When I was a high school freshman, one of my ambitions in life (after getting over my “Sineskwela fan ako at gusto kong maging isang mahusay na scientist!” phase) was to become a DJ. Of course, that was the time when I did not love Math and English as much as I do now. I was already singing when I was 8 months old. At age 23, I unearthed one of our old tapes in the previously ipis-infested storage room.
I listened to a tape recorded, almost 1-year-old Helen singing one line over and over again: “Somewhere out there… Somewhere out there…” (Parang pirated CD lang! Pero in fairness, nasa tono naman!)
But I played that precious antique tape so often and I ended up destroying the humble beginnings of my now buried singing career, lol. Casette tape players are hard to come by these days. I should have converted it into an mp3 or something before the old tape malfunctioned. It would have been awesome to brag about it to my grandchildren or something.
My mom loved the radio so much and from the time I was conceived up to now, I always hear the sounds of FM radio resonating in our very humble abode. But when I told her in high school that I wanted to be a DJ, she scolded me and said that I should try medically related professions (my dad also shared the same sentiment). For a person who relied so much on the radio, she, in my twelve-year-old mentality, seemed ironic and strange. But as a young professional working woman now, I finally realized why she had wanted me to become a nurse (and why my dad wanted me to become a doctor).
But that’s not the reason why I call my mom a Bomber Woman. She did not really bomb my life’s passions. She was just being practical. And she had grand ambitions for her daughter, understandably.
She is a literal Bomber Woman because aside from the radio fanaticism, she continues to play that Family Computer game Bomber Man up to this day. But this time, she plays it on her Nokia phone. I can disturb her during her soap opera watching, her dish washing and her house cleaning, but there’s no competing with Bomber Man once it held her captive. You will unearth the grapes of a gamer’s interrupted wrath if you try to rip her attention off her Nokia E-series cellular phone screen.
I tried playing that game, but I never enjoyed the panic of running against ninjas and planting bombs just to get to the next level. I usually end up bombing my own character when I played, and my mom will just laugh out loud when my bits and pieces of my character blow up in an explosive mix of red and orange. I was never the competitive type since birth. I liked moving at my own pace.
I am so far from becoming a DJ right now. But I cannot imagine a day without music in it. I just love music. I remember the songs I hear when I was still in my diapers. For some strange unfathomable reason, I remember vividly some memories of my babyhood. I even remembered doing my very first live experiment with Vicks Vaporub and cooking oil which had my mom fuming with rage. That was the time when I was able to crawl out of my crib and climb up to the shelves.
The moment I realized that my fingers were slimy with the cooking oil with Vicks Vaporub at age 2, I kinda had a hint that I am a really strange woman in the making. 🙂 It took me more than 20 years to accept that fact, even though as a child I already had forebodings in the form of these strange experiments I did as a baby. This out of the box thinking has benefited me a lot, though it was so privy to misunderstanding and misinterpretations.
So here I am now, older by 25 years but still singing “Somewhere Out There” in my mind. Because I don’t know where to go next and the phrase “Somewhere Out There” seems to suffice for this convoluted time being. I have no more Vicks Vaporub Cooking Oil experiments to busy myself with because I am busy with the boring things that old working people are busy with. I can no longer afford those thrilling fancies of my childhood, although a huge part of the inner child remains up until this moment.
And in some aspects of my life, I feel as cornered as the Bomber Man character I used to play with. I was never really a Bomber Man fan. I am more of the Super Mario kid who gets moving and exploring. I hope I don’t blow myself up into pieces as I try to find my way to Super Mario Land again at age 25. I just want to know where to go next and just frigging get there already.
Meanwhile, I amuse myself in spite of this proletarian monotony by playing DJ to myself: fixing my iTunes app with matching in-ear earphones to boot. And somewhere out there, I know, I will be able to figure things out– probably not in the same way my Bomber Woman mom dealt with her life’s cards, but at least in a fairly strong and decent way as well.