THE FOLLOWING EVENTS HAPPEN BETWEEN 5:00 AM and 5:00 PM
Episode Title: Enter the Torture Chamber
Episode Writer: me
Episode Aired on: 30 July 2004
Previously on 24: An assignment for CSDC has just been assigned and it's already five in the afternoon of the previous day and the paper is nowhere near existence. Will our group have enough time to prepare?
I accidentally lose the format of the paper that was entrusted to me so that I could send it to the entire team, as I commute home on a bus. Panic sets in and my mom is already praying the rosary. Could things get any worse? When I get home, I call up everyone and anyone who might have a copy of it. Kissa -- the sweetest person on earth -- has a copy and dictates the entire thing to me over the phone. I write it down carefully on the back of my Sociology notebook, as I sit in the middle of our newly-painted sala, amidst the newspaper covered furniture.
I type it out as fast as I can and upload it to the website of the hottest team. Apparently, one of our officers had already posted the format. I was thankful. At least, I didn't delay other people from doing their paper just because I had lost the copy. Thank you Ma'am Garcia ( I wish to get chocolates from you too, one day). As I await for my groupmates to get online, I go over some articles on citizenship that i would never have thought existed.
Yahoo! Messenger is a gift from God. We are able to come up with ideas for the paper, even though they are in English. We are also able to research thanks to the hottest military website on the face of the earth. The wonders of the world wide web assist the komite ng tagdan ng bandila in accomplishing part of their task.
Now it is up to me to translate and piece together the fragments of our paper. It's already midnight and I'm not done. In fact, I have done nothing else. School seems like such a distant memory. There were tests to study for, but the paper wasn't done. And one good dilemma, always deserves another one. I didn't have any of their CSDC numbers. They had all gone offline and I didn't know what to do. Despite the fact that I was on a prepaid cellphone card, I started calling people up. No one was picking up anymore. I don't blame them. It was such an ungodly hour. The beautiful ones who answered me though, Izzy, Anj, and even people who weren't part of my group, like Ma'am Garcia, Joanna, Sam (cheer up, you're much prettier when you're smiling), were such a big help for my next big task.
I listed the entire batch according to their family names, and with the help of the numbers I had, I listed all the numbers starting from Acosta 100. Eventually, I got the numbers I wanted, though not sure of their accuracy, it wasn't important. I had to translate and piece together the remaining parts of our paper. Before I knew it, I had fallen asleep on my Trig notes without having any information on log and radioactive decay enter my head.
I'm so tired. I just woke up from a loooooooooong sleep. Right after CSDC yesterday, I just wanted to die. Seriously. I didn't know what I was going to do with myself. I woke up two minutes after I slept. I was already throwing a fit because there wasn't enough time to take a bath. Yes. That was my concern. Why did I even want to take a bath? Because my hair was stringy and my bearing wouldn't be good -- and of course, I wanted to smell good. Who doesn't? Still, I was worrying about CSDC.
I was already in tears during that three-minute shower. Why? Because:
- I was so freaking worried about that panukalang batas
Yes, not even Trig. I was so worried that our group was going to get questioned. I didn't like the queasy feeling going on in my stomach because I knew we were going to get bara. I just couldn't take that because how could we be questioned for something we didn't even have time to think about? We rushed that paper! That was just bugging me. I didn't want to see my groupmates speechless when we would be questioned.
- I didn't study for my Trig test and Lab test
My academics actually came second. NOTHING comes before my acads, but apparently, now something does. I don't know what to call it. Maybe I'm poor at managing my priorities, but I don't know why I just didn't study first. Why? I thought that the paper was going to go smoothly. It did, I guess, just not as smoothly as we had hoped for something we only had ONE half a day to figure out and prepare to present for. I guess my priorities need to be fixed.
And I am
quitesure that I flunk my Trig test. So much for getting what I want.
- I was just so frustrated. I didnt' know what to do with myself
I just wanted to be absent. I hoped for a storm, but that didn't happen and I was seriously wishing I'd drown in the shower.
So I get into the school bus and well, I guess I can't take it anymore, I just cried out loud. Mayte asked me if I was okay. I told her I was, I was just tired. When in reality, all I wanted to tell her was to buzz off. I appreciate the concern, but I was just so tired and frustrated and angry and everything else rolled into one thing -- a messed up version of myself. Even more messed up than I already am.
I get to school and I stick my paraphernalia into my back pockets while sucking in as I cannot breathe through my four layers of underclothes, just so I can have the pleasure of Ma'am Bacani telling me that I have a good/nice shirt -- and I never knew when I'd be surprise inspected. I trudge sleepily through school, gazing at the gym stage as they put up the banner for the Martyrdom Mass of our school's saint. It said Fit in, Stand out. As much as I wanted to ponder on it, there were other things on my mind.
I have never felt so at one with the batch. I finally get my butt to the third floor and I see that most of the people are as zombie-like as I am. People are bursting into tears left and right. I feel one with them. I had gone through the same thing. We are all in this together.
Lab was the first test I flunk. Zeroes are very important after all, when you measure the width of a piece of paper using the highly-praised micrometer caliper. Zeroes are very very important. Honestly, I just wanted to go on a rampage, setting the lab on fire. But then I remembered that I still needed to get my bag from the class room to save it from the fire, so I decided otherwise.
Trig was the next torture and I didn't think I could have been that stupid. I didn't know a single answer. I was unsure of the ones I actually managed to solve. There was no feeling of sure-ness. It was all doubt and uncertainty and the fact that you need your parents' signature affixed on the crazy paper after they see that you've flunked this subject too.
I never thought I'd be thanking him, but thank you to the most considerate Music teacher on earth. If he hadn't canceled our music practicals, that would have been another flunked test for me. I didn't memorize any of the pieces he had assigned and I couldn't exactly play As the Dear. Much of his subject was spent worrying about CSDC anyway.
Finally, all of the wondering was over. It was time to face the senators. I may be wrong, but aren't the senate and the congress on equal footing? Why did I suddenly feel so inferior? Everyone was acting normally. I just felt so nervous. I felt as if I was standing before the judges who would sentence me to either death or a life sentence.
Finally, the presentation is finished and the questions are thrown at us. We manage to answer them, but since there isn't enough time, they throw in a few questions that we aren't supposed to answer. That just made me want to cry -- again. Why would they ask us questions and not give us time to answer them? I just felt so embarrassed. I felt as if all the other congresswomen were looking at us with such disgust. We weren't able to answer the questions. But the thing is, we could answer them. Izzy was begging me to let her answer, but it was clear that they didn't want us to answer them. I just felt like screaming.
We worked so hard on that bill. Please give us time to answer the questions, because fact is, WE CAN. What hurt me even more, is not everyone was questioned. I know there wasn't enough time, but shouldn't we all be treated equally? Grill one group about their bill, grill the rest. That was what hurt me the most.
Sure, I flunk my Trig test, and even my Lab practicals. I was sleepless and frustrated, but the only thing I asked for was equal treatment. It didn't even matter that our bill wasn't voted for by any of the other groups. And it didn't matter that we didn't get the vote of being the best vote, even though I know that we worked so damn hard on that, what mattered was we all got treated equally.
Our officers thanked us for all the hard work. They said we had made them proud. That made me smile for a while. Then I realized something.
I didn't feel it was worth it. I didn't feel the accomplishment. All I felt was regret. Why didn't I just study for Trig? Maybe even just a few minutes. As I fell asleep on the school bus bench, the only thing going through my head was I had flunk Trig for nothing.
At least Jack Bauer got something out of his missions. He saved the world, or at least California. And just like the Pastoral Spiral, now there is a new situation to worry about: my ADMU essay. In a blink of an eye, all that I had painstakingly worked for is over, without me feeling any results.
No satisfaction guaranteed. At least not for me.