Life is made up of fleeting moments; let’s enjoy everything while it lasts.
Life has not thrown me off-the-rocker surprises for quite a while, and thank goodness for that, because for the past several years I’ve been getting them like mad! Last week was quite fascinating. Let me tell you.
I am to co-host an event for Toastmasters – Division K’s Turnover and Induction Ceremonies. A good friend of mine, Deng, informed me that my supposed co-host cannot make it. Flustered, I agreed to co-host with somebody new (like I could do anything about it, heehee.) She emailed us (my new co-host and I) the revised spiels we will use for the event. I went through it and found some things I want to change, and asked my co-host if he wants to meet up or something. No response from him through email.
Thursday: Stranger’s Tide
Deng sent me his mobile numbers, and finally, Thursday, we agreed to meet up to just shake the awkwardness off and to get out groove on as co-hosts, as it is important to have rapport. He agreed and after several messages, we agreed to meet around Vito Cruz station, near DLSU. I was there around 7. I was hungry, so I sent him a text message saying I’d go order now because I was already famished. So order I did, a small Margherita pizza.
Time passed by. Before meeting up, I informed him that I was in a hurry because I need to go home and get my dress for Friday’s event, so it’s important to catch the 9pm train to Monumento and the last 10pm bus to Malolos. He understood.
Then I waited for more than an hour. Needless to say, I was flustered that he made me wait that long. The waiter even removed the plates and utensils across me that was supposed to be his. Then he called, he asked to meet him across the street, and that he’d drive me from there to Monumento and that we can talk about the program while driving around the metro. I agreed.
I paid my bill, stepped outside and crossed the street. I felt foolish standing there in my blue turtle neck shirt and long, roomy pleated skirt and flats. I was carrying a huge blue gym bag to boot. Then a car stopped in front of me and somebody called my name.
The passenger seat of the car was open, so I hurriedly walked towards it and then it hit me: This man is a total stranger, I haven’t met him before, why would I let him give me a ride?
Anyway, Deng knows him – and since she (and Mimi) are aware that we’re meeting, it’ll be fine. Besides, this is no time to embody “Dalagang Pilipina” because we’re both anxious for the event. So in I went. We shook hands and introduced ourselves. He was neat, prim and proper. I was the boho, loud and distressed one. He had clean, pretty hands. I have bony hands and nails in dire need of manicure. He was carrying a very preppy brown leather satchel and well, I have my gym bag and that doggy bag of leftover cold pizza. Needless to say, I felt dishevelled. This is not really the kind of meeting where I give out an aura of security and preparedness. This is the kind of meeting where I give out an “Is-this-really-my-co-host-oh-my-God” kind of aura. But why should I care about that? We have a pressing issue on our hands.
Awkward silence. I think he broke it.
Then we talked about a lot of things – books, reading, Toastmasters, Division K, people we both know, our universities, normal, random things. I found him to be charming. He has an odd, quirky humour and a deep laugh most men don’t have. His voice was well-modulated, again, rare. While we were yapping about random things, we were getting deeper into the night, in Manila, and we kind of got lost.
It was a funny situation, we were strangers and we were trying to reassure each other that we’ll get on the right road and that we’ll eventually arrive at the bus station. He kept saying sorry and what was I supposed to say but “It’s okay?” where in fact I was so anxious my gut is in knots. So we talked some more to, I don’t know, amuse each other. Finally, we got to the right road – A.Mabini – and we relaxed a bit. A bit of that conversation:
M: “Sabi ko sa ‘yo dapat sa may mga lechon tayo lalabas e!”
O: “Anong lechon? Nasan ang lechon?”
M: (Turo sa kaliwa) “Ayan o, Ping-Ping’s!”
O: (he laughed)
M: “Tapos dito sa pagliko natin lalampasan natin yung Chinese.”
O: “Nasan yung Chinese? Isang chinese? Nasan?”
M: (Irap) “Oh sorry na. Yung Chinese General Hospital, okay?”
O: (laughs) “Okay, okay,”
M: “Yun sure ako ‘di na tayo maliligaw. Alam ko na ‘to.”
O: “Sorry talaga.”
M: “Ayos lang yun.”
As we were nearing my stop, we slowed down to pull over and actually discuss the spiel. We made a quick run through, agreed to back-up each other on ad lib, and that was that. Just ’round the rotunda was my stop. I thanked him for driving me to the station, went out of the car, and bid him goodbye.
I managed to get to the last bus. SRO.
Friday: The Day
I was having the shakes all afternoon. I was anxious to appear in front of my peers, but my friends Mimi, Deng and Jennie were supportive of me. So I held my head high. I fumbled through the spiels and hurriedly crafted our make-shift cue card holder. I have finished preparing all these when he arrived in his too casual get-up. Face palm moment, oh boy, but I don’t think he cared, haha, or he’s just that good hiding his anxieties.
We were off to a very awkward start. Our peers were expecting probably a huge bang but all we’ve managed that early in the program, were a few sparks. While we moved on to the rest of the program, however, we loosened up, and became comfortable in assisting and leading the program. Our mentors were very patient and understanding and they gave us tips on how to handle this and that (especially Ms. Cora and Ms. Dina!). The moment I really relaxed was when wine was served. I finished two gobletfuls with haste. It was fantastic.
At the end of the program, people were awarded with “The Boldest TMs” of the night. Owen was called first, and I last. The really embarrassing part was when we were awarded the Boldest Couple of the Night (or something like that). Ms. Dina said,
“I think all of us would agree that they deserve this award…” and then she called our names, and we were ushered forward, and Dr. Volts gave us the awards, and as we were presented in front, people were yelling “Uyy bagay!” or “Pwede!” and were shouting and teasing. The cream of the crop of all these teasing was when everybody started hitting their wine glasses with spoons, calling to attention the fact that we were being paired. I felt my face burning with mingled emotions, while he kept laughing it off. I took a cue and laughed with the crowd.
When finally it was all over and we were back at the podium, he said, “Well that was awkward!” while laughing, and I said, “I know right?!”. I thought about pulling his leg by saying “Awkward? That was fun!” but it might prove too much.
We said our goodbyes in the most casual way, not even a hug a tap on the back or a handshake. Just a casual “I’m heading home now, bye.” We said our short pieces over a text message consisting of not more that 50 words.
Saturday: Arts and Culture Appreciation Day
Facebook photos appeared and there’s one totally embarrassing photo of me laughing so hard I look ridiculous. He was joking at the start of the program and I couldn’t help myself so I laughed. A photo was snapped, we were both tagged, my life is ruined.
But who cares? I am off to Cinemalaya with Mimi!
We had a blast! Mimi and I saw four films – Kalayaan by Adolfo Alix, Kamera Obskura by Raymond Red, Posas by Lawrence Fajardo and Ang Katiwala by Aloy Adlawan. These are all remarkable films, but my favourite is Kamera Obskura. 🙂 Ang Katiwala stuck to me because of the heartbreaking story. It was more than my heart could take that rainy Saturday night. Follow the link for the synopsis!
Other than watching films, Mimi and I spent the day eating (hahaha) and going around the Tanghalang Pambansa (CCP). We had coffee at the nearby Starbucks, ordered our chicken fix at KFC and had our hotdog sandwiches outside the CCP – and sat on the hard cement floor/wall and just looked around the film patrons lounging around, eating, smoking. Oh and yes we took lots of photos to remember our date! 🙂
Sunday, Stormy Day
Needless to say, I stayed at home the whole day because of the Tropical Storm Gener. I slept through the whole afternoon, had my coffee fix when I woke up, watched some Golden Girls, had dinner, watched some TV, and slept. I kept waking up in the middle of the night because of the strong winds and continuous raining. Ever since that Pedring incident, I get all worked up about rains.
Monday: Fun Day (not)
It is back to work again, the fascinating week, a has-been, had been wonderful. There were a few bumps, a few surprises, and a lot to remember.
We all have those fleeting moments of ecstasy and what we can do to keep it alive forever is to savour it while it is happening, so that when one day when you feel rough, you look back, and you smile.
These memories may mean nothing to other people but who cares? They are yours. You chose to keep them because they mean something to you so go keep it.
But really, I had an awesome weekend. 🙂