Thursday, November 11, 2010

Coffee, Imelda, and bolero jackets…

The past is a haven for the dusty, jaundiced photographs of yesteryears. An era our great-oldies reminisce fondly with gap-toothed smiles and the slightest glimmer of tears in their eyes. It’s an old record they play while humming through conversations in their rocking chairs…over aged china and newly-brewed coffee. Recollections of what was and at times, what might have been.

Its funny how, amidst the modern and liberated present, we catch ourselves longing for the golden touch of the past, a time far beyond our grasp, but enchanting nonetheless.

Who could forget a time when the now battered and devalued peso lived neck to neck with the dollar? Doesn’t it leave you a bit green-eyed when they talk about 8-peso shoes? No wonder Imelda had so many. Now the only thing you can buy with 8 pesos is a bottle of Coke. Call yourself lucky if it’s actually cold and not febrile due to PECO’s power failure schemes. That is, by the way, an entirely different story.

The “golden years” formed a culture all in itself. A culture now thriving in attics, encased in a hardwood “baul”. The real adventure unfolds; bit by dusty bit, in yellowed handwritten letters tied in ribbon, a far cry from the emails and forwarded text messages of today. I don’t think I should be saving SIM cards and CD’s of love notes for my grandchildren to appreciate. Yes, there were years when men actually went to all that trouble. Today’s average guy can’t even conjure a passably believable excuse letter!

Speaking of granny, her tea dresses and bolero jackets are now sashaying through the runways, dishing out the mini’s and the Olsen twins’ what-the-heck-are-you-wearing couture. This is a true indication that some good things do last (and look better too). It’s either that or we’re running out of sane designers on Fashion TV.

As another indication that old things are better, I’m sure you will trade Madonna for those wimpy Disney-kid-turned-DUI-accidents any given time. There’s something about classic music that doesn’t seem to be transcending to the present generation. In other words, Justine Bieber (ahem) sucks. I can’t quite imagine anybody ever belting out a revival of “Baby, baby, baby” some 10 to 20 years from now.

There are many reasons why we’d rather be stuck in the otherwise primitive past than endure the complexities of the present. But let’s face it, we’d rather be anywhere but here, be it the past or the future, some light years away. We use it as an escape, a denial of the reality that surrounds and at the most, overwhelms us. To long for times gone by is one thing. To be stuck in the past- unaware of the present- is an entirely different matter.

Sure, it’s no bed of roses. But we can make do with Nelly instead of MC Hammer. We have the amenities of modern civilization in our hands, hot water showers, Facebook accounts, multimedia lectures, digital-do-it-all’s and automatic anything’s…not so bad huh? Imagine Marilyn Monroe in a Bluetooth scandal or Frank Sinatra singing next to Miley Cyrus…not quite my idea of converging the past into the modern jungle of the present. That’s why they’re better off without each other.

Yes, we often don’t realize what we have unless we lose it, so the clichĂ© goes. The life we live right now shouldn’t be spent wasted on trivial musings of what-has-been’s and what-might-not. Otherwise, it won’t be worth waking up to when we’d rather be dreaming all day.

The past is not something to be dwelled on, but an experience to be learned from. True, there is much to be reminisced about the past, but I think there’s no better time to live than the present…the here and now… for with it, we undo the wrongs of the past, with it, we foresee the future.

I think this is the ultimate challenge: to make the most of the present. That someday too, it will be a past worth remembering, a time fondly recalled, a memory unforgettably reminisced. Now excuse me, I think I’m late for afternoon coffee…

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