On the Spatiality of Adulthood


So I woke up this morning with my brain reeling off a sanctimoniously tedious list of things to accomplish—a sign that my unconscious had registered my return to Manila later today and reacted accordingly. Urges toward productivity that had lain dormant for the last few days renewed themselves with startling vigor, and it took me two hours to complete what I’d put off for two days.

All of which goes to prove what localized creatures we are. We dismiss geography as mere setting—as the incidental backdrop to lives that carry on in ways immune to what populates their periphery—but our rhythms are triggered and our personalities colored by our sense of place (even if, for the most part, we do not sense place but are permeated by it instead).

And this is why something as trivial as my impending departure for Manila (that home for which I leave another home) is enough to transform me into a different creature altogether—never mind if Manila inhabits the same socio-cultural sphere as Cebu. The shift occurs instinctively, impervious to my intentions and deliberations. I become, yet again, the adult that I already am, shedding a worn-out cocoon to assume wings weighed down by hundreds of humdrum concerns: picking up the laundry, cleaning the car, doing the shopping, paying the bills, checking if the wall has leaked yet again and caused further damage to the parquet flooring.  Adulthood is spatial as well as temporal; no accident then that Peter Pan exiles himself to a realm named, appropriately enough, Neverland (for there is no place that precludes time).

But for those of us who are denied the solace of fictive realms, these occasional visits to childhood haunts will have to do. And fortunately enough for most of us, they do serve rather well.

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