Of Crowds and Fridays

trainrides

Weekdays are hectic. The days go by in a blur of sweaty commute, hurried lunches, deadlines, office gossip, punctuated by his text messages reminding you that in another part of the city, he’s also caught in a routine and can’t wait for the weekend. Friday is a reward for the sacrifices of the week. But you’d have to contend with traffic jam and people flooding the malls due to weekend payday sale. And early summer heat reminds you that your feet are numb and you badly need a massage.

Then you see him waiting for you in the midst of a sea of faces, and you swear you can almost hear that The Cure song playing in the background. And the way he lights up when he sees you in the crowd is precious. You love this man and as he hugs you, you’re reminded of the promise Friday brings:…

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Evert: XXVI on the 26th

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Truth be told, he wasn’t always weird like that. Just like everyone else, he started as a seemingly normal baby.

bath time

bath time

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Normal right?
Has a normal big sister too.

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And a seemingly regular family.

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Then he grew up. So did his sister.

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And my, have they grown.

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Then he got a Mini Me.

Sven: His father's son

Sven: His father’s son

A blessing and a little version of himself.

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So you think he’d stop being weird, right?

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Well, sometimes he does.

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Cheers to my favorite brother in the world. The only one I’ve got anyway.

My frenemy but truly my bestest friend ever.
The chef and butler.
The entertainer.
The babyiest of babies, but second only to Sventypoo.

I love you to the moon and back.

Celebrate life and continue to be grateful for all the blessings you have.
I pray for your guidance and for you to realize your dreams soon.

Always choose to be happy.
And when all else fails, just sing Total Eclipse of the Heart.

Happy birthday! Many happy returns of the day.

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The Nine People You Meet In Your *Commute

Photo source: definitelyfilipino.com

Photo source: definitelyfilipino.com

1. The Sleepyhead
You should avoid being seated next to a sleepyhead. At some point during the commute, his head is gonna rest on your shoulders. You can try to nudge him off but sometimes they’re dead to the world, hence, you might end up with a stranger’s drool on your sleeves. Plus all that heavy breathing is gonna drive you nuts.

2. The Broadcaster
With the advent of mobile technology, came the demise of privacy. Technically, in a public transport, your privacy is greatly diminished. But don’t you just hate it when the passenger you’re with is yapping on the phone endlessly? Most of the time, I am rather proud of my “zoning out” capabilities, meaning, I go in a zone where there’s just space for me and block all external distractions like smell, sight and sound. But there are people who just would love to test your limits. When a Broadcaster travels with you, before you reach your destination, you would have already known that she is planning to break up with her boyfriend after Christmas because she thinks the new IT guy is cute. Also, she and her friends are going to Boracay and so they’re planning to shop for swimwear at divi next weekend. And oh, her cousin is having an affair with a married man.

Photo source: alabangbulletin.com

Photo source: alabangbulletin.com

3. The Sweatman
I know that we are all helpless against the sweltering heat when we’re outdoors but would it be too much for you to have a hanky or tissue paper handy to wipe off your sweat? I am sweaty that’s why I carry tons of paper towels in my backpack. When it’s 40 degrees outside and you’re squeezed in random bodies in a train, the last thing you want is a sweaty arm rubbing your face. A bonus is if he reeks of body odor.

4. The Hottie
This doesn’t happen often, at least not to me. or maybe I just don’t notice them often enough. But sometimes, it’s like the universe conspires to tease you with a hottie on board. When I say hottie, it could be a hot guy or a really pretty girl. Oftentimes, I get self-conscious when a hottie sits right in my line of vision because then I split my time staring at him/her and pretending to not stare at him/her. All else being equal, a hottie is an interesting distraction for your commute and a reminder that sometimes people who are thousand times more attractive than you also take the shuttle.

Photo source: blog.trafficdito.com

Photo source: blog.trafficdito.com

5. The Congeniality Awardee
My parents instilled in my mind at a pretty young age never to talk to strangers lest they kidnap me, put me in a sack, harvest my organs to be sold to rich Westerners who need a transplant. That, my friends, is deeply ingrained in my heart until now. If you are just asking for directions or the fare at the shuttle or bus, then I’d respond properly. If you’re gonna launch into a discussion with a preface about the weather, then I’m just gonna stare at you like I just recognized you as the Most Wanted Person I just saw on TV. If you’re an older person who wants to chat, out of respect, I would smile but you are never gonna get anything more than that. My commute is a commute, simply getting from point A to B. Conversations are not included in the package. If you want to fully experience my awesomely brilliant personality, then you have to call my agent and arrange for an audience.

6. The Serial Complainant/er
Some people are just oozing with negativity that you just want to smash their face into pieces before putting said pieces into a blender, hitting the max button. I kid, I kid. Seriously, serial complainers/ants, tend to make me think of homicidal thoughts. Everyone knows traffic is bad. We don’t need you to remind us. If you’re running late and you’re pissed that the shuttle is still stuck in the terminal waiting for more passengers, then how is that our fault or the driver’s fault? It’s nobody’s fault that you overslept and is now running late for a meeting, but yours. If I’m seated next to you, I’ll give you a gazillion of imaginary eye rolls.

7. The Makeup Artist Multi-tasker
These I mostly encounter on my early morning train ride. I have to admit, I admire their skills. I have a hard time applying makeup on solid ground, i.e. at home in front of the mirror. But these girls are so evolved, they could actually do it while the train lurches and screeches to a halt with just a tiny compact. And then voila, fully made up to face another day at work. Way to go, sistah!

8. The Bricks
When you’re on a public vehicle be it a bus, train, shuttle or jeepney, you have to share the seat space. Share is the operative word not hoard. Some people are like bricks that just won’t budge even if he or she knows that the next person is uncomfortably seating on the edge of the seat. I am pretty sure there is a special place in hell for the Bricks.

Photo source: megacities-go-services.com

Photo source: megacities-go-services.com

9. The Nitrogen
My favorite commuters are the Nitrogen(s). Just like their namesake, they’re invisible but definitely essential. Let me qualify invisible. You sit or stand next to them but their presence does not bother you because they’re not noisy or sweaty or chatty. They’re just there, just like you, trying to get from point A to B. Why essential? You need Nitrogen(s) in your commute because that shuttle/FX/AUV won’t depart unless all seats are occupied. You don’t wanna be alone in a bus. If you are, you either missed your stop and is on the way to the bus depot or you’ve been kidnapped or in a similarly scary situation. Check your person if you have a bomb attached to you. I kid, I kid. Can you imagine if you were alone on the train? Well, it’s never gonna happen and you very well know why.

*In the Philippine context, commuting mostly refers to taking public transportation.

Looking Back At My “Fictional” Attempts

Photo source: kidsinthekichen.blogspot.com

Photo source: kidsinthekichen.blogspot.com

I don’t tell you this often enough but I’m really grateful for your taking the time to read my stories. Cheesy but I can’t thank you enough. And it just warms my heart that some of you may be numbers on my blog stats and unknown faces from halfway across the world but I’ve already shared a lot about my inner thoughts and quirks.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Today, I was rereading my old posts and decided I want to re-post some of my favorite fictional stories. If you haven’t read them, here’s your chance. If you have, please tell me what you think about them.

 

The first one is called Purple and Red. It’s about a woman with an intense need for affiliation and a low self-esteem. It also hints physical abuse.

Maybe you locked yourself in your room grieving the silence of the phone. Did he forget your birthday or was it anniversary? You wanted to paint your bedroom red but you are waiting for his approval. So now it’s still the lifeless gray that matches your gloom.

You may read the full story here.

 

The second one is the love of a witch and a prince called Witching Hours.

The prince had a recurring nightmare of riding his horse on the forest and running after a woman in a billowing red skirt. But before he could catch her, he gets thrown off the horse.

For the full story, just click here.

 

The third is about a rainy morning and the memories that pour with the drops on the window pane.

And on rainy mornings, I stay in bed and look out the window and wonder if you still look up at the sky and ask why she’s crying.

The full story is  here.

 

 

Again, thank you so much, everyone.

PS. Enjoy the rest of your day.

Great Friends Take You To Chateau Royale For The Weekend

Nice: rich friend

Nice: rich friend

By great, I mean, rich. And by rich friends, I mean, Nice is one of them. She is not named Nice for nothing. So anyway, Nice has paid for a 2D/1N reservation for four at Chateau Royale in Tagaytay. Her family is supposed to use it but due to change of plans, we ended up going instead. And by we, I mean, Nice, Ann, Karen and me.

The four of us started the journey at the Batangas bus terminal in Pasay but was dismayed at the queue. This was at 12:30 noon. Apparently, most people were trying to escape the heat in the metro. An unsolicited advice from a woman behind us in the queue prodded us to wait for a bus instead at EDSA. And so we did. After what seemed like eternity (approximately 15 minutes) and our skin slowly being burnt to a crisp, a bus heading to Tagaytay picked us up. I can’t tell you if traffic was bad because right after we ate our takeout from McDonald’s, we dozed off. Then we got off at Olivarez in Tagaytay and boarded a jeep that would take us right at the front gate of the Chateau.

I’m no expert when it comes to aesthetics so I really can’t explain to you the overall design of the resort. It looks contemporary with some Japanese influence. The resort has lots of Japanese sculptures (mostly of Buddha) and some Indian ones, too. I think.

Photo source: mhelgarrido.blogspot.com

Photo source: mhelgarrido.blogspot.com

For the accomodations, there are three types: the hotel, the single-detached cabins and the log cabins. The hotel looks out of place in the resort, like a sore thumb in a Japanese-ish ranch.

Single-detached Cabins Photo source: www.sulit.com.ph

Single-detached Cabins
Photo source: http://www.sulit.com.ph

We stayed in a log cabin, which is a 7- to 10-minute walk from the front desk. There’s a shuttle and golf carts but they weren’t always around whenever we had to leave our room. By the way, the only Japanese indication in our room is the minimalist design. No tacky paintings and just white sheets on the beds, which actually felt surprisingly restful for me. If there’s a way they can increase the water pressure in the bathroom, I’ll give them a better rating.

Photo source: onandofftheroad.com

Photo source: onandofftheroad.com

The Chateau boasts of superb amenities and various recreational activities (rock climbing, zip line, etc.) but we were only interested in one thing, swimming. They have a great pool with actual sand surrounding it.

Photo source: tipofmytonguemoments.wordpress.com

Photo source: tipofmytonguemoments.wordpress.com

Our reservation included dinner at the Chateau’s Floating Restaurant, which at that time was more like a dry-docked resto because there was no water beneath the tiny bamboo huts. They serve the food buffet style. That night the menu consisted of Bird’s Nest soup, rice, pancit, fish fillet, okoy, grilled pork and pineapple and watermelon for dessert. Iced tea and water were served in a nicely set table. The soup was salty. The okoy was good. And the rest are just barely passable. Sorry, I don’t really know how to review food.

Surprisingly, they more than made up for the food the next day at breakfast. Same setup as dinner except for a chef who cooks eggs on the spot, sunny side up or omelette. The menu was lugaw, fried rice, corned beef, tinapa and watermelon for dessert. They had unlimited kapeng barako (Batangas brewed coffee), which I personally love. They also served pineapple juice. The corned beef was a bit salty but overall, it was a delicious breakfast.

Definitely A Breakfast Feast

Definitely A Breakfast Feast

By the way, they have a Veranda Cafe, adjacent to the lounge and front desk, where they serve the welcome drinks, namely, pineapple juice. They don’t serve cocktails there, just locally made alcoholic beverages. Also, food is pricey but tasty. We tried their Royale Club sandwich with fries for Php 270 and Batangas Burger for Php 280. Service is slow so don’t go there hungry.

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The resort also sells fresh produce at really low prices, half of the price of veggies here in Manila. Also, they sell pasalubong like espasol and other native delicacies. Their buko and langka espasol is a must-try.

Overall, despite the disappointing dinner and welcome drinks, it was a great weekend getaway, mostly because the place is lovely and the people I was with are lovelier.

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Thank you, again, Nice. You definitely made it to the Jobet 500.

Nice is the American-ish girl at the right.

Nice is the American-ish girl on the right.

Perfect Date Ideas From A Self-Proclaimed Spinster

I’ve had my fair share of dating horrors. In fact, I have told you about my spectacularly disapponting date with a guy who liked Westlife. If not, you can read about it here.

Yeah, yeah, I have this annoying love affair with hyperbole. So anyhow, it’s Friday and so most people are in good spirits. I hope you are too. Well, I am. And so today I will write about something positive. Hmm. Like what? Crime rate? Upcoming national elections? The April 15 deadline for filing of taxes? Geezz, can you tell how I’m oozing with positivity right now?

Let’s talk about dating, which personally is a comedy of horrors. I’m pretty sure Billy Shakespeare is turning in his grave right now for my usage of one of his famous plays. If you are hoping I would lay out for you fool-proof dating advice, you may stop reading now, though I hope you wouldn’t. Surely, you have to understand that a 29-year old spinster is in no place to dish out dating advice in any shape or form. But just because I am a self-confessed spinster and apparently unpopular with guys, doesn’t mean I am without my wishes for a perfect date. And that’s what I want to share with you today.

It’s actually a tie. So I have two perfect ideas for a date. Before I tell you what they are, I’ll tell you first that when I was in my early 20s, I thought a perfect date for me would be in a museum. What could be more romantic than walking through high-ceilinged halls full of different artworks? Plus the silence of the sculptures as the dust tries to settle on the frames of paintings provides a charmed setting for a budding affair. The soft echo of your footsteps as you pretend to look at sketches would be the perfect soundtrack of your own romantic comedy. As you can see, I lived in a European romcom when I was 20. Think Amelie and The Spanish Apartment. But since I’ve been on platonic dates in a museum twice with two of my good guy friends, I’ve scrapped out the perfect museum date.

So my perfect date idea #1 is at a blood-letting activity. Now before you clutch your imaginary pearls, let me explain myself. The reason why I think this is perfect is aside from you are making a contribution to the National Red Cross, this also gives you a glimpse into what kind of person your date is. If he is willing to give blood on your first date, there are only two valid possibilities. Either he is desperate and willing to do anything and everything to get laid or he really cares about such causes as helping those who need blood.

Photo source: prometheus.med.utah.edu

Photo source: prometheus.med.utah.edu

An equally important reason why this donating blood is perfect is because after you’ve given out 500cc of your own blood is that now you two have the perfect little excuse for a red meat feast or buffet. You need all the red meat for your red blood cells. So hey, win-win, right? If a worthy cause and a buffet won’t seal your bond forever, then nothing would.

Perfect date idea #2 is a little picnic at night in the middle of Sunken Garden while listening to 90s and early ’00s boyband music. You could also add reading your favorite children stories and/or rhymes to the repertoire. You only need finger foods, mat, candles, iPod/phone for your music and story books. Think Nsync, Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees. If a guy is willing to listen to crappy boyband music with you, he may be: a, someone who has terrible music just like you; b, desperately wants to sleep with you or; c, willing to forego your horrible taste in music for a shot at a meaningful relationship. So again, nothing to lose and everything to gain in this setup.

Photo source: wikimapia.org

Photo source: wikimapia.org

PS. The children stories part is a subliminal attempt for him to think that you would one day bear his children. I am assuming you’d be down for that. No pun intended.

PPS. You are only allowed to stay at Sunken Garden until 10 in the evening.

So anyway, since I don’t see any dates in my foreseeable future, I’ll just enjoy my Friday listening to The Dan Band’s Candy Shop. If you haven’t heard of Dan Finnerty or The Dan Band, it’s about effin time you listen to him/them now.

TGIF!

The Special Kind of Hell Called Friend Zone

Photo source: blogs.studentlife.utoronto.ca

Photo source: blogs.studentlife.utoronto.ca

In popular culture, the “friend zone” refers to a platonic relationship wherein one person wishes to enter into a romantic or sexual relationship, while the other does not. It is generally considered to be an undesirable situation by the lovelorn person. Once the friend zone is established, it is said to be difficult to move beyond that point in a relationship.

That was brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Wikipedia

My take on it is it’s another version of unrequited love. Plain, simple and painful. I think. When I think of friend zone, I think of David Todd and Severus Snape. David Todd is the husband of Mabel Todd who had an affair with Austin Dickinson, more famously known as Emily Dickinson’s brother. You see, Mr. Todd gave his blessing on the affair. Several accounts have been written about this. I choose to believe that he decided to go into friend zone rather than be bitter about his wife’s straying. Of course, he later on carried on with affairs of his own, with his wife’s approval.

On the other hand, Harry Potter fans are well aware of Professor Snape’s enduring love for Lily, Harry’s mother who, of course, married the love of her life, Harry’s dad. In fact, I dare say, Snape is the poster child of friend zone.

Photo source: quickmeme.com

Photo source: quickmeme.com

Also, let’s not forget, Jules from My Best Friend’s Wedding. I saw this film when I was in high school and it just broke my heart. How can we live in a world where the lovely Julia Roberts with the perfect curly hair did not end up marrying her best friend, the dashing Dermot Mulroney? We are in a seriously f**ed up place. If Jules could not get her perfect guy, what hope is there for us lesser mortals?

Photo source: madeofhumor.com

Photo source: madeofhumor.com

There are many reasons cited for people thrown in the friend zone. Some of those cited are unequal level of attraction. Sexual attraction of one party not enough to cross the friendship line. For many, it is simply the fear of losing a true friend.

I don’t have firsthand experience of friend zone but I have a few thoughts on why some people find themselves in this hell. I repeat, these are my own speculations, so don’t shoot me.

1. You are not taking enough Vitamin C.

2. You like a person who is 2 points more attractive than you. The rule is you only have a shot with people who are 2 points more or less attractive than you. If you are a 6, try not to fall for someone higher than an 8 or prepare to be friend zoned or downright rejected.

Photo source: jwoww.com

Photo source: jwoww.com

3. You can’t figure this out:
Consider the ellipse (x² / 4) + (y² / 1) = 1
What is the equation describing this ellipse after it has been rotated thirty degrees counterclockwise?

4. You don’t replace the toothpaste cap.

5. You don’t floss often enough.

6. You can’t cook a decent pasta. In fact you don’t know the perfect recipe for boiling water.

7. Your name is Jar Jar Binks.

Photo source: 90s411.com

Photo source: 90s411.com

8. You have let your object of affection see your messy room.

9. You take too many bathroom photos.

10. You think this list is legit.

Photo source: sverigecolin.blogspot.com

Photo source: sverigecolin.blogspot.com

The Girl Who Loved Obituaries

Photo courtesy of 123rf.com

Photo courtesy of 123rf.com

Kim looks at people and imagine what their obituary would read as. When she was a little girl, she had feared death and all things related to it. She was afraid to look at pictures of dead people. She could not look at coffins. When her mom would take her to the cemetery, she would try not to read the names on the tombstones. When she became an adult, she decided to do something about her fear. She started reading obituaries. That’s how she turned into the girl who reaches first to the obituary page of the Sunday paper.

She has written her own obituary, and it’s unlike what you usually read on the newspapers. Kim thinks it’s a pity that your last announcement in this world would just include the name of the funeral house, the date of the interment and the people who have survived you. Instead of a tearful eulogy, she wants to make sure she has a well-written obituary.

Five days a week, she answers email queries about an apparently problematic online payment system. Most of the queries have templates for answers. She oftentimes imagine what the person is like behind the email address. Is he a burly old guy who will have a funny, half-page obituary? Maybe a retired banker who will have a no-nonsense obituary, 3 or 4 lines approximately. Or it could be the old lady everyone is fond of who will have a family member write a heartwarming obituary full of recounting of her character.

On weekends, Kim tries to spend as much time with her boyfriend who works as a college instructor. He hates Kim’s obsession with obituaries because he once read a short story about a girl who reads obituaries in the bathroom when she’s menstruating because she was molested when she was a child. Kim tries to assure him she was not molested but he remains doubtful.

They had been together for almost a year. There’s nothing magical about their relationship. What they have is a comfortable companionship that lacks growth and maturity. Despite the seemingly monotonous context, Kim likes being with him. He has not had any declarations of love and has not talked about marriage plans. Kim sometimes wish he would but most of the time, she’s just content to lay in his arms listening to his deep, evenly spaced breathing.

One Sunday morning while having breakfast, they had a row when he saw Kim reading intently the obituary page.

Will you please not read that while we’re eating? Or in front of me?

Why not?

Of course, she knows quite well why not but she’s tired of defending herself.

Because it’s all about death. I think you’re getting more and more obsessed with death.

No, I’m not. Besides the headlines are full of death. How’s that different from the obituary?

It’s different and you know that. You don’t even know those dead people. Why do you care about them?

He then got up, leaving his unfinished food and went to their bedroom.

They rarely fight and she hates it when they do. She followed him to the bedroom. He was staring out the window.

I was not molested when I was a kid. I had a normal childhood. I was just really afraid of dead people. Why don’t you believe me?

I believe you. It’s just unsettling when you read those things. Why can’t you just have a hobby like normal people do?

So now you’re saying I’m not normal?

He laughed but it didn’t reach his eyes. Kim is starting to feel there was something he was not telling her. She does not like surprises and that’s why she likes him because he is predictable. He likes toast and eggs for breakfast, pizza on Fridays, classical music when he’s checking test papers and white underpants. There is definitely comfort in routine. But right now, Kim is scared that something is about to change. He could see it in his eyes.

Death is about pain and letting go. No matter how much people say it’s beautiful, you can never convince the bereaved family of that.

I’d like to think of obituaries as happy endings.

No matter how happy they are, they’re endings. I don’t want you fixated on endings. We’re still young. We’re barely starting. There’s a lot of things we haven’t done yet.

Are you breaking up with me?

She didn’t mean to say it out loud but she fears it’s what he was trying to say.

No, silly. I want us to get married.

As relief flooded through Kim, she couldn’t stop her tears.

You really shouldn’t cry. It’s not like someone died.

She hugged him hard.

You’re well aware marrying you means I get to write your obituary, right?

He smiled as he slid the ring on her finger.

I guess so.

Photo courtesy of glamour.com

Photo courtesy of glamour.com

Half Of A Dream Kind Of Job

On April 10 just before midnight, I officially threw myself into the sea of job hunters. No, I did not quit my job nor am I dissatisfied with it. I was merely testing the waters as others might say. Plus it has been more than a year that I had been checking this certain company’s job openings, hoping for a vacancy that I’d be qualified for. And then last week, it finally happened. My excitement while updating my resume and carefully crafting my cover letter was accompanied by the guilt of some form of disloyalty to my current job.

This would sound defensive but the reason I want to work for this company is the desire to contribute more than just paying taxes. RepRisk is a “provider of dynamic business intelligence on environmental, social and governance risks for an unlimited universe of companies and projects. Its mission is to help clients achieve long-term success through transparency and risk management.” That’s a direct quote from their site. Basically, they have this database, which has a list of corrupt companies, especially those with environmental violations. They also have other tools that companies may utilize to ensure transparency and risk management. If you know me, you’d understand why I want to work with them.

On April 12th, I got a reply from Mr. Peter Ing, who just happens to be the Financial Data Provider & Sales Channel Manager in Zurich. Of course, you could just imagine my excitement when I saw I had an email from him. But my face fell as soon as I read its content.

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I was truly disappointed with the pay scale. For a company such as theirs, I was hoping for a higher figure. The offer’s ceiling is even lower than my current company’s offer back in 2009. As my friend, Red, had said (he also applied with RepRisk), “I’m not sure how they got the figure but it was really cheap.”

I didn’t know how to reply to Mr. Ing’s email so I didn’t. I figure I could wait until Monday to send a reply. Or better, maybe he won’t notice my lack of response from the sea of applicants. But no such luck because at 9:19 a.m. of the 15th, I saw a new email from him.

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So now I really had to reply. Not only would it be disrectful and unprofessional not to, I was also afraid to be blacklisted from the company. The problem was how to tell him I would not be pursuing the application because the pay is cheap, without me looking so financially motivated. But then again, me as a member of the labor force and yet also on a job hunt has indirectly tagged me as financially motivated. I settled with this short response.

CropperCapture[13]

What I really wanted to tell Mr. Ing was this:

Even if I had not pointed it out, I’m pretty sure it was apparent that I’ve decided not to pursue my application because of the pay scale. I believe it was not commensurate to my skill set and experience. I really would like to join your company and could imagine a fulfilling career furthering the company’s advocacy in transparency in the corporate world, though that may sound like an oxymoron. I could imagine the job fulfilling my desire to do more for the community yet I have to be honest that I also believe in financial stability. I would not want to sacrifice that.

Nevertheless, thank you for considering my application. I hope you find a suitable candidate for the position. If not, you can always raise your offer and maybe we can talk again.

Why It’s Not Safe To Talk About Music On The First Date

He was introduced by a family friend. An overall good guy with a clean cut, engineering grad who just passed the board. I was a sophomore in college and kind of wondering if he was going to be my first boyfriend. Although he was a nice guy, we were not exempted from the awkwardness of a first date. I didn’t know the rules and I was hoping to wing it. Huge mistake.

Him: Do you like music?
Me: Yes. Do you?

I was somewhat disappointed with the question because I thought it is a given that everyone loves music. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t. That should make it a fact, not a hasty generalization. True? But then again maybe he’s too nice to be presumptuous.

Me: What kind do you like?
Him: Alternative.

Alternative in essense is the opposite of mainstream. Alternative was, and probably is, cool. Honestly, now, I believe alternative, just like any other genre, was created by the music industry moguls to create a new market. The one to sell Nirvana, The Verve, Suede, Blur records to. (Did I mix alternative rock and Britpop?) Of course, when moguls create a new genre, they will be sure to sell everything that goes with it: the apparel, the lifestyle (may or may not include illegal substances), ideas (may or may not be limited to sex, abortion, marriage, divorce, dating, suicide) Clearly, you can now see how clueless I am in this or how huge the genre is.

Since I was in college when this date happened, needless to say, I was impressed when he said he liked alternative music.

Me: Who’s your favorite artist?
Him: Westlife.

Aside from music, I also like sarcasm. He was funny! Because I was nervous during this time, I didn’t laugh. But I did grin, which genuinely confused him.

Him: You don’t like them?

Sh*t just got real. He was serious. He truly liked Westlife. I remember Westlife when I was in high school because Swear It Again was on the radio a lot. But back then, I was a Hanson fan because, hey, they write their own songs and play instruments. I would go as far as say that the only thing that kept Hanson from being alternative was that they were hugely popular plus they had indiscernible lyrics. Mmm Bop?

Me: No. I’m more Nirvana and Sigur Ros.

College was the peak of my pretentiousness. But back then I didn’t call myself pretentious because I believe that if I have faith in these artists’ music, then I’d soon enough imbibe a life that is full of art, depth and meaning. Yes, I was a whole load of bull crap. I actually tried to read Umberto Eco!

Needless to say, there was no second date. He now lives in the Emirates with his wife and two kids while I am still a walking dating disaster. Also, a friend just pointed out to me that I now have a terrible taste in music. Truth be told, that doesn’t bother me at all. My playlist now includes Britney’s From The Bottom Of My Broken Heart because she really sounded cute then. And I play Maroon 5’s One More Night while I take a shower.

For the life of me, I ccouldn’t understand why I wanted to be cool or deep or poetic. I certainly didn’t look the part. Maybe it’s a prerequisite of growing up. Being pretentious is so not cool. Not that I’m saying I’ve stopped being pretentious just because I now admit to listening to pop music. I’m looking at you Twihards.