Spontaneous moments

Actress Judy Ann Santos has been on the news lately with her very public reaction to statements made by Senator Jamby Madrigal about political candidates and their celebrity endorsers.

Using Judy Ann’s name as a key phase to read other write-ups on the exchange between senator and former endorser, I came across an article about the actress’s plans to spend a few weeks abroad with her husband, actor and TV host Ryan Agoncillo, to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. She said they had no strict itinerary; kind of just going where their feet take them. Ah, I said to myself. The pleasure of spontaneity.

I tried to think of the last time we did anything spontaneous. I couldn’t. Ever since we had kids, every trip we took, we had to have detailed plans for. Where to stay, where to eat, where to go, what to visit, what time to leave and what time to start the trip home.

crispy pataI tried to think farther back and realized that the last spontaneous thing I could remember, I spent in the company of my girl friends when we were still law students. We were driving home from a party and decided the night was much too young. We were in the Pasay area, we passed by a motel with a huge billboard advertising the house specialty – crispy pata, I think it was. One of my friends suggested we should check in and try the crispy pata. And everyone giggled. All five of us.

Just to soothe your nerves which I might have ruffled at this point, there was nothing kinky about the suggestion. It was like a dare. We were five young women in our early twenties on a night out, we were looking for cheap but not trashy thrills. We just wanted a few more hours together to talk, laugh and bitch about people we normally bitched about.

To make a long story short, we all agreed that it was a fun idea, we turned and entered the motel grounds and was about to enter a garage when the security guard flagged us. He knocked on the driver’s window, the friend who was driving rolled it down. He did a head count and told us we’d have to take three rooms. And we said, “What?” He said they only allowed two persons per room and if we all wanted to check in, we’d have to take three rooms.

One of my friends, the most petite and probably the most soft spoken among us spoke in a very hurt voice. “But we’re not going to do anything wild, sir, we just need to see the inside of a motel room as part of our exposure trip – a school requirement,” she pouted.

It was very difficult not to burst out laughing but we managed. The guard, visibly unconvinced, started to say something. Then, another friend, the one who pointed to the crispy pata on the billboard, came to the rescue by saying, “And we need to try the crispy pata too – part of the school requirement.”

That was when we started to laugh. Hard. Like we were running out of breath. Without waiting for the guard’s reaction, we rolled up the windows and drove out of there fast. I don’t remember anymore where we went or how long it took us to stop laughing. But that incident would be told and retold whenever the five of us got together over the next twenty years.

Shallow, I know. But fun, anyway. We were young, we were carefree and we did a lot of things without really thinking. Sometimes.

But not all of the wild spontaneity was as shallow as that. The year 1986 was marked with too many spontaneous decisions, one of which would bring us to EDSA and the People Power Revolution. Classes had already been irregular for weeks because of the series of mass actions following the snap elections. Then, one Sunday morning, there was a call from a fellow law student saying there was a scheduled meet-up in the U.P. College of Law to organize the contingent to EDSA. It wasn’t like I needed five seconds to think. I said I’d be there, put down the phone, showered and got dressed. The rest was history. Four days later, we were still in EDSA when the radio broadcasts announced that Marcos had fled.

These days, I often think that spontaneity is a privilege of youth. It characterizes carefree days when responsibility rarely extends beyond getting passing grades to avoid the sermons that parents are prone to make when they see class cards with too many red markings.

It is nice to inject a little spontaneity into our adult lives. I am writing this column from Taj of Tagaytay; my husband and daughters are unwinding after a spicy lunch. We’re here in Tagaytay for the day on an unscheduled trip. The plan was hatched quite spontaneously the night before, over dinner, and everyone was eager to go. A change of scenery and a breath of cooler air never hurt anyone. I wish we could have more of these spontaneous trips in the future. It’s really refreshing to the body, mind and soul.