Drifted off to sleep at 9 last night to the voice of a BBC reporter. An entire year of waking up at 5 am has taken its toll. I now find myself nodding off in the shuttle to work, then succumbing and snatching a few Zzz's, something I never do, partly because of the fear of spit unconsciously dribbling down the front of my shirt in full view of my fellow commuters. But my body wants its rest and I can't help but give in, the ignobility of ribbons of spittle dripping from my mouth nothwithstanding. So last night, I resolved to go to bed early, and was hieing off into the Twilight Zone, Michael Jackson's trial drifting further and further away into background noise, replaced by shape-shifters and strange vistas... until I felt the earth lurch, followed several seconds later by an almost imperceptible chitter. I woke up with a start, recognizing the chitter as an alarm call. It was my phone. SMS. 10:30 pm. (In the real world, my phone's vibration and chitter happen simultaneously, and in no way sounds like a harbinger of disaster, but everything makes sense in the Zone.)
"Im scared. The moon is so red tonight."
Im out of the Twilight Zone completely. Rats. But I smile. She couldve SMSed anybody, but she chose to SMS me. I couldnt see the moon myself, but she must have had quite a view from her apartment in a posh high-rise in Greenbelt. I SMS back: "That's beautiful. Nothing to worry about. Probably just pollution."
"But why is it so red?"
I was tempted to whip up a story about earth spirits and the bright lady of the Silver Wheel, the blood of Luna, the goddess of the moon. But the Zone was bidding me back, so I let the 76% nerd in me take over. A 'scientific' explanation would end the conversation and Morpheus would give me a lift back. "Is it low over the horizon? That means the light from the moon has to travel through the atmosphere at an angle that disperses the shorter wavelengths of visible light. Red has a longer wavelength, and is the only one in the spectrum that gets through. Pollution intensifies the process. Much like what happens to the sun at sunrise and sunset."
"And of course you knew that," she said. "You must have joined a lot of Quiz Bee contests when you were younger."
"As a matter of fact, I was the [blah-blah-blah]," I said.
"Get out of town!" she said. "All I ever won was the spelling bee in school. I spelled electroencephalogram." And on it went. We SMSed, lost in the clickety-clicks of the keypad and electronic ones-and-zeroes flying through the air.
"Youre not going to bed yet?," she asked. By this time it was about midnight.
"Was asleep. Woke up at 10. Go get some rest. I'll read a boring book and try to get the sleep back." She hadnt been getting enough sleep lately.
"Foucault's Pendulum." Umberto Eco. "First hundred pages is an absolute sleeper."
"Can't even get past page one of that book. Haha. That's how you found me. Because of Ka 'Berto."
She's right. That's how I found her. Although Signore Eco had a lot of help from Nigella Lawson. "I guess I owe Mr. Eco a lot," I said.
Then on to other stuff. Happy, inane stuff. Things we could do. "You wanna go see Sideways? Is it still showing?," I said.
"Seen it. It's very good. A bit sad. It's still showing. A friend of mine saw it today. Let's go see Finding Neverland na lang."
"Ok. We'll go see Neverland. Hey Im turning in. Sandman's come to take me away. Nite. Go get some sleep. Dream I were taller."
"Good night. Thank you for being my help-line. Dream of paramecium covered with cilia."
It was 1:20 am. I knew I'll be paying for this the next morning, but it was worth it. Not everyday I decide to let a new friend in.