Today, I took my first tentative steps towards independence: I sold my financial soul to the gods of Philippine real estate in exchange for a little shoebox I can call my home.
People with a superficial knowledge of my life and who I am would probably think I’m crazy for wanting to live on my own, when I can easily live at my parents’ and enjoy the free food and free board (in a very very comfortable, spacious, well-lit room) for an indefinite period of time. It’s not because my parents are suffocatingly strict; on the contrary, they’re actually pretty cool for Filipino parents. Not only do they let me stay out late on weekends and allow me to go to trips out of town and abroad by myself; they’ve stopped giving me hell about my smoking, and don’t mind when my friends come over
to trash the place like rock stars. Hell, they let my (then) boyfriend stay at our place last year. Seriously, how many Filipino parents would say yes to a request like, “So there’s this guy I met on the Internet and we’re together now and I’m madly in love with him and can I keep him in the guest room while he comes here to visit for two weeks?” I think my dad was a little bit relieved when I told him that Ale and I decided to just stay friends. He once caught me and Ale asleep together and damn near had a stroke.
That’s exactly my point, though. No matter how cool my parents are, parents are still parents who’ll still restrict their children in little ways that they can’t stand. I hate having to answer the usual battery of questions of who, what, where, and what-time-will-you-be-home before I head out. It embarrasses me that at 22 years old, my parents still insist on driving me to and picking me up from places even though I’m perfectly able to use public transportation. What finally convinced me to seriously work on Plan Move Out was when my mom snapped at me for putting a little too much patis on my arroz caldo. At this age, I really should be eating my food the way I want to.
More than just the desire to be free in these many little ways, it also bothers me that I have it too easy. I’m too sheltered from the harsh realities and inconveniences of everyday life and as much as I love my parents, I don’t need their protection anymore. What I need is to learn how to live on my own and the drama of grown-up responsibilities that come with it, like paying the bills, coming up with the money to pay the bills, doing the laundry, or making my own meals.
By late 2012, home will be one-bedroom flat I fondly call The Shoebox. You know how the song Little Boxes is pretty much a description of American suburbia? I think condominiums are like shoeboxes stacked neatly into tall towers. The Lauren of six months ago would have found that severely depressing, and in a way I still do, but I really like my Shoebox and I think I’m going to enjoy living there. It’s on the sixth floor and faces the sunrise, the size is just right, the payment terms are amazingly easy, and the brochures didn’t give me any crap about how the development is master-planned to be the urban yuppie’s ultimate escape from the noise and pollution of the city. I hate those pretentiously-named condominium projects designed to be a self-sustaining city, as if the simulacra of landscaped gardens and gleaming shop windows could trick me into thinking life in the Philippines is this easy and pretty. The building I’ll be living in is a little more honest than that: it has its intercoms and security guards, but if I look out the window I can admire the Pasig river in all its murky glory.
Beginning March, I need to put at least 15,000 pesos into my brand new checking account at the 23rd of every month, or I’ll be a criminal for issuing bouncing checks. This means that unless I earn at least 20 thousand upwards per month, I’ll have to cut back on the going out and the shopping. Maybe I am crazy for deciding to buy my own place even though I don’t have a “real job” and have no plans of ever becoming an office monkey again. Maybe I have too much faith in my guerilla money-making skills. But if I don’t learn to do this now, I’ll always be this daydreamy overgrown kid who’s never known a day of serious grown-up responsibilities.
I wonder if I can still call myself a Marxist now that I’m on my way to owning private property.Google+