yesterday morning, i woke up with a start. i slept through a series of alarms from my suunto and my iPhone and when i got to the office, severely late, i discovered that i had a bad stutter. i couldn't get through even the simplest sentences without repeating certain syllables. the speech impediment, of course, was a result of a seriously bad hangover. i had orchestrated a stampede of red horses during kuya mar's extravagant birthday bash at the top grill videoke. since a few weeks ago, kuya mar had designated me as chief coordinator of his annual bash, compared to which other AMCI parties pale in terms of cost. noting that last year's cruise around manila bay went way past half a hundred, he wanted this year's party to be, in his words, "simple lang." he had already decided on top grill as the destination, and despite having failed in my first job as his party coordinator in 2005 (i followed his request to have it at digi café), i had another chance to do it again, properly. my chief task really was just to negotiate for a good deal with top grill management, but in that aspect, my skills as a smooth talker were unavailing. the manager had absolutely no logic, and had bad business sense. i wanted the corkage on the lechon waived, because anyway, they were still going to make loads of moolah from the minimum charge per head. it just wouldn't sink in. my threats to have the party elsewhere fizzled. there are just people who cannot think outside of a constricting box.
nonetheless, i put together the party and ordered food which i liked: chap chae, chicken bottoms, grilled tuna, chicken lollipop, etc. our clock promptly began at 9:00pm (and top grill's clock is like 15 minutes ahead of everyone else's), and people trickled in one by one. by 10:45pm, the venue was shaking with the combined noise of about 67 people, shouting, singing, drinking beer, wolfing down the lechon, and toasting to kuya mar's 35th birthday. i actually just came out with that number in the invite i had sent out. someone told me: ang kulit ng invitation ni kuya mar, ang funny. "i wrote that!" i blurted out... now this is about kuya mar's birthday, but then again, this is also my blog. haha. so you'd have to excuse me for sounding as if i'm eclipsing the birthday celebrant.
so of the close to 70 people at the venue, about 15 of them were from batch 2k8. i have only met about 6 of the present batch of trainees, so i've received questions like: how come you're never at our runs? or will you join TC2? or you're not active but you're famous. or let's party at our acquaintance this friday. i wanted to round them up and hold a press conference right there on why i'm on sabbatical. it is rather strange that i've turned something supposedly disgraceful into a huge joke, i'm actually proud about it. it's no longer embarrassing, and i swear other people are more eager than me about counting down the remaining days till my return. i have to honestly say that they are probably more excited than i am.
so as chief coordinator, i hogged the mic most of the time, coaxing people to sing with my ersatz DJ baritone and polished english, using limited edition AMCI duathlon caps and AMCI baller IDs as bait. after my second rendition of nora aunor's "kahit konting awa", i was already terribly hoarse. the party would have lasted till early morning had the following day been a holiday, but alas, work was upon us, and people began sneaking out at around 1am. there is a gap in my memory and i don't remember what took place between 2:30am and 3:30am, but at around 4, we found ourselves having schublig, coffee and hot chocolate at the opulent lobby of the manila pen. roy, in his drunken state, made these silly advances, and i got home just as the morning sky was breaking into dawn. more than having done better this time around as coordinator, i think what was important was that we managed to give kuya mar the birthday he wanted. he was more than happy, very very drunk, and sang to his heart's content. happy belated birthday kuya mar. that one was for you.