Was in some office last Friday to transact some business. The atmosphere was a bit iffy. The first lady I saw I directed questions to. Her reaction stunned me. Her concealer-concealed face froze. She didn’t speak. She just looked at me with eyes heavy with makeup. Her hands gesticulated. I looked at her as she was silent. I wondered to myself whether she could speak. She really just froze which surprised me because my question wasn’t anything earth-shaking. I think I asked about activating some electronic key we were given the week previously. Then she spoke. And luckily the girl across her answered the rest of our questions. That girl wasn’t that much friendlier, a bit cold there. Chilling? What was with that office? My back was turned to another girl behind another desk who offered to do one of the things I asked about. Her voice sounded friendlier.
Later I wondered aloud to husband and son why they were like that. I guess being a non-worker in an office, okay working from home, has made me a stranger to how things are in some workplace. Husband said it was a Friday and possibly, that lady who froze was thinking, “At 4 in the afternoon, you’re asking us to do things?” I guess I’m weird then for even thinking that when one is in one’s workplace, never mind if it’s a second before closing time, one has to work as though it weren’t a Friday and a really short time before one’s office’s doors are shut. Ironically, in that same establishment, we had gone to another office where everyone was so warm. The person who was handling our business was out but a Maria offered to get the records we needed and gave me a slip of paper with the person in charge’s contact details after she (Maria) had attended to most of what she could. She promised to let her office mate call us and the latter did. Everything in that office was done with a smile.
Oh well – our baptism of fire was anything but uniform. I dread going back to the chilly office. But I needs must do it some time. If I could avoid doing so, I would. I wonder if CG (catatonic girl) will be catatonic tomorrow. After a long weekend. Dare I go there again? Uggghhh. (It’s tomorrow now and I didn’t dare go to CG’s office. It’s Halloween in a few days and she might invoke that occasion to show another ugghhhh face.
We were out of Metro Manila for two days. Went to a resort in the north. Got there by 11, check-in was at 2. Finished lunch by 12. We were told to wait for our room to be ready. Was getting antsy, envying those who had arrived later than us get checked-in first. I think the ones who were occupying the room where we were assigned checked out late?
We finally got our room at 2:30. I told husband “if we had gone back to Manila we’d have been home by now.” Trip to our destination had taken 3 hours. Reason I can’t identify the place is that we were paying guests, not members of the resort. So I tried my best to be patient given our status. But there was one man who expressed disgust at the front desk. I guess he was a member? He said something about paying correctly so why did he have to wait so long?
Funny this: As we waited for our room to be ready, we overheard this woman also asking for her room and those of her friends. I think they were her guests. She told them “you can go ahead” because their rooms were ready, she said. Then she added, “i have a bigger room.” Promise, she said that. To her friends. She was pretty pa naman. I’m glad she’s not my friend. I’d have felt so “small” – but I guess one gets used to such people/friends? And she was talking not in whispers so I even know the identities of her friends’ husbands. Big names but well she had the bigger room, so does it follow she has a bigger husband?
Yesterday, some personnel of the place were trying to catch some fish to transfer to another portion of the resort. There was this young mom carrying plastic bags of bread to help entice the fish. She was giving some to her son to throw to the fish. Smiling, she asked if we also wanted to do the same. I smiled and said no. She then asked “Are you ILonggo?” I’m a dead giveaway. So I said yes and small world, her mom was my sister’s classmate. When I told her that, she called her Lola and told her so. So her Lola came over and we talked. Later, back in the room, I was ruing the chance meeting with the Lola and regretted how I failed to realize she had been the Anne Sullivan when I first watched The King and I onstage. Because it occurred to me that had I been in her place and someone told me she recalled having watched me onstage decades earlier, I’d have been thrilled.
Well what do you know? We saw her again and I was able to tell her. She held my hand and was incredulous. She said “Really? That was in 1964.” But I think I was more thrilled: I was so happy to actually talk to the Anne Sullivan of my youth who had struck me then as so forbidding and unreachable. Okay, I was starstruck. When I recalled the name of the King, she said, “He’s dead na.” When I recalled the name of her son in the play, she proudly said “He’s a lawyer na.” It was a really happy chance meeting for me. I asked if she still sang and she said the last time was years ago. She stopped when her husband passed away. Ahh love…..
A funny story from son. The absence of so many distractions, possibly, the long walks to our room, probably, meant a good chance to converse. One story which made me smile was spurred by the family name of the person behind Anne Sullivan. It’s 3 syllables and starts with Si… Son said his boss told him 3-syllable family names that have a first syllable that sounds Chinese have a story behind them. They are old families that were really Chinese until the Spaniards told them to “change” their family names or ship out. Our family name is of a similar nature, son’s boss conjectured. But the story doesn’t end her. Son related how his foreign contacts at work by virtue of son’s family name in written communication always think he’s Spanish. They are surprised when they finally meet – my son they then think is Chinese. Well he does have Chinese blood courtesy of me. He does have some Spanish blood courtesy of husband. But alas, he said, he could speak neither race’s language.
Hardly slept last night because son wanted to leave early for DFA. His schedule for renewing his passport was 8:30. We left the house at 6:30 a.m. and by 7:15 we were in DFA Aseana. Sans breakfast. SOn joined the throngs of people, husband and I proceeded to Pancake House in Blue Wave. The personnel there are so nice, smiling sincerely and eager to serve. Management must be good at motivating them?
By 8 son was “complaining” saying there were so many people. I asked if he wanted to abort mission. He said he would just persevere. By 8:30, things started to move. AT 10:30 he was done. By then we were in S&R which is right beside DFA. So many nice things to buy. But as it was just husband and I shopping, I couldn’t browse too much nor too long. S&R Aseana seems more restful, less frenetic than Global City’s. If only it were nearer….
Before leaving S&R suggested that son take something: a slice of pizza and Coke Zero, he chose. Then some errands, the last of which was here. That is, we stopped here after having a document notarized in the office of Atty Romeo Cruz. Guess where? Son treated us to isaw and fish balls. Or maybe he treated me – husband isn’t into these things:
Free plugging: if you need a notary public, a legit one who doesn’t charge an arm and a leg but is very dedicated and professional, go to UP’s Atty Romeo Cruz. Near Bahay ng Alumni. There were lots of people, he had maybe 3 assistants, but things proceeded smoothly. I didn’t see him, just heard him. Like Charlie of Charlie’s Angels, I thought.