Saturday, December 05, 2015

Feeling Screwed Up

Last night, I finished Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw and cannot stop cursing Henry James, because I thought I did not really like a ghost story, no matter how gothic; but in between, I thought, is Henry James’ narrator insane?  (It was much, much later, when I learned about Henry James’ ambiguity, that I realized, it was Henry James’ writing working in my head) but hearing me, Ja asked, why don’t you ask Henry James? Stop complaining to us. But Henry James is dead, I said.  Oh, Ja said. Then, he added, and how is the language? He’s a 19th century author, why would you like to read him? I said, I came to open the page while I was waiting for that guy in B’la, and realized I could not put it down. The guy—who was supposed to put on the grills in the upper windows—did not arrive and so, I continued reading.  I haven’t finished it when I needed to go back here so I took the book along with me despite my earlier promise never to bring new books to the new house, which is very small, and already too crammed with books.  But I can’t help it.  I needed to lose myself in a book to fight the deep uneasiness already bogging me, creating havoc to my nerves. At home, Pa kept saying, he used to have a classmate who used to have so many books, he was so stupid. Bobo. Dull. I told him I met so many people, Pa, who never went to school and yet were very brilliant, they had super-first-class minds. I was thinking of the lumads, who were clear-headed in their thinking. He did not reply.  I also met a lot of people who went to school and graduated and who were very stupid, they didn’t know how to use their minds. He said, I used to have a classmate who had so many books but was so dull (bobo).  I said, maybe, he never read his books? He said, how can he read them, there were so many? He said he never had any book, only a notebook, and yet, he was very smart.  Later, I realized, Pa must have been talking about me: was he thinking I have so many books and is so bobo? I was horrified.
I was getting anxious because I felt I was already being left behind by the election stories that were going very fast, I had trouble keeping up. And yet, while my world was slipping away, leaving me behind, I got so stuck in B’la, where Ma and Pa kept staring in space, as if nothing was happening to the world, and Pa would suddenly say, I need to go to town, I need to drink beer in town, and Ma would be frantic, running after him.  Watching them, I get so confused, disoriented. I could no longer understand what’s happening to me.  Oftentimes, I have grave doubts why I’m even spending time in B’la, especially when Ma and Pa are behaving like they never really needed me there, resenting my presence.  I’d asked Ja, are you sure, there really is any worth to what I am doing? They don’t seem to like me there. Why am I doing this? Why do I need to spend time in B’la when they keep saying to me they don’t even need me there? Why would I go there when I really badly need to earn an income here? Why do I need to sacrifice days-without-income watching them, only to be snapped at, and to be made to feel I was a total failure just because I love books and I hate to drink alcohol?

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