Thursday, November 20, 2008

Disco Saves The Day

As Christmas approaches I check my emails and networks each morning and feel that twinge of mixed worry and defiance.

I occasionally worry, because the world financial situation has made the leap off the newspaper page and finally landed on everyone's backs, like the weight of that vengeful dead girl from the movie "Shutter". One friend plurked this very morning about how bad news (redundancies and the like) keeps rolling in. While he isn't in line for redundancy himself, of course he feels bad for those faceless numbers who are. Another friend just sent in his resignation letter, and will try for work in Singapore or New Zealand. In Facebook a couple of days ago a very nationalistic artist friend of mine asked how she could find a job possibly teaching in Australia. I couldn't help; I'd left that land behind to stay where I feel reasonably happy.

I feel defiant, because life goes on. For a lot of Pinoys if you can still maintain a prepaid mobile phone account,you will still call your friends over to pass the hat for that impromptu backyard party involving some pancit, fried chicken, pork barbecue, Coca-Cola / San Miguel Beer. Comfort food. Each will grouse about how hard times are getting, but everyone feels the camaraderie and know you'll all weather it together.

ABBA: "I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay,/Ain't it sad/And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me,/That's too bad..."

Yesterday on behalf of our alumni batch I had to make a big check for our graduating high school scholar due Friday. Not my money, but I realized how small the scholarships suddenly became after the events this year. We thought we could afford two scholars, but after checking out how real life living expenses jacked up, we decided to prioritize our single scholar's needs. To graduate and not be able to attend one's graduation ceremony because one didn't have money for new clothes and shoes would be such a shame! Our class president suggested a new yearly budget per scholar to the scholarship foundation, one that reflected the times better. (The foundation mandated an across-the-board contribution rate per scholar for all alumni groups to make things more democratic, but it hadn't been increased in a while.)

Then this morning I was suddenly confronted by an emergency that required me to muster up an unplanned cash withdrawal by Friday. Not for me, but for people who depend on that amount to get through five days. Let's say a group couldn't come up with the cash on time, but could not afford to cancel the project. I knew I'd had too much coffee, because I started getting that feeling in the pit of my stomach again. You know the kind, it begins as low-level stress that either turns productive or becomes the downward spiral. I couldn't let the latter happen. Times like these, you need not Juicy Fruit gum, but MUSIC.

Madonna: "Music... makes the people... come together... Yeah!!!"

I was very happy when I came across my friend Jopet's music folder, and found a copy of his cd "ABBA Live". I turned up the speakers. I smiled to myself. Oh yeah, "Mamma Mia" all over again. It's perky, it's fun, I know most of the words, nothing like it to drive the blues away. This is one of the times when it is PERFECT for the occasion. This, and Madonna's "Confessions On A Dance Floor" album (which uses the intro tracks from ABBA's "Gimme Gimme Gimme"!) It's weird, but I could work while singing out loud (home office, dudes), sashaying to the filing cabinet and back. I even managed to type up this blog entry, and another report without accidentally typing the lyrics as I was playing backup singer. Wonders will never cease.

Most of the time I'm an alternative-bluesy-rocky girl when it comes to music, but there are times when DISCO SAVES THE DAY!!! Disco, and Broadway, and the soundtracks of Disney movies!!!

By the way, if like me you need to lift your spirits once in a while, "ABBA Live" is a remastered concert cd containing most of the hits you loved in "Mamma Mia". It is not a soundtrack of that movie, although yes, Meryl Streep sang very well there. Jopet asked me to convert the tracks in "ABBA Live" and their other digitally remastered albums "The Visitors" and "Voulez-Vous" to mp3 so I could transfer it to his Nokia N95. Good thing I forgot about it! It stayed in this machine!

There's something about listening to ABBA that restores your sense of humor. I can't get the image of Julie Walters singing "Take A Chance On Me" in the movie out of my head -- that woman is hilarious! Brings out one's Inner Drag Queen!

ABBA: "Super Trouper beams are gonna blind me/ But I won't feel blue/ Like I always do/ 'Cause somewhere in the crowd there's you..."

Oh look. The workday is almost over. Yay!