HALF an hour before the New Year, I was high and dry, which was contrary to tradition and my temperament.
The past ten or more New Year’s Eves saw me low and mellow, usually nursing a chilly amber beverage enjoyed in the company of kindred spirits.
But this year was different.
I was on the rooftop of a Quezon City building—supposedly the highest structure in the area—and the nearest beers were out of reach. They were stored twenty feet below in a red cooler slightly larger than a car battery.
As far as I was concerned, those beers, however few and warm, represented wasted or otherwise unused resources.
The longer they were stored, the more they deprived people—mainly myself—of drinking pleasure, especially on an important event such as the New Year.
However, I had no cause to complain that night.
After all, I had turned out to be the only guest of a couple whose wedding I attended last year. [See: Road Trip]
Both fed me dinner they prepared themselves in their apartment several floors below—the guy whom I was closer to prepared barbecue while his wife fixed a pasta dish that tasted really good.
As a gesture of my appreciation, I brought beer.
That in turn required physical effort to transport to their floor because the elevator was broken.
A batch from that same set of beers was in the said cooler twenty feet down, locked up like prisoners in a cell. Meanwhile, I was up above, together with my hosts.
As we waited for midnight to strike, I was thinking of various ways to liberate those beverages, held against their will (or so I assumed).
It was more complicated than any of President Aquino’s relationships.
For starters, I had to descend on a thin, yet sturdy metal ladder that was bolted to the wall. That required physical agility and some semblance of sobriety, which, at that time, I had.
That wasn’t the crux of the problem.
Even if I successfully liberated a few beers from their unjust detention, I may already be physically unsteady to climb up the same ladder.
I also thought about bringing the cooler to the rooftop, a mission that would be immediately disavowed by the Secretary.
I had to use both hands to climb up and the cooler didn’t have a shoulder strap.
So once upon that midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary, I suddenly felt a tapping, a tapping on my shoulder.
It was my host, reminding me that it was already midnight.
Everywhere you looked, fireworks displays lit up the sky, with some shooting up beside us, giving us a full, if direct, view of these spectacles.
For the better part of an hour, my friends and I stayed at the rooftop, enjoying the show, implicitly participating in the ritual to usher in another new year.
Meanwhile, I took the chance to film the displays on video, using my Blackberry, thinking that those beers could wait. There were 364 other days after all.
Happy New Year, friends. Hope you like the videos (the longest of which is two minutes long).