Something must have triggered my sumpong. I can't really identify the specific culprit, but I highly suspect that it's an effect of my monthly menopause-inducing medication.
It started when I was preparing to go to church, and I was deciding if I would take our household help with me (who has been going to church with me since I resumed this my religious obligation) or not. Suddenly, I couldn't think of bearing her company. I know it's unfair, she hasn't done anything wrong. Or maybe I'm starting not to appreciate her presence because when she's around she just sits or stands there and says nothing at all until I talk to her. When I go silent, she goes silent too.
But I couldn't consider that as a trigger to my ill temper today.
Later while at the church grounds, walking towards the door, I noticed all the palaspas vendors blocking the way of the church-goers. Some parishioners even stop on their tracks to buy the weaved palm leaves, which cause even more slow-down on the flow of people going to the church. One middle-aged female vendor blocked my way in a swoop with a palaspas she's selling. I was instantly annoyed as the leaves would have hit my face had I not slowed down. I gestured that I wasn't interested, and I think I had frowned at the woman. I know I've lost grasp at the essence of the season because of the way I acted, but the scene on the church ground at that moment hardly showed "Holy" nor respect. Behind the sight of the sea of palaspas, I saw trade - the exchange of goods for money - and the sellers do not care where they make the transactions.
And then I saw people bunched at the front door of the church. I opted that we go for the side doors and I was right - there were not much crowd there. We were able to get inside the church, no sweat. But inside there were hardly any vacant seats. And the people that were seated, sat in a spaced manner that one would not consider squeezing into those spaces. (Pinoys have huge personal space.) We decided to stand on the sides until the end of the mass.
At first I was absolutely fine. Until more and more people trickled in. With my hot flashes, I barely stopped fanning. And then there were too many people around me that the effect of fanning has diminished. I feel guilty about not being able to properly pray. Every now and then, distractions pop out in front of me that makes my mind wander. And then with little space to move due to the crowd around me, my claustrophobia started to kick in. I was starting to feel like screaming in my head.
I decided that we get out of the church immediately after the blessing. Just as the people were raising and shuffling the palaspas in the air, we were on our way out.
At the street, it was sooo hot as the sun was directly shining at us. Jeepneys lined the lanes, making it impossible for other vehicles to pass through. I was already feeling bad from the heat when I spotted a taxi. I hailed it and told my companion to get on board. Once inside the taxi, I felt relief from the heat due to the air-conditioning. But then, something else made me even more sick - it smelled like rotten, thawed fish inside the cab. I wanted to barf but held it. After a few minutes I asked the cabbie to pull over, feigning having to buy something at a shop along the way, paid the fare, and got off with my companion. We hailed another taxi.
We headed to the mall, which is a bad decision. While half of the city's populace were in churches, the other half were in malls. Too many people undergoing retail therapy. And the crowd is maddening. Some people just stop on their tracks, insensitive of those behind them. And then, while I'm about to check out a merchandise on a rack, someone gets in the way... and stays there. (Hmp!)
It felt like my head's going to expand, so I decided to buy take out food and go home.
Home. I locked myself in my room. Felt the ire filling my head. I screamed a soundless one. And then I cried.
Feels a bit better now.