Fun Lunch with Old Friends


First week of Feb 2014 saw my high school batchmates celebrating our ruby year. But as joining them requires so many logistics plus the fact that son was flying out that weekend, I opted not to join the celebration.

To make up for it and to hear as many stories of the event as possible, I told a friend (who was sure to go to the celebration) weeks before that we should get together for lunch soon after. She and I asked some other classmates to join us for said lunch and while the number was 14 confirmed as of Friday, by Saturday, two had backed out for health reasons: one, her own; the other, her husband’s.

Venue: Ninyo’s in 66 Esteban Abada, Loyola Heights, QC because it is good and has never let me down. Those I’ve brought to Ninyo always swoon because the place is impressive, for one; and for another, the food is great.

I had asked that we start at 11 but as it was the day after Valentine’s, Ninyo asked if we could set the lunch a little later – 11:30 would be fine, they said. I arrived before then and was so happy when I saw how they set up our table, several tables, actually: Image

The menu I ordered:

Image

I have a reason for my choosing to order a set meal for each one. I knew everyone would want to be together a long time. Having each one just order one dish would have been a very quick lunch. Having everyone share different dishes across a long table would have been unwieldy. Choosing a set menu of several parts would be ideal, I thought and it turned out to be so.

A little past 11:30, my neighbor classmate arrived, then another from Pasig, two from Paranaque and Makati, etc. And finally there were 11 of us. Even before I had left home, one had sent a message she couldn’t come; another said through one of the classmates her back was bothering her. So where was the 12th? And who was she? She has been the class’s Greta Garbo of sorts, its Thomas Pynchon’s. Earlier she had texted she would be late, would that be all right, she asked. I said fine, but be sure to come. We had begun eating when she texted again. She was just about to leave Makati to fulfill mommy duties. I told those near me that I had a surprise for them. They came up with names I merely smiled. But two of them after mentioning GG’s name said “I’ll die if she comes.” But they didn’t when GG finally showed up, shocking and pleasantly surprising each and every one, making me smile so happily at the achievement that I hope dispelled so many stories, conjectures, etc.

having shed so many of our individual baggage, it was fun admitting to our various health issues – asthma of the skin, recurring coughs due to allergy, failing memories. The last arrival said she had just read that morning how old people don’t really forget. It’s just a matter of “disk is full” – wait a while, I will remember. Then the allergies on the face: I shared what a batchmate had prescribed. Okay let me backtrack there.

One of our batchmates is a dermatologist. Days before the lunch, my face broke out. It was itchy and scaly in parts, red too. i was tempted to scratch. And let me backtrack further. Last Saturday, my left eye was itchy. I kept blinking – a corner was reddish. I said to myself -they’ll think I’m crying because son was leaving but really my eye was uncomfortable. Monday there was a sty developing. Not wanting to attend yesterday’s lunch so “disfigured” I asked a cousin who prescribed Tobradex. A sister shared the oral antibiotic she used as well when she was similarly afflicted. I took the minimum dosage. The stye didn’t enlarge but was visible till Thursday. Friday it was gone. As for the skin allergy, derma classmate I sent a picture too. Via FB in a private message, of course. Normally, I don’t send pictures of myself to anyone, much less a picture of myself in such a state. But I was desperate. Vain a little? Shy more like it to appear that way. She asked what I was using on my face. Okay bad girl me: shiseido for facial wash (given by a friend), Clinique moisturizer and Celeteque toner (I also have clinique which I alternate with Celeteque because Clinique toner is so expensive and I use a lot when I tone my face). She said to stop everything and use Cetaphil facial wash, Elica cream for the red patches and take Claricort for three days. She warned not too use Elica too much or for too long.

Wow, the first time I used Cetaphil, it felt so soothing. Like an embrace when one feels so low. Okay, that may be an exaggeration but you get the drift. After using Cetaphil, I thought I wouldn’t even need Elica and Claricort, except that when I looked in the mirror, there were peeling flesh still. So I did take two out of the six tablets of Claricort prescribed and applied Elica for two days. My face cleared but for a tiny, not so red spot that’s a perpetual, peripatetic presence on my face, duration wise. Happiness. So I shared what I used for my face, giving credit where it was due. As for GG, she shared that she has been using Aveene products: cleanser, toner and moisturizer.

As for our respiratory allergies, many of us concurred that Western medicine seems not to work on our coughs anymore. And at least two of us GG and I have been taking Chinese medicine, particularly Pei Pa Koa. But not only Pei Pa Koa except that we don’t know the names of the other medicines. So GG said the one with the red and white box, I said I take that too. She also has allergic rhinitis tablets, she said, in a pink (or was it blue) box. I said I have that too. to verify I asked what the tablet’s color is – white. Yes, she said that is it. And then another classmate said in lieu of Murine, she buys Chinese eye drops for her eye’s redness. We asked what the name of the medicine was. She said “it has a blue cover”. We all had a good laugh, imagining ourselves asking for these medicines in a Chinese drugstore by referring to their packaging’s color, merely. Two of us knew of the location of the Chinese drug store in V-Mall in Greenhills. Except that while I said turn right from the entrance, the other said turn left. I was puzzled. Okay, we realized she was talking of the entrance from the road, I was talking of the entrance to the mall from the Unimart side. Really amusing.

Some of those present learned that I would be celebrating my birthday soon. So she sent out her driver to get my flowers. Here it is unwrapped and in our room now, set against the blinds for the photo op(?):

Image (notice the Planter’s peanuts bottle and the inverted bottled water?)

And unknown to me or maybe Mike of Ninyo heard it, after the dessert was put on the table for the rest of them, this was put in front of me:

Image

and my classmates, friends for over 50 years, sang.

I protested that my birthday was weeks away yet but they dismissed my protestations.

It was fun, great fun. I just hope everyone had as much fun as I.

Thank you Ninyo, for making my friends and me feel special, as always. 🙂

*********

Why the references to Greta Garbo and Thomas Pynchon? Do I do a Yes magazine here? Nah, read on the two yourself in Wikipedia. 🙂

Oh, okay, here’s the thing on TP:

Media scrutiny of private life

Relatively little is known about Thomas Pynchon’s private life; he has carefully avoided contact with reporters for more than forty years. Only a few photos of him are known to exist, nearly all from his high school and college days, and his whereabouts have often remained undisclosed.

and as for GG, who doesn’t know her or of her? Of how she made herself scarce after retiring from showbiz?

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