Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Last Saturday

Last Saturday marked the anniversary of my first time alone in a non-English speaking country. Have you seen the Japan2005 blog yet? Click the link on the right.

Anyway, I previously mentioned there's now an easier way for me to post posts - only problem now is I don't have internet access where I sleep (my home, mi casa, where I now reside). So how did I post this? I'm at my mother's.

Monday, April 17, 2006

A square is a rectangle

Last Friday, a group of friends and I were playing this relatively new game called Cranium; it is essentially a mix of Pictionary, Charades, Text Twist, Name That Tune, Play-Doh, and maybe Trivial Pursuit. Basically unlike the six, in Cranium you need multiple talents to win instead of just one (like drawing in Pictionary), and with a team of three or more, your talents could be showcased; that is, you don’t have to force yourself to draw a picture when you’ve overheard your friend’s mom tell her “She’s a smart kid, she used to draw on the walls, and now she’s a painter,” and meanwhile you don’t recall drawing on walls.

Anyway, in previous turns I did well for our team in scoring for tough tasks like juggling words and letters, and answering some technical trivia. One interesting technical trivia that I was able to answer – because partly it was in my expertise and line of work, and partly because it could have been answered with a Three-Little-Pigs common sense – is a true or false question about whether brick houses are better than wood houses in earthquakes. One guy confidently said that the statement was true and that “in fact,” most houses in the US are made of bricks. Oh I wish I was just as confident. Well I was also confident myself, because I know for a fact that yes, it is true that many houses in the US are made of bricks – the old houses. But actually the problem is, that they fare better in earthquakes is not true at all. Most newer homes use wood or steel or a combination of both, or if they should use bricks, they reinforce these bricks with steel. The answer was of course, false, and yeah, people remembered the Three Little Pigs.

Additional fact: many deaths in earthquakes are not caused by houses collapsing, but more by non-structural things falling down, such as lighting fixtures (imagine big chandeliers, and broken glasses and mirrors), heavy books on shelves, and yes, bricks.

On to the point of this post. It was now our team’s turn again, and it was a crucial one because we needed to score. Just one more for the other team, and they will have won already. It was again a true or false question, and the statement was “A square is a rectangle.” Our team argued over it, with perhaps my decision weighing more, because I was the top guy when it comes to some engineering-related questions (such as the previous one I mentioned.) In basketball statistics, my field-goal shooting percentage was high, almost perfect, and my answer would become, based on statistics, or history if you want to call it that way, our team’s decision. So everyone had agreed it was false, and if I remember correctly, I made the final call. We said it was false. I don’t know what went through my head, but as the opposing team had said, it was an easy one. Maybe them not saying that it was easy made it not easy for us, and we thought it was a trick question. Our answer was incorrect.

Today is approximately three days from that event, and at one point, I still somehow felt bad about making that mistake, thinking about maybe I got peer-pressured or something and all that stuff.

Today, that one statement, “A square is a rectangle,” made me realize that I still tend to keep my old clothes, my old shoes, my old things. I thought that I was on my way to becoming more and more a positive person, with the past not anymore haunting me as nightmares but more now only as hands-on experiences from which I’ve learned much and nothing more.

I am looking forward to… what’s the term… well in English-Filipino, “not having ‘sama ng loob’.” Like there are some people who could have done better, but they didn’t, and who I am now is a consequence of them not doing better. But this is all in the past. I should let go. I’ve taken that first step of accepting my deficiencies. It’s now a matter of mitigation. I haven’t crossed that bridge yet; but I have taken the first step.

“A square is a rectangle.” There maybe something more to that statement than what it has made me realize so far. But for what that statement has done now, that is enough. We’ll find more discoveries in the future. They say it takes a lifetime to get to know a person completely. Maybe it takes a lifetime also to get to know our very own selves. We weren’t so conscious about our very own personalities when we were younger, and that might explain the preceding sentence. Emphasis on the “Maybe.”

But the truth is, you go deep in to the meaning of things, but do not over-interpret, and you’ll find that some things are as simple as they seem to be. A square is a rectangle.