses the most because they’re intelligent and regal. I also think they’re strong and loyal. Profound even, if that makes sense. They just have that impression on me. Come to think of it, those are the same traits I like in dolphins.

Norman said the animal we like the most represents how we think people see us. I guess, in effect, it means it’s how we hope people see us. Going a step further, I guess it’s how we think of ourselves.

I fell silent after he said what that first question meant. It was kinda embarrassing to unintentionally disclose that I think of myself as intelligent, regal, and profound.

Although I believe it, on a certain level. On the intelligent part, I think I’ve reason to think that I am naman. Lagi ngang biruan namin ng kaibigan ko… Pumasa kaya ako ng UPCAT! Pero yung “regal” at “profound,” parang… OA na ata. Feeling na. Feeling deep. Feeling royalty pa.

The second question tells us how people actually see us. Sabi lang naman yan ni Norman. I chose dogs because, “I like them a lot, but they’re everywhere. They’ve lost their novelty. Parang… taken for granted.” They’re lovable, smart, loyal, reliable… but every other household has one. You go to middle class neighborhoods and you’d see them roaming around. Every member of a breed looks the same. Unless they’re temperamental, they’re all deemed cute. Kumbaga, unless you’re its master, you won’t be able to recognize the individuality of one dog from the other. Kaya nga nababale-wala.

That that’s how people saw me made me think. And it actually stung. Precisely because I feel taken for granted in a lot of ways. Maybe it’s because I don

‘t have siblings of my own, but I really put a lot of weight on my relationships with friends. Mom ko na lang kasama ko, medyo estranged pa ko sa mga kamag-anak ko. E matampuhin pa ko. Tipong, sana maaalala ako ng kaibigan ko, sana gawin niya to sa kin, pero wala naman akong gagawin para mangyari yon. I’d remember the times they’d look for me because they needed me, and only then. Kahit alam kong di sadya, I put a lot of meaning in actions and events. Not like I’m maudlin, but I admit to being sentimental, though not necessarily expressive. Silent cries for attention. I’m a paradox that way. I usually get over those mild KSP attacks by thinking it’s all in my head. OA lang ako at maisip. Most of the time, it really is the case, after all. Such rationalization usually pulls me through.

That my answer to the second question affirms that people do

take me for granted depressed me.

Maybe it’s karma. That’s how I see dogs because that’s how I am with my own dogs. I do take them for granted. There’re days when the only time I get to pet Mutt Li, Reiko and Mecca is when I arrive home from work, if at all, and only because their roofed bedspace is strategically located in front of my garage. Kung hindi pa siguro, baka nga di ko pa sila maaalala. I even feel – no, I know for a fact – they’re closer to my helper. They just look out to me when I I go to my car to leave. But when Dora, my helper, comes out to open the gate for me, they’d bark their lungs off for attention. If it really were karma, isn’t it a little hyperbolic a retribution?

Finally, the Monkey. I know that they’re man’s closest relative. They’re intelligent and clever, but I hate them the most because like Darth Vader, it’s like they turned to the dark side. Like they’re using they’re intelligence for selfis

h reasons. They’re rude and shrewd. Stubborn and unpredictable. Loud, annoying. You know how some kids look like they’re small adults? Well monkeys are like small lolo’s. At least all the other animals look like animals. Monkeys look like they’re bad effigies of human beings. Man when disproportionate and mentally regressed. Freaky. Freaks.

 

Then Norman said, they represent who we really are.

Ayun na. That’s when I knew all this was bullshit. Napaisip-isip pa ko. Nadepress-depress pa ko. Pucha.

Ako, unggoy!?