No time to explain, okay?
(Courtesy of moms.today.com)
Having had to work on a Sunday, I decided to have coffee at the mall's Food Court before logging in for work. I got to the area smack in the middle of lunch time, and given the particular day of the week, it was filled with families doing their weekly ritual of having a meal, most probably after attending some form of church service.
I should probably qualify that as traditional families, which can be explained by what happened next.
Given the space limitations, I decided to bring myself (and my caffeine fix) to one of the "stool" areas, designed with "singles" in mind, meaning if you were all alone going to the food court: high table, high chairs, arranged loosely. From a management point of view, it was desirable to have this set up, rather than having one person occupy a "regular" table that could seat 4 or 6 people.
There I was, happily buzzed with my coffee, along with many other "singles", when we all heard a boy of about 8 years old asking his mom "why are they all alone?" and obviously referring to us on the high chairs.
The mom, probably not past 40, took a quick glance, and told him "that's because they have no families, and are probably single...kain na, Nico. You still have lumpia on your plate."
Nico remained fixated on us, probably feeling pity as to why we would have "no families".
I rationalized the mom's answer as the easy way out. It's probably easier than explaining to her son some facts of life, many of which I refuse to consider as "modern", because they have existed long before I was born, and are probably just being discussed more openly now.
(1) Some people are single, by choice. It's not easy to live that out, especially in a culture as family-oriented as ours, where everyone is expected to settle down, have kids, and be a picture perfect representation of the ideal pamilyang Pilipino.
(2) Some people have to work on weekends. Not everyone has a nine to five job.
(3) Some people do not feel the need to follow the "Sunday ritual", especially if it is one put on for show, when the rest of the week, everyone in that family acts crappily towards each other. Or if a family isn't particularly religious, then Sunday would just be another day. Period.
(4) Some people prefer to rest - and I mean nakatihaya all day - on the weekends, and if someone from the same family didn't feel the same way, then they could just go out and go to a movie, eat out, or see friends on their own. Shocking, yes, but people can actually decide freely what to do on their spare time without feeling like they have "betrayed" their own flesh and blood.
(5) Some people have a different family structure - e.g. non-traditional, both in form and substance. It may be three siblings, living apart, because both parents have passed away. Some people have friends and friendships, non blood relations, that would put those affiliated by marriage to shame by their devotion and affection to each other. Some people have a husband or wife, but without legal recognition of being declared as one.
I feel bad for Nico, who may grow up thinking there's only one way to be and have a family.