Dear batchmates, officemates and friends :
WHENEVER WE PLAYED sandlot (actually concrete) basketball in scorchy summers of yesteryear, it didn’t matter one bit if we won or lost, played whole court or half, or even half an hour or from sunrise till sunset.
It only mattered that we had fun, that we made new friends, and that, at the end of each game, we drank ICE COLD water or beverages without which no session would be complete.
Those days, bottled water was an alien concept, refreshments were limited to tap water streaming live from the hose, and if we were lucky, both Coke Litro and chunky ice might be introduced to each other for our halftime entertainment.
No Viva, Evian, Mineral Spring, Gatorade, C2, Tropicana, Powerade, flavored water or any other beverage that one might fancy, whatever your physical exertion. Just plain water or soft drinks, preferably on the rocks, and we do mean icebergs when we say rocks.
In its strapping youth, the body can take all sorts of extreme temperatures, from the 40-plus degree heat of the noonday sun, to water-nearly-frozen that shocks your throat and alimentary canal, and which you insist on imbibing in the spirit of refreshment and the fact that no drink is too cold when you brace against the fury of equatorial heat, in the middle of God’s Own Summer.
In fact there is a cottage industry in the Islands among all who possess an enterprising nature to sell, during hot hot months, ice tubig which is water placed in plastic bags, chilled till it is partially converted to ice crystals, then peddled to ballers with arid tongues, burning throats and parched pores who proceed to swallow their wares whole immediately.
In 1970s Hogwarts (what we call our school), luxuries were few, but one of the amenities we appreciated were water fountains from which icy water sprung forth, stream steady and always free. In the humid weather and sweaty clime, it was a blessing that we absorbed ( literally ) many times a day.
Years later, across seas and with a wary eye on wellness and preserving the body, we wave a sad goodbye to drinking water in extreme temperatures, something almost unthinkable for a Pinoy born and raised in the tropics.
it is about as inconceivable as giving up sleeping in front of an electric fan or air conditioner, dancing around in the rain or taking ice-cold showers in chilly chilly mornings, or as long as endurance allows.
weytaminit ( kapeng mainit ), we HAVE given up those things. Staying in front of a cooling appliance inevitably dries up our tubes and gives us slight discomfort; dancing in the rain, especially in single-degree weather can be hazardous to one’s health, and of course taking in sub-polar baths exposes you to risks you don’t even know about, especially at 44-and-a-half ( not yet 45, beeh ).
Yes we know, the inevitable surrender to the years, the unstoppable onslaught of age, bowing gracefully into the night and all that.
But there’s no denying we enjoyed such activities when we were younger, so much younger than today. Does anyone remember the time when one couldn’t catch some zzzz’s without a fan lulling you to sleep, kudos to those guys lucky enough to have aircons but not all of us enjoyed that privilege. Even worse, when a power failure intervened, our yaya would shush us and patiently use the abaniko while humming some Bicol lullabies. That wasn’t so bad.
Rain was always a special treat, sure it stopped the game, what with slippery floors and a heavier ball to heave ( especially the leather type ) but in exchange you got to cool down and shake off the lethargy brought about by infernal heat, made more brutal by the humidity.
Well, we still think about singin’ in the rain, but we no longer have the free time to do so, unless the rain catches us unawares while commuting to and from work; hypothermia resulting from rain exposure is also not unknown in these parts. Dont forget the occasional hailstorm. Iwas pusoy lang po.
Ice-cold showers were just a way to bring down the steam and geysers trapped in us all day, which weren’t alleviated by the traffic, nakakabitin na rains and smoke and smelly smog that seemed to be everywhere.
But after surviving sub-zero temperatures (that no one seemed to mind, except us Asians) in frigid latitudes, hearing about how GMA’s press secretary succumbed to a sudden heart attack after a cold morning paligo, and learning that we subject our fragile organs to needless shock in the morning when we take cold showers, we realized that we didn’t need the aggravation.
Which brings us back to chilled water, all its attendant pleasures, and why we can’t afford to crave them any longer.
Drinking cold water was like a sensuous caress of all that ached in us during a summer day. It cooled down the heat-weakened muscles, erased the fumes from dangerously baking skin, and restored the width of dilating vessels all over our blood-red network.
It brought us back to earth in the midst of flaming insanity, restored civility in the heat of the athletic moment, and calmed us down for future wars. It’s no accident that you see ice buckets, water coolers and all sorts of containers not only during sports meets but also in more cerebral – type confrontations like debates, conferences, seminars and trials. You need the ice water not just to line your arid plumbing, but also the clear the mind and maintain focus on the task at hand.
But after reading about a health warning on the Internet ( which therefore makes it infallible ) that cold water turns the meal you’re eating it with into instant sludge, which puts added pressure on your digestive system, which in turn stresses out your cardiovascular system, we decided it was pressure we could do without. Our cold-drinking days were over.
Sure, there’s still cold soda, cold beer and other things that we gulped down chilled, but these are different. More of the occasional drink than anything else, and we would do our very best not to munch anything with the aforesaid beverages.
And of course it helps that we’re overseas far from warmer shores, but hey, di naman po tayo magpapakahirap na umiwas sa cold drinks kung sobrang init. We’ve been drinking cold for so many years now, but the body isn’t growing any younger. We need all the help we can get.
And that’s why inasmuch as it’s atypical for Pinoy, we avoid ice tubig for the rest of our days.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for the memories!
[ NOte : Thanks for all the support re WordPress, now if anyone has a site you want linked from ours, please send us the website address and we’ll link it within the hour ! ]