I just found an old photo of 18-year old me in my old room in Ilang-Ilang Residence Hall. Well, actually, one of my friends sent it to me thru e-mail, saying she recovered it from her old laptop. Couldn't help but wax nostalgic about my stay in there (two years and one summer), well, not surprisingly, what with my "reflective nature" (a euphemism for daydreaming, I guess, as remarked by my schoolpaper supervisor back in high school on my seeming inattentiveness).
Now, here I am, making lists out of the blue. If you think that I've nothing to do, I've LOADS. Which is why I refuse to stick to the present goals and happily hop alongside the ghost of me. I HATE BEING BUSY (and don't get those who are happy to say that their lives are in a hurried, harried effort to be significant, or meaningful, or "worth the ride," or whatever. How can it be any of those lovely cliches when you've no time to waste?).
What I do NOT miss about being 18 in a girls' dormitory:
1) Being "crowned" Banyo Queen (in the annual so-called "Kalabasa Awards." Hmmm, i wonder where my plaque and sash are) when I only cared to scrub well enough and make sure there was no hair in the drain, and when i hadn't even had a proper sexy banyo shot. At present, my brother still teases me about this title and I passionately swear that I am now capable of taking a 15-minute bath (it's true, you can time me...and yes, i am defensive!), in contrast to my 1-hour or 30-minute showers before, which, yes, earned me the title that was once Rica Peralejo's (if I am not mistaken, Mr. Andrew E.) in a completely different context.
2) Having to go to dorm/corridor/committe meetings on who was supposed to compete in the Ms. This and That competition (18-year old me: Just because I'm tall does not mean that I can be Ms. This and That. Beauty pageants are exploitative! Those brains, boobs, they aren't even real!), physical displays of affection (PDAs) in the dorm lobby, and other not-so-relevant issues.
3) Oh, and catfights, rolling eyeballs, banging doors, high school "parinig," as if the whole solar system revolved around them. Sometimes, I'm REALLY annoyed by my own sex. Actually, if you had a vagina like I do, you would notice that this bitchiness just never goes away, it's like families in Philippine politics! Not so recently, I had a girl messaging me on Facebook "not to talk to her boyfriend ever again." Her boyfriend happens to be my ex-boyfriend when I was only 16 and I am now, uhm, let me see, 17, 18, 19, 20...21! Geez, I've had my fair share of insecure, awkward teenage moments (no thanks to Barbie and Cosmopolitan magazine, and other patriarchal ideological tools), but this just really creeped me out. And it didn't make sense that she was the one who sent a friend request in the first place! And really, the guy ain't no Jude Law, so girl, chill...relax, nobody ain't gonna steal yo baby. One time, and this happened already in college, I had a boyfriend's female classmate smirk and clear her throat when she saw us together, you know, like, "Ehem! I'm here!" For some reason, she'd become hostile when I was around, and up to now, I still have no idea who she really is, well, aside from the fact that she goes to UP, too. I told my then boyfriend that this classmate of his really bugged me. Next thing I knew, he'd tell me how he sent her a message on Facebook, asking her to stop and the girl was like, "HOW DARE YOU? I NEVER DID ANY OF THIS THINGS! ANG FEELING MO! WHAT THE FUDGE!" or something to that effect (I got to read the messages and we just laughed so hard!). I figured out that she must have really, really hated me, OR that she really, really liked my man, which did not benefit her either way. What is up with girls wanting to eat other girls alive? It is sooooo anti-woman power. It is not attractive, and neither is it fulfilling in any way. All that anger should be deflected toward the real oppressors of the sex and the lower classes, instead. Bitches of the world, unite! You've nothing to gain but actual brains.
4) NO BOYS. And I was 18.
What I DO miss about being 18 in a girls' dormitory:
1) Being in a HUGE dorm room with three roommates/alarm clocks. I could not seem to heave myself up even if I had two phones ringing in sync every morning. A friend who had the same problem actually advised me to put one of my phones on vibrate and place it in a "sensitive part" of my body. Needless to say, it still didn't work! My roommates happened to have all their classes earlier than I did. And from then on, all three or two or one of them would try to get my ass off the bed before they left for school. I remember how nice they would smell, fresh from the shower and everything, while I still probably had saliva all over my pillow. I loved all my roomates!
2) Blushing at the sight of the smartest, prettiest (to me) dormmate on whom I still have a little crush up to now. We liked the same books, we liked the same movies, we both rode on bikes; which brings me to
3) My short affair with a Padyak bicycle. You see, I only pretended I could ride a bike just so I could have a bike just for the fun of it. And the pretending only lasted a month or so, after riding all the way home on a flat tyre; almost getting hit by a stupid car with a stupid driver on the wrong lane; and falling down on the side of the road, my bike blocking the driveway, holding a traffic of three jeepneys or so, and my friend, Marie Francisco, coincidentally walking with her other friends across the road, shouting, "LARA MENDIZABAL! What the hell are you doing?")
4) Girlfriends like Jean Sales and Jacklyn Belo only doors away, with their Nescafe sachets, Red Ribbon cakes, animated stories, gossip on UP professors (they are the best subjects, more than any living not/famous student there is out there), tears over their own and others' failed love affairs.
5) DVD and book rentals for lower than P20. Watching and reading for days until I noticed "I forgot to take a bath yesterday...or was it the other day?" Hence, giving my official Banyo Queen title a break.
6) Gentle smiles from and playful banter with the security guards, laundry women, cleaning and cooking staff. Up to now, I can still enter Ilang-ilang freely without a dorm ID, or without a UP ID, even, because the staff still know me there, and I still get my laundry done by Aling Tere, who has taken care of my clothes since I was a sophomore. I fell in love not just with the place, but with the people; and mostly, I fell in love with
7) The scent of coffee and secret thoughts lingering forever in the halls, down the corridors, and in the very recesses of the rooms that I have shared with many other 18-year old girls before and past me. =)
It's official. I miss being a dormitoryana.
Note: The author was transferred to another women's dorm after Ilang-ilang when she was 19, but it has, sadly, failed to be what ILREHA was to an 18-year old she. And oh, she is no more a Banyo Queen. And no, I am not being defensive.