How can the most minute, bothersome insect be of benefit to you and me? Any teeny-weeny bit of goodness to society? Only when we speak in metaphors; BTW (to use the abbreviated lingo of the internet, alright, by the way): “A flea (order Siphonaptera), any of a group of bloodsucking insects that are important carriers of disease and can be serious pests. Fleas are parasites that live on the exterior of the host” (read more from Wikipedia if you want your pet dog rid of fleas).
October 6, 2018, a week before I left Uncle Sam’s country for my beloved Inang Bayan, I and my daughter Rose Penelope and her husband Timothy were a relaxed threesome. We rambled through the fall festival and flea market in Redding, California. The announcement was huge and very inviting: “Hitch up your wagon and head on over to Trends for our Annual Fall Festival and Vintage Flea Market! Live music, food, over 40+ outside vendors & raffles. New goods and products inside the store as well! Mark your calendar and bring your family and friends! You won’t want to miss this fun one day event!”
Eventually, what came up to my mind was ukay-ukay, our beloved version of America’s flea market – ukay-ukay at Iloilo’s supermarket, where I had bought a few items myself; thus is its copycat in my native town Oton. Every Monday is Oton’s market day, where one can have fun selecting useful household items and rummaging through mounds of used cheap, wearable clothing. I sing “Alleluia!” because ukay-ukay, or flea markets, are good for the environment. Remember: Reduce, reuse, and recycle for the sake of Mother Earth.
A long intro, dear reader, before I get into the “meat of the matter:” flea market of ideas (the title of this column).
As a former instructor of English and American literature, what could be interesting topics in one’s own flea market of ideas but novels and short stories discussed in classrooms of long ago? Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, or Mark Twain’s ever-popular Adventures of Tom Sawyer, etc.
Wafts of poetry invigorate conversations. Dilemmas from Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet magnify indecisions: “To be or not to be, that is the question…” The choice is mine and yours. And why this trouble-laden life of ours? “The fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” Let us not forget Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, and so much more.
BTW, this octogenarian was an activist in her hey-days. Yes, me, when verve and vigor was on optimum high. Rising from the depths of memory was the D-G, short for discussion group. We held D-Gs wherever and whenever time permitted, oblivious of the sharp grapple of the Marcosian claws, tackling our country’s state of affairs, the problematic why, and the solutions thereof. We were far from the madding crowd. Closest in our hearts was – and for always – is Lupang Hinirang, Duyan ng Magiting. Bullseye targets were – and still are – the fleas in the government that impoverish the people.
Youngsters and oldsters, octogenarians like me or even centenarians – hey, regardless of age – could indulge themselves in a flea market of ideas, a group actively intermingling opinions with viewpoints of another human being – far from what the internet can offer.
Forget the keyboard. Smile, dream, and laugh with the fellow by your side. Don’t just break bread. More than filling up with the delicious Pinoy delicacies, exchange ideas enriched with actions geared toward the welfare of our country and people.
Promenade in the flea market of ideas, ever alert. Alive! Awake! Active!
Julia Carreon-Lagoc was a Panay News columnist for two decades. She pops up with Accents now and then. (firstname.lastname@example.org)/WDJ