Saturday, February 5, 2011

Of the Ineffable & Incomprehensible

            There are moments between people that I’ll witness – a hand held, a furtive caress, a shared look– and I’ll wonder what that is. Sometimes I feel I’ll always be an outsider looking in, a voyeur to a closeness that I’ll never understand, a spectator to intimacy that is so genuine it is palpable, so real it is incapable of being trivialized. Any affection that I have ever felt for anyone so far in my life seems pallid and petty in comparison.

            Have you ever felt this way?   

Portishead - Glory box by Fixed46

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Le Garcon Sans Savoir Vivre I

One night while possessed of malevolent glee,
The Fates played a prank on unwitting S.P.
And brought my path to cross,
Through a series of circumstances,
With that of one of my many
One-sided diminutive romances.
Oh, how I loathe you, omniscient narrator
Of Le Livre de Ma Vie!
You are one without heart, 
Sans merci for poor me~
Poor little S.P.

And thus begins this little story, 
A short sort of allegory
Of le garcon sans savoir vivre..
-Sitting Pretty (Pathetic)

                It was Friday night on the weekend of the big Mardi Gras festival in this sometimes charming Queen City of the South. The excitement in the air was palpable, weighted by the collective anticipation of the thousands of people that had swollen the city's population. - the relative calm before the face-painting, street-writhing, drum-beating, trumpeting storm. I had decided to eschew the pre-Sinulog festivities as I had already gone out the night before and fulfilled my weekly quota for number of nights per week spent inebriated  (with interesting results, both inane and insane, one such episode I've dubbed The Curious Incident of the Mirror in the Nighttime). Plus, I was looking forward to staying in and reading my latest Fully Booked sale acquisitions (Nabokov, Camus, Eggers) and a couple of books, too, from a charming little used books place in Mandaue City called La Belle Aurore Bookshop where I had found, to my utter delight, a copy of early short stories by Simone de Beauvoir.

                 So there I was, comfortably ensconced in my queen bed, clad in oversized T-shirt and fuzzy striped socks with individual toes, pillows arranged strategically to best simulate a La-Z-Boy recliner (a couple propped up against the headboard, two more underneath my legs just beneath the backs of my knees), and my mug of coffee at a perfect distance on the nightstand (requiring only the minimal extension of an arm to reach). In short, I was planning on being a sloppy slobby bum, balancing a book in my lap, dribbling coffee down my chin, and being too lazy to find a tissue, wipe it away with the back of my hand. Just as I was smiling in a self satisfied way at my ergonomic improvisations, the message alert on my phone goes off and it's my fabulous fairy friend, A.D.

                "Hey! Where are you? Come have dinner with me and some of my college friends. Drinks after."

                "No, thanks. I've reverted to my introverted ways. Maybe next time?"

                "Okay, then. =)"

                A few hours go by. It is midnight. Nabokov's wordplay and literary allusions are starting to irk me a bit. I get antsy. I jump out of bed in my striped feet, almost slipping on the polished wood floor. I call A.D.

                "Is it too late to catch up?" I ask. 

                "No! Dinner is over but we're having drinks at The Tinder Box. Get over here! I won't take no for an answer. Andd," he adds, with a sly inflection, "There's someone I want you to meet."

            'Hmm,' I think, cocking an eyebrow. A boy perhaps? Since December A.D. has been saying half-jokingly that he's going to set me up with some boy or other and I wonder if this is one of the prospects he had in mind. I usually find such arrangements abhorrent, but given the lull in my dating life recently (and resultant lack of fodder for this blog), I feel compelled to take a tiny step down from my high horse. I am mildly curious and for some reason now itching to get out of the house. He might be cute. This might be good. 

            "Be there in a bit!" I exclaim, as I scrounge around in my closet for something to wear and curse myself for not being one of those girls who buys tons of clothes and shoes. I settle on my favorite pair of tight grey vintage wash Mango jeans, a loose (as to cover the paunch I've grown over the past months of neglecting the gym) silk blouse from bYSI with a hand-painted floral design on the front with a nacreous shimmer, and a simple little black blazer I had commissioned a few years ago by a Cebu designer named Joy Bernaldez with the sleeves pushed up toward my elbows. I'm not a fashion maven or anything , this is just an attempt to sound fancier than I actually am. I finished with grey-silver peep-toe pumps with a 3-inch heel and my mom's decades-old Christian Dior purse with a gold chain.  I slapped on some make-up and was out the door in seconds flat.

                 I get to the little wine shop slash delicatessen and deftly step around the little puddles left by the rain. The parking lot is illuminated by a rectangle of soft yellowish light from within.  There is a boy standing in the lot. It appears he is waiting for something or someone.

                 "Hey cutie, maybe it's me you've been waiting for all your life, hmm?"

                 I'm always coming on to guys in my imagination. I walk silently past the boy to the entrance. It's a squat sort of building with an entirely glass front where you can see through to the deli and shelves of Eurpoean treats. I notice there are no people sitting at the tables by the window when fabulous A.D. greets me at the door with the customary fairy beso.

                "Hey, you! Glad  you could make it. We're over in the back, come."

                We turn left to make our way to the back room  when I look up and straight into the face of the first customer to enter my field of vision, at the same moment he looks up to see me.

                 It is the Object of 2010's Preoccupation & Aggravation.

                 Oh, bugger. 


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Le Garcon Sans Savoir Vivre II

            Oh, Mother of Irony. I get out of the house to take my mind off every failed attempt at making  a meaningful connection - every almost, near miss, could-have-been, and never-to-be, and here run smack dab in to a prime example? The most recent one at that?  One for whom there may remain some infinitesimal remnant of the delusion of affection? Ye gahdda be kiddin' me. Universe, you're a punk. This warrants the overused word irony doesn't it? I say it does.

          Nevertheless I am collected, cool as a cucumber salad, operating on Nonchalant Autopilot my demeanor betraying none of my inner turbulence. I smooth my silk blouse down with a steady hand and run my slender fingers through my hair to give it that volumized sort of come hither side-part, you know? I extend my neck to its full length and raise myself to my full height and am pleased that I wore the three inch heels as to tower over him at 5'9''. I approach his table.  

        He is smiling stupidly up at me from where he stupidly sits, visibly embarrassed, knocking his stupid knees together and fidgeting with his stupid hair falling into his stupid adorable face. 

          (Bleccch, S.P. really, yucch.) 'Well at least he looks dumber than I do' I think to myself. That will cease to be true in a moment. I clear my throat  demurely to dislodge it of my stomach which seems to have telescoped upwards and into my neck...the neck he once bruised with his mouth.

         "Heyyy," I venture, voice well-modulated, even, melodic. Three ys. Hey-y-y. I extend the last sound long enough as to convey that this is a pleasant surprise, as opposed to what it really is - an ordeal. Not too long as to sound affected, not too short as to sound curt. I am warm but not gooey, friendly but not gratuitous, a light zephyr, not a brisk breeze. (People say I over think things, what do you think?) I am impressed by my composure, my thespian abilities, and make a mental note to pursue a career in acting. Maybe win an Oscar. Or at least a FAMAS for some compelling performance.

        "How are you?" is the next line in my script.

He stops knocking his knees together long enough to mumble something unintelligible in reply, and I wonder for the millionth time how I was ever so attracted to someone of such limited verbal ability.

          In retrospect, this is probably the point at which I should have just ceased with any further perfunctory pleasantries and walked on. A.D. is standing some yards ahead, waiting. It would have saved me some embarrassment. Hindsight is always 20/20. I suppose I thought he would eventually find his misplaced manners and stand-up or introduce me to his company whose faces are a blur. I look at him for nanoseconds that seem like whole minutes, he stares idiotically back up at me. Any millisecond now I expect a dazzling display of good manners, excellent etiquette - of savoir vivre. Any millisecond now...any milli...nothing. None came. And then - horror. Like a woman possessed the most improbable string of words float out of my mouth.

         "What, aren't you going to give me a hug?" 

               Geezus H. I say it with enough levity that it sounds like I'm not altogether serious, but still! And even as the words escape my lips, like so many traitorous flying dwarves,  to titter about in the air between us, I know he isn't going to stand up. I am not a friend. I am just 'some girl.' I am incredulous. I briefly consider saying,

       "So what did you end up doing last week when you totally booty called me at 2a.m.?" 

        But being possessed of savoir vivre, I refrain from trying to embarrass him. I smile  to convey affectionate exasperation and smooth over my gaffe, my faux pas, my vomi mot, and wrap things up with final pleasantries, still unruffled, but inwardly incensed. So this is how it's going to be hmm? We're close enough for you to proposition me but I don't warrant common courtesy? I walk away, and just before I disappear from sight, he calls after me

          "Are you on a date?"

          I smile. The question is absurd. As absurd as my running into him. As absurd as my affection for him. A.D. is obviously too impeccably dressed and too darn cute to be straight. And how smart is it to ask a girl who might be on a date, 'Are you on a date?' in front of her date? This kid has always been ridiculous and I consider the possibility he might be having a brain fart of his own (and maybe needs to reposition his gaydar satellite). Nevertheless, I dignify the question with an answer.

              "No, just hanging out with friends. See you later." Closed-mouth smile. Fluttering finger wave. Exhale of relief. Exit stage left.


*Oh, don't think this dissertation-length diatribe is over. There's a part III.