Thursday, October 31, 2002


Running in Luneta, Several Pounds Ago Posted by Hello

At the Manila Zoo

Tito Ric With a Friend Posted by Hello

Papa in Manila Zoo

After His Bypass Operation Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Superwoman Goes to the Supermarket

Women and shoes. Women and chocolates. Women and shopping.

It doesn’t take a marketing genius to know that whenever hormones and/or emotions cloud a woman’s judgment, she usually goes out in search of a way to part with her cash or to swipe that plastic.

Most women are also prone to making drastic hairstyle decisions during these dangerous moments. Take for example the poor hair strands of Kris Aquino. I pity them, what with all those chemicals they have to contend with regularly. No wonder they’re sticking out in all directions these days.

Uh-oh. Ella left her halo somewhere.

There are, definitely, deeper and latent reasons for my behavior, but I can only share the immediate triggers to this hormone explosion. One culprit is the fact that I face Goliaths inside my head and in our office. Hitting at them with my paltry tirador has not been working so far. I went home earlier than planned today, as exhaustion got the better of me.

The little orange glow in the shape of a gasoline tank reminded me that I needed to stop at the nearest Shell station. Then my cellphone rang. It was a friend from law school, calling to ask me to be one of the two emcees at his wedding this January. Most likely this caused the greatest mood swing in the history of (wo)man. I agreed to be my friend’s Wedding Emcee, while a list of To-Do’s ran through my head. Have to meet with bride and groom to know the program. Have to prepare script with my co-emcee, whom I have never met as he’d be coming from the Bride’s Side, of course. Have to find an affordable couturier to make me a winning dress. Or should I wear a gown? Come to think of it, I’m emcee-ing another wedding this December and I don’t have anything to wear yet! This led me to the clincher: All my friends are getting married! And to the inevitable conclusion: I’ll be the last single woman of my age. Ever.

Yes, sisters, it’s that time of the month. And of the year. And of the decade.

This ushered in an avalanche of memories, most recent of which happened at our office. There are five divisions in Sandiganbayan, and each division is administratively headed by a Clerk of Court, who is always a lawyer. The colorful cast of my sitcomic life discussed yesterday how one Clerk of Court was so lucky to be able to spend one month vacationing abroad to visit her sister and nephews. She was a single lawyer and she could afford to go on that trip. I tried to stay out of the conversation and concentrated on my work in my cubicle. I couldn’t help overhearing how they proceeded to discuss that ALL the clerks of court were single women! Being the only single woman in our chamber, the conversation naturally landed on me, whom they knew was within hearing range. They said, “Si Attorney Ella kaya, someday, lalakad din mag-isa para dalawin ang mga pamangkin niya sa Sydney?” Then laughter. They were condemning me into a life of lonely singlehood. With money to spend for month-long trips abroad, to visit my siblings’ families. It could be a blissful life, but when I heard it, it sounded like a curse. I joined the laughter but stepped out of my cubicle to give everyone my scariest dagger look. It didn’t work. They all concluded, “Attorney, lumabas ka naman diyan sa cubicle mo paminsan-minsan, para makapag-asawa ka naman!” I’m soo glad I made their day!

I returned to the voluminous records on my desk and resumed trying to make heads or tails out of the arguments of the huge law firms which represented the parties in one of the cases I was reviewing. There must be more to life, I sighed.

Over at the Shell station, with the sudden urge to take control of my life overpowering me, I asked for the fullest tank of gasoline money could buy. When that didn’t satisfy me, I went to the service station and asked the mechanics to repair everything in the car that needed repairing. I scheduled Rand (the car’s name) for auto-detailing and asked the Shell-Meguiar’s team to remove all the bumps and scratches they could find. I asked for protection against rust. I also arranged for a beauty makeover for the window, the wiper, and the trunk. I made a checklist and felt empowered with what I did. I am a single woman and I won’t let it be said that I don’t know how to take care of my car. (At least while I’m the one driving my father’s car.)

It was too early to go home and sulk. I walked to the nearby mall, bomb threats notwithstanding, and began my search for a David’s Salon, determined to have a considerable length of hair chopped off. Or maybe allow myself to be convinced into coloring my hair purple. Before I could find the salon, I stumbled into something better! You see, more than Watson’s Personal Store and Ace Hardware, the one part of the mall I could spend considerable time and money on is the Supermarket. I was a woman with a mission and I trudged on into war, armed with my Visa and my Mastercard.

At first I thought only of buying personal items for my own use at home and in the office. But when I saw the aisles of merchandise calling out to me, I let loose. No one was there to stop me from buying three different kinds of shampoos! I had the freedom to buy every cookie and candy my nephews could recite from memory. As was my custom, I went through every aisle and compared prices as if my life depended on it. I bought something for everybody. I was the Consumer Queen. Packaging and promotions worked on me. I was a little hungry, a major no-no if you’re grocery-ing while dieting, so my little pushcart got heavier at every turn. I had an answer to every need – from plaque remover to fabric softener. Grocery-shopping has always been a stress-reducing experience for me. There have been many movies wherein the heroine would suddenly bump into a single, interesting male in the grocery. They would look at how similar their grocery items are, look at each other’s eyes, and have dinner afterwards. No such luck for me, who was proudly waving her single-hood at the Ever Commonwealth Supermarket. The last time I checked, hunks were not in the habit of shopping there. Of course with my mood, I wasn’t looking for a polite gentleman who would carry the grocery bags for me. I was partly looking for a hunk that had the same fascination for Nestle yogurt as I did.

When the load became too heavy for me, I stopped shopping for my lifetime supply of toiletries and paid for everything with a single swipe of a card and a signature. I knew my family and officemates would be so delighted to see what I bought for all of them! There was even a bonus for this single shopper! Ever Commonwealth Supermarket was raffling off two (2!) Toyota Corolla Altis units and I earned several raffle tickets. Back when I was a little girl, I won P200 in a raffle sponsored by Carnation Milk. My family stuck to the notion that I was lucky in raffles and I’ve signed hundreds of raffle stubs these past two decades. But I’ve never won a single peso since then. Who knows? I could be driving a brand new Altis, minus the Brad Pitt-hunk of a driver, next year. The future is so uncertain, it might as well bring in blessings such as that, my racing mind thought.

I went home proud of my purchases, yet still unsatisfied. There were some things Visa couldn’t buy. Not even Mastercard!

I probably should have been shopping for Wisdom, Perseverance, Knowledge, Endurance and Patience, but since these things were not available at that precise moment that I went on a shopping spree, I filled my shopping cart with all the earthly things I could get my hands on.

Tomorrow I shall be driving a cleaner, shinier car, thanks to Shell Service Station. I shall open a relatively-stocked cupboard and refrigerator. I shall have liquid soap and bar soap to use when I take my shower. But I guess Goliath couldn’t care less if I used Donita Rose’s shampoo and conditioner.

I just consumed a bar of chocolate that I had been craving for for a long time now. Of course I’m still tired and I still feel empty, uncertain, and even hopeless. Mastercard wasn’t lying when it advertised that it couldn’t buy priceless things, like an unwavering faith in the God who watches over me every step of the way.

Ok, I give up. Time to pray for purity of heart and mind, again, and again, and again. Lord, I don’t deserve that halo yet. Please reserve that for me until we see each other face to face.

I’ll pick up my paltry tirador and kill these Goliaths with their own swords. Doesn’t sound like a happy proposition for me.

I think what I really want is for the real David to come and kill all these Goliaths for me. My name isn’t David.

It’s Ella.