(This was published in the Manila Times’ Opinion Section on June 24, 2005.)
Getting up early on Saturday mornings is an aberration, like drinking nonalcoholic beer, buying original computer software, and wearing underwear at home.
For most people, Saturday mornings are best spent in bed, trying to catch some shut-eye lost during workweek, the five-day period in which many employees sit by their desks, check their e-mails and exchange gossip without actually getting anything done.
This, in turn, explains why corporations have hired additional employees called human resource personnel whose jobs include making sure that people are actually awake while at the office.
Fortunately, amateur opinion writers (also known as space fillers) such as myself have no need for such supervision.
After all, sleeping in the office is part of the job description, a fact that many colleagues have never failed to appreciate.
Unfortunately, last Saturday morning, as I was, uh, working, my wife reminded me that there was a social occasion we needed to attend to. Just the day before, both of us received an offer we couldn’t so easily refuse: we were invited to breakfast at a mid-end Quezon City restaurant by a couple we have lived and traveled with, here and abroad.
The breakfast invite, they said, was a gift to my wife, who recently celebrated her birthday.
That morning, despite my inclinations to extend bedtime until lunch, I gave in. After all, neither of us would pay for anything, including gas, parking fees, and tips.
According to the arrangement, our gracious and generous friends would pick us up, treat us to anything we wanted to have for breakfast, and drop us off at our apartment afterward, without any financial obligation whatsoever.
Yes, Virginia, the spirit of Santa Claus is still alive.
When we finally arrived at the restaurant, I immediately asked for a brewed cup of coffee, because I was still sleepy, having failed to take a quick shower, which would have eliminated lethargy as well as various other disagreeable odors.
Shortly after we engaged in banter about the weather, both political and meteorological, a waitress took our orders. It was at that point when I realized that breakfast was slowly turning into dinner.
Our male host insisted that I go for the restaurant’s specialty, steak and eggs.
It was a platter so rich, filling, and sinful that having the same breakfast for one whole week would probably result in a cardiac arrest not long after.
Unwilling to break social protocol, I got myself a rib-eye steak, which included fried eggs, mashed potatoes with gravy, and pancakes with blueberry toppings.
After all, what was a triple bypass operation between friends?
The last time I ate like this, like a pig feeding off a trough, I was wolfing down a huge slice of pot roast in a mid-end Manhattan restaurant during New Year’s Eve four years ago.
As expected, my future wife took care of the bill as well as the rest of my expenses when I visited her in the United States.
As a sign of my gratitude, I lost her in the subway during that same night. But that’s another story.