Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

missing home, toilet seats, the blues and music idols!

Posted on April 27, 2007 by jimparedes

It’s a cloudy, overcast day in Washington DC and I am all alone in this big house owned by Doden and Babylou Besa. Doden, a classmate and old friend are out with Danny, Boboy and a few other friends playing golf despite the warning of rain. They say it never rains in the golf course..

Winnipeg was fun although a bit tedious. All we did was promote the show. We only really had a week to do it but still managed to get a 40% crowd on concert night. More than the numbers, what was gratifying was how well we were received by our mostly first-time watchers. It was great and it melted the cold for most of us who were beginning to get sick.

I spent my last day in Winnipeg photographing two gorgeous half-Pinays at the Forks, a touristy area downtown. That was fun. Will post pics soon.

Every time I travel to North America, I am pleasantly amazed at how fully stocked and generally clean public toilets are. I keep wondering why we can’t seem to do this as a standard in the Philippines. I laugh when I remember a Fil-am niece of mine asking where all the toilet seats are in the Philippines since she sees so few when they go around and have to use a bare toilet. Is there a toilet seat thief who collects all these and sells them off somewhere? Or perhaps a toilet seat collecting syndicate that has hoarded these for its own twisted and sinister ends? If so, what could they be? Then there are the missing rolls of toilet paper, the paper towels and the soaps to wonder about as well.

I miss my family in a major way. I wish I could just pack up and go home to Sydney. It will be another 2 ½ weeks before I see Lydia in Manila and I am so looking forward to that. I carry her picture on my cellphone. Then it’s Sydney for me after a few more shows.

I am torn when I read my daughter’s blogs as they talk about where they are at present. Clearly, they are going through the ‘blues of the unsettled’, or growing pains of finding their place in their universe. An Oprah episode discussed this once and the panelists said that the hardest time for young people is the age from 20 to 25 thereabouts. It’s a time of confusion, craziness and a doubting of oneself and capabilities.

As a parent, I wish I could help and rescue them from it so they don’t have to go through it. But I also know that each person is meant to go through his/her own life making their own right or wrong decisions by themselves. That’s how it is. At best, we can only be supportive and be there when they ask for help.

Everyone starts of from a comfort zone but sooner or later, we all get booted out of Eden, into the adult world where pain, suffering, confusion meet us on the journey. The awakening that must happen will be the only thing that will rescue them and help them convert all this energy into productive living. I know they will do it as many others did. But I still suffer with them nevertheless.

My generation, as all others before me, went through it too. I remember being 23 and a college graduate and had this great fear of applying for a job and working. Part of it was because I could not handle rejection.

I just wanted to sing with this struggling group called APO and stay doing it until it stopped being fun. Little did I know that I had serendipitously landed myself a career, a job and a calling at the same time. But the realization came years later as I struggled, cried, rose and fell, had big doubts about everything I was doing for sometime. I was my worse critic I loved to beat myself up and had no solid belief in the dream that we would amount to something. I may have looked confident but I was not. During that time, there was no one I knew who entered showbiz coming from Ateneo. It was scary since I could not even pattern my life on anyone else’s.

But I just plodded along and did the best in whatever I was doing. Many times I was whistling in the dark, faking it to make it. What else was there to do? I just showed up and did what needed to be done. I was not too concerned about money even if there were bills to pay. Somehow, I would always have the money for rent, for groceries, gas etc.

I believe that the Universe takes care of things like logistics and money matters if you are doing the job that you were meant to do. That’s one of my major articles of faith.

I did not have parents who could rescue me financially but I did not sweat over it. We were very middle class, not exactly poor but we counted the small change. One thing I knew then was when you didn’t have a lot of money, you didn’t worry, or if you did, just a little. When you start to have a lot, you worry much more.

When times are rough like now, and I struggle with loneliness, cold and weariness, I remind myself that everyone gets this feeling now and then. This goes with every job whatever it is if you’ve been doing it long enough. What is important is to remind myself that THIS feeling shall pass. This job is what I do. A big portion of my life work is about writing, performing music. That’s why I am away from my loved ones. That’s why I am in a cold place right now. And so I must learn to continually accept and allow the flow of the work to happen. I could give myself a harder time by dwelling on my feelings too much. Further resistance will get me nowhere near I want to be.

In a few days, I will finally be face to face with my favorite artist. Her name is Joyce and she is from Brazil. I discovered her in 1991 when I was in Rio de Janeiro and I bought random albums in a music store. To my surprise, I had stumbled on a great talent. I have about 15 albums of Joyce now. She will be performing at Yoshi’s in Oakland near San Francisco on May 9.

There was a time when I was listening to her so much her music was background to my dreams during sleep. I jokingly asked my wife once that if I ever meet Joyce, would she look away if I behaved like a hopeless romantic? Joyce is an attractive woman, based on album covers taken years go. But I guess she is in her 50s now, a little plump, older looking, but never mind. She is still oozing with talent and that will still seduce me to drunken pleasure as I enjoy a night of her music and singing.

Watch out Joyce! I’m coming at you with camera, an album for signature and lots of fan drool.

8 to “missing home, toilet seats, the blues and music idols!”

  1. DaveLock says:

    First comment? – I feel honoured. 🙂

    Parenting “post-teens” is a fine line between guiding them & smothering them. But I think you have to bite your tongue & let them find their way, all the while letting them know there’s always a door they can knock on for support. I think this is Dad’s time to shine, because Mums really struggle to let go – don’t they?

    But parts of this story remind me of a conversation I had with a work-mate the other day. He was commenting that his daughter was struggling in senior high school with maths & science, & he said “and they are the subjects that will get her a good job”. I challenged his comment & said that just maybe the job she will eventually do has not even been invented yet. Imagine if you had said at high school you were going to be an eBay trader – before the internet had even been thought of!

    I find myself more & more envying people like yourself Jim, that know where their pleasure in life is. You had the courage to resist the career that would have given you the back & eye problems from staring at a stupid screen all day, like the rest of us do. Instead, you chose to take the role of reminding the rest of us what life is all about through your wonderful music etc. I miss my young days in bands so much (I still have my Les Paul though, bought in 1982, as my “crutch”).

    Thank god you did stay that path, because people like me cherish that reminder of life that your music etc provides.

    Try not to head-butt Joyce too hard when getting her autograph! 🙂


  2. Cristina says:

    Ahahaha! Fan drool. I like that.

  3. Jim says:

    davelock–very well articulated. Yes, it’s my wife who is having a harder time. But each must find their own path. You are right about many jobs that have not been invented yet but will surely be there.Meanwhile, don’t let go of the les paul. That could be the paddle of your boat to happiness.

    I will politely approach joyce and make sure I am not whisked off by security!!

    Cristina–I will also keep my mouth closed just so I don’t make too much of a fool of mysel!


  4. Regina says:

    Funny, you’re just a day travel away from where we live (Valencia, California).

    I agree with davelock and you since I am a parent myself. Two grown children (boy&girl). My son at age 21 was falsely accused of assault with a deadly weapon. It was our worst nightmare. The DA rejected the charges (issue with witnesses’ credibilities) They considered the fact my son is a full time student taking computer science with a 4.0 GPA. My son grew up overnight and priorities changed dramatically.

    But, as story goes it was short lived. He regressed to being that small little boy again and went back into playing his video games. Kids!

    Speaking of idols, I saw one of my favs Kenny Rankin last weekend. He was awesome. Brilliant artist. Which reminds me, wear a bib when you see your idol. Drooling is not allowed. I was wearing a raincoat!

    Please tell Lydia that missing someone is richness of the heart. You appreciate them more than ever. Sorry, I’ve written long enough. Got carried away you see.

    Thanks Jim…you’re been an inspiration to us all. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get tickets for the May 12…Regina

  5. Jim says:

    regina–glad that the problem with your son has been ironed out. Yes, they do regress once the comfort zone is reestablished.

    WE front-acted for Kenny Rankin years ago and I saw him perform up close. He is really talented and really has a firm handle on what he wants to do musically. It m ust have been hard for you to stop drooling. His music and performance are magical.

    Lydia reads the comments here so for sure, umabot yung message mo.


  6. Anne says:

    i lost a good friend last Wednesday. i miss her deeply. her whole family will be burying her on Saturday thus missing your show, one that we all looked forward too. i found myself being comforted by listening to “Kaibigan” over and over again. You feel lonely yet your songs give comfort to those who are sad. you are a star and yet a fan.

    I was told yesterday that you are already in DC playing golf. but i guess you skipped that one huh. i thought i could meet you guys for lunch before the concert but i have parenting duties so i think i’ll just see you at Lisner.

    you are not an impetuous young man. you are a perpetual young man. 🙂

  7. doranne says:

    wow! joyce! you introduced me to her music.

    20-25, age of confusion? HAY, SINABI MO!! :))

  8. Jim says:

    anne–so sorry to hear about this. Will pray for your friend.


Leave a Reply to Jim

  • April 2020
    M T W T F S S
    « Mar    

↑ Top