She wasn’t perfect, and her political career was rife with contradictions, but I would’ve loved to poop out and raise a few daughters in an era of Miriam.
Admittedly, I’m the last person you’d want to speak with if you wanted to speak politics. If it’s not about feminism, LGBT rights, or children, I’m pretty much zoning out as you gesticulate wildly over your cooling chai latté. And forget proper nouns. If their names aren’t Miriam, I do not know them. So if you’re looking for a rundown of her political achievements and failures, you might as well look up your butt ’cause you’re not gonna find those here.
But it’s my
world blog, and the five of you reading this you people just live in read it. So here’s what I know.
I picked up a copy of A Frabjous Day maybe a decade ago at that gigantic book sale they hold every year. I like to patronize the event less because I love books and more because it makes me feel intellectually superior to go around scrutinizing book jackets. Hmm… I would say to myself, how pedestrian. And then I would put down that Paulo Coelho and move on, trying to look like I had read it.
I bought A Frabjous Day for much the same reason. I had heard of this Miriam person, seen pictures of her even. Anyone who wore their hair poofy and the same for decades had to have a few gonads. Maybe she was interesting. The book title sounded vaguely familiar, as if it were referencing something… Also, what did “frabjous” mean?
She didn’t cost much (170 pesos to be exact). She was on sale. I thought her book would read like a journal, a window into Miriam The Girl, and to an extent I think it was. Weeks later, I miraculously remembered I had bought it and decided that the effort it would take to read something that wasn’t packaged in beautiful graphic design would be worth the gloating I could do with my friends after. May book pala si Miriam? they would ask. Oh yes, I would answer, it’s quite good. A must-read.
And you know what? It was. She took to words like a basic bitch takes to Longchamp bags.
The first story of the collection was “I, Myself and Me—Plus, Perhaps, Socrates.” Here was a lady who loved commas and used an em dash! Perhaps I could struggle through the somewhat challenging vocabulary and emerge a brighter, more Miriam-like feminist.
She wrote from the first POV, and I pictured her wildly flawed characters with poofy hair and beady eyes. Miriam flirts with a guy, I thought when reading “The College Girl.” Miriam flirts with a tedious guy, I pictured as I rolled my eyes through “A Matter of Time.” Miriam flirts with a guy named Leonie, I puzzled over as I giggled unsurely through “So Bright Wings.” To this day, I don’t know if I was laughing at the right parts.
But I do know that she was funny. Before the memes, before Facebook had exploded into what it is today, I knew she was funny. Dumber people thought she was crazy; I knew she was brilliant. Literature doesn’t lie after all, and you can’t both be a successful artist and politician without enough sanity to keep this old, rickety machine of a country going.
Right before the polls opened, there were a couple of interviews. She said she would take GMA out of jail and put her in house arrest instead, which was disappointing (minus 10 points). She said she believed in divorce (5 points), does not object to same sex marriage provided that it was made legal (5 points for fairness), was open to the legalization of medical marijuana (1 point for openness, no more for ignorance), and understood martial law without desiring it (100 points for balancing definition and context, something most politicians just cannot seem to do).
What resonated with me the most though was her answer to what her husband’s role would be in her administration.
“Dapat nandiyan siya pag-uwi ko.”
I did not register to vote last year. To this day, I regret this even though I could not have voted anyway (I was on a trip out of the country). I did not expect to care so much about Miriam winning the elections. She lied when she said she was fine, but I would’ve wanted to vote for her, if only as a vainly hopeful gesture. My vote would have told her, “You are flawed, and your hair is weird, but here, take my country and make it better.”
Rest well, Miriam. In heaven, everyone’s insane.