Thursday, February 2, 2012

One morning in Makati

[A post to mark my entrance to Twitter. I am hoping to follow users who bring something to the table much more beyond what they had for breakfast. This true story goes against that strategy by going with it, if that makes any sense at all. (None) ]

My brother dropped me off at the carpark at 630am. The clinic would not be open until eight. I had time to kill. After a sandwich and several chapters of a novel later, I claimed my medical results, though not before a reprimand from a woman I mistook for a man (I approached the wrong counter). When I looked at the results—four copies, the original and the actual figures—I was relieved that I was deemed fit for employment. But at the same time I was bothered that the results, at first glance, look impossibly perfect. Is anyone ever that well?

I walked to the embassy. The directions were etched in my mind after looking at Wikimapia the night before. No signage around the building, except for the one that said “renovation”. A guard stuck out his head out of a window and told me to go to the adjacent blue building on the other side. Finding the next blue building too far to be next door, I popped into one that I pronounced green. The guard confirmed that I was in the right building, but too early.

Starbucks was the nearest seating option. I killed half an hour with half a sugar-free iced latte, a newspaper and a society magazine featuring an artist who had been my roommate. She looked lovely, but not exactly the crazy, carefree girl I remember spending a few days with.

At the appointed time, the tiny temporary office of the consular section only had a handful of applicants, something I was not used to. In the past two years, I had been in three other embassies and they were always busy and much bigger. I was fortunate that although the birthday of Prophet Muhammad on Monday is an embassy holiday, the woman at the window was nice enough to give me an earlier claim date for the visa.

It was too early to go home (the earliest shuttle leaves at 3pm), so I went to the mall. The cab driver seemed to think that I wasn't familiar with the Greenbelt area but did not need to be corrected. Looking at shoes and bags, I had to constantly remind myself that my 15 kilos baggage allowance is not nearly enough for clothes. That killed the temptation to spend (even if I only have few shoes and bags...for a woman).

I headed for the salon for a quick trim. The stylist, spying the clinic's name on my envelope, seemed to know it would be a while before I would be back. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into his words. “I love it,” I told him, referring to the haircut, as I handed the tip.

Window shopping. Rack after rack of clothes. Settled on a P100 necklace. I have always wanted an owl to call my own.

The soup was excellent at the Italian place. I must have looked like I was enjoying it because my seatmate asked what I was having and promptly ordered it. She must have been fairly satisfied because she thanked me before she left. As the server set down the pepper mill and the chili oil, I had a moment of nostalgia. When we were only a few buildings apart, my mom and I would have lunch served with the jug of oil with the whole garlic at the bottom. Oh, snap out of it.

One thing struck me about this morning: I was greeted by different people, from guards to cleaners, so many times in the span of a few hours. Greeting people may be part of their jobs, but they don't get so much appreciation or recognition for the services they perform. I felt as if something invisible had revealed itself to me. (That'a supposed to be dramatic? I know it's simple. All of this is.)

I spent the afternoon and evening at another mall doing more mundane things. (Did you hear that one about driver's license renewal?) I did manage to spend half of P6000+ worth of gift certificates. I won't bore you with the details, but will you let me bore you even more (again) without them?

No comments:

Post a Comment