Single. To be or not to be?

Every year, I look forward to the holidays. It starts with Christmas and the New Year then followed by the festive Sinulog. The first quarter of each year is a highlight to most, well to me at least. I feel elated and a sudden surge in energy engulfs me much like getting a sugar rush – A feeling all too familiar because after the adrenaline high comes a profound indolence resulting in declined vigor and spirit. This is exactly how I feel after the Sinulog for I am much aware of what’s coming next… Valentine’s Day.

If memory serves me right, I’ve been single for a little over three years now. Not to say I haven’t gone on dates but none of them ended in commitments; An I-am-yours, you-are-mine type of arrangement. “Oh you think too much!” is a common remark from close friends. I’d agree with them but I pride myself in thinking way ahead-Where weighing the pros and cons and valuing reason over sentiment is as natural as breathing. This is very classic of Capricorns and I live and breathe it.

Being single isn’t the end of the world. It is fabulous and it affords me more time for myself and my friends. I can do whatever, go wherever without regard to another’s approval  or lack thereof. I fancy solitude and the clarity it gives me. I helps me introspect about my life and my work. It keeps me grounded and sane despite the challenges of everyday living.

My friends often tell me I’m missing out on the better things in life. Whether that’s true is highly debatable but i’m here to share the other side of the spectrum. What is it like to be single?

Well first, you have the luxury to splurge on yourself. You can focus on your career and even start a hobby. A hobby after all is an investment. Case in point, If you fancy photography and brave to pursue it then you’d have to be able to afford it. It will set you back around thirty thousand for a decent camera and it doesn’t stop there. A close friend of mine, who recently took a liking to photography, shared he already spent more than 50 thousand pesos. By modern standards, that’s a relatively small price as accomplished photographers spend hundreds of thousands on this hobby. A hefty amount if you ask me but because he is single, he’s able to afford this exorbitant hobby.

Next, being single means you’ll have more time for you family and people who matter to you. Not that you can’t if your’e in a committed relationship but it wouldn’t be the same when your single. Time is a luxury and I (single) have loads if it. I have a regular job and I make it a point to maximize whatever free time I can get. Dates don’t have be romantic as I delightfully realized. I can have dinner with friends and talk about the good old days and the the feeling of nostalgia is intoxicating.

While I understand being in a relationship makes one feel inspired  and euphoric, one cannot deny that it’s not always clear blue skies. After all, one of the biggest causes of depression is love. Ironic as it may be, love can bring about the highest of ecstasies but it can also cause one misery and desolation. I am someone who dwells on calculated risks and risking my sanity and peace for something as uncertain as love is something I do not intend on doing. I am not bitter. I am merely cynical.

I must admit, I wasn’t always like this. I started dating at a very early age. With it came terrible heartaches and dissapointments. I, too, had my share of despair and I choose not to take any more chances until conditions improve.  I feel I have grown very cerebral and critical.

I know a lot of my friends would disagree but it’s awesome to be single. To all you lovers, godspeed. To all the singles out there, put your hands up and be proud. It’s not easy being  alone in a world where people expect you to be otherwise.

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Coffee Shop Etiquette

I wouldn’t consider myself a coffee aficionado. I don’t possess a full understanding of the complexity of its flavor profile and I can’t explain why it excites my palate. But I do enjoy being somewhere I can just sit and enjoy a pack of smoke while I aimlessly browse through countless webpages. It’s been a good 2 years since I traded alcohol with coffee as my weekend fix. Being an only child puts me in a situation where staying at home is torture which is why I always find myself in coffee shops more often than I would prefer. There is a good number of coffee shops in Cebu offering varied customer experience. From comfy seats (beds even), unlimited high-speed internet, and board games. Coffee shops have now raised the bar to ensure a unique experience for everyone.

I have been to a number of Coffee Shops but I find myself frequenting Bos Coffee shop along Jones Avenue, fronting Cebu Doctor’s University Hospital. Ever since the anti-smoking ordinance was enacted by the local government, it has become increasingly difficult to find a cafe where you can enjoy a cup while being able to smoke freely.  Bos Coffee (Capitol Branch) let’s you enjoy both.

In my countless visits here I have come to notice that people come here for various reasons. I see students burning the midnight oil studying for exams, business people meeting prospective clients and also people who just wants to get their daily fix of caffeine. Variety as I personally see it, is most welcome. However, in my most recent visits, maximizing customer experience has become arduous.

All this made me think… What are the coffee shop etiquettes?

First, don’t hog the seats. While I understand some of us look to cafes to find a quiet and well-lit place to study, there should be a limit to how long one can stay inside the cafe. I have seen students bringing blankets and pillows and I’ve even seen some taking quick naps on the cafe couch. First of all, this is not your bedroom and second of all, a cup of coffee does not entitle you a whole day stay in the cafe. It is common courtesy to allow other paying patrons to sit. I would say a full hour for a cup would be sufficient. If you have to stay longer, buy another cup.

Second, often debatable etiquette would be to minimize your noise while inside the cafe. Although a place where people can socialize, a cafe is also a place where people study and read their favorite books. Some come in groups and unfortunately are not discreet enough not to disturb other cafe goers. It is advisable to use your inside voice while being in the cafe. People need not know about your business and it is expected that you keep your voice down. If you can’t help it, take it outside.

Third. Caffeine is a diuretic and to some extent a laxative. I have been in a situation where I badly need to go but find myself in a long queue to the restroom. Most cafes have a single, shared restroom and they are usually set-up where the lavabo (spanish for sink) is built outside of the actual restroom. In some cafes you would even find one inside the bathroom and one outside. Ladies, if you desperately need to do a touch up, do it with some haste. Gents, although totally against the grain, make it a habit to pull the toilet seat up. It is very unsightly and unhygienic to find drops of urine on the toilet seat. Lastly, never forget to flush the toilet. Maintaining an attitude of consideration goes a long a way.

Fourth. Be sensitive about your high-speed internet usage. Unlimited high-speed internet is usually provided for everyone’s consumption but the bandwidth is not optimal and the speed, if you can even call it that, deteriorates as more and more people use it. Light browsing is acceptable but using the public connection to download movies is selfish. If you have to do it, consider first how many people you think might use the connection and probably reserve bandwidth-heavy activities to a later time or do it at home even.

Fifth. Power outlets are for everyone’s use. Not all cafes provide free usage of power outlets. Some would charge you if you choose to use them. I’ve seen some customers charge multiple devices at once. The use of power outlets is a privilege and this privilege is shared among all the patrons. To this point, charge a maximum of one device at a time. Bring powerbanks if you must. if you decide to charge more than one device, be prepared to have shady looks thrown at you.

Last. The proper use of smoking areas. One time I went to Tom N Toms in Mabolo and I knew the outside seats were reserved for their smoking patrons. I was surprised to see that in the other table, there sat a pregnant woman. Of all the seats in the cafe, she had to take the ones outside. I could smoke if I wanted to knowing I wasn’t out of line but I can’t bear smoking in front of someone I could possibly cause harm to. So to non-smokers, take the seats inside. Smoking areas are difficult enough to find as it is. In the same manner, smokers should take their business outside. it is equally unacceptable to smoke where you’re not supposed to. It is illegal and a social taboo.

Cafes are public places after all and it is expected that we extend certain levels of courtesy whenever we can. I am guilty of violating some of these common etiquettes and I’ve also seen them done against me. Respect goes a long way and I hope we can put these etiquettes to practice and create a cafe experience that is worthwhile and convenient for everyone.

 

 

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