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Sunday, 19 September 2010

My bittersweet Saturday

My (un)frugal stats for today:

1 - Lunch reception for ex-classmate's Wedding, angpow = RM180.00.
2 - Toll to get to wedding: RM1.60 + RM1.60 = RM3.20
3 - Toll after leaving wedding: RM1.60
4 - Parking @ Sunw_y Pyr_mid: RM4.00
5 - Light snacks @ W_ndy's: RM15.60
6 - Movie tickets: RM32.00
7 - Toll after leaving Sunw_y Pyr_mid: RM1.60
8 - Light dinner @ OTWC: RM23.90
9 - Toll for journey home: RM1.60

Total expenditure not incl. petrol: RM263.50

Today is a bittersweet day. She came to pick me up from the workplace, where I was lazily pushing some of the neglected files along. We arrived at my friend's wedding reception, and took some pictures. It was a typical Chinese wedding in a typical Chinese restaurant, complete with emcee and shouts of "yaaaaam... seng!" Photo books were displayed at the entrance. I tried to speak with my girlfriend, and I thanked her to making up with me yesterday. She didn't like to discuss the topic, so I ventured into non-sensitive topics.

During lunch, she looked at me and remarked again, "You know, I am not kidding with you when I tell you that there are guys chasing me. Even now. Do you know that there are guys who offer me iPhone and new laptop? I didn't accept their gifts. I know that some girls will accept gifts from their admirers even though they do not accept their love. But to me this is wrong. Or," she asked me cheekily, "do you think you want me to accept the iPhone? Then I can save you some money!" I shook my head and smiled. What else could I say? "Yes, I know that they are more loaded than me and better looking than me. Yes?" She said, "You know, I just told you that so that you know I am not without admirers. I have people but I chose to stick with you." After that, some banal talk set in when my client called me.

A few minutes later I stepped back into the wedding, and she said, "You know what, I just want to say that I choose you... You don't have to wait one month. I know that I'll choose you." I was gladdened to hear that, my heart jumped for joy. The next moment it came crashing down again. "No, I think I better not decide to make it one month," she said. "Who knows? Maybe you'll go disappearing again on weekends and tell me to come to office to help you. You know, I was disappointed, when I told you that my sister was getting married and we have things to do at home.... you asked me to come help you at office if I was free. Did you really think that I would be free?" I shook my head. I know that it was my bad, my fault, for working on overdrive that particular weekend.

The wedding went fine. We took pictures with the happy couple, and a little unusual incident took place: the photographer asked us to use our low-end camera to take a picture of the happy couple. Then he shot us taking a shot of the happy couple! A picture of someone taking your picture, with a focus on the viewfinder of the crappy low-end camera. One of the funny moments of the wedding video was the husband reading out a list of demands before claiming his bride. "I promise to leave work on time! I promise to eat meals on time. I promise to bring my wife to ... what's this ..... Egypt for holiday! I promise to give her anniversary gift not less than RM5,000 in value.... etc etc etc. If agree PLEASE SIGN. Aiya... This is a trap! Must beware! Uhm.... I have no choice!!! Where do I sign?" The crowd laughed at it. My girlfriend laughed too, and she looked lovely when she does that. I wondered how many more opportunities I would have to see her happy laughter. She looked at me and said, "I want a list like that too! I want an S9 or a G11 next year." I smiled and promised that I would try my best.

Her friend called during the wedding. She mentioned something about a discussion meeting for the trip to Taiwan, and told her friend that she was attending a wedding -- she wouldn't be able to make it. Then she told her friend there was a slight change of plans, because I would be joining. "What were the dates?" she asked me. She wanted me to join their itinery. I said that it was OK, I would find my own thing, we could meet up at the airport. She glared at me and said that I would either join the itinery or not go at all! Hmm.... I told her that I would join. "Very good," she said. "What were you thinking of doing, if you don't join us? Were you thinking of meeting some girls there ah?" "No la," I told her. "I was thinking that I want to look up some companies that I can network with. You know, try to have some kind of co-operation." "Work again!" she remarked unhappily. "Luckily you will join us now. Don't forget to prepare the money ya, about RM5,000/= for your expenses and mine as well. Borrow from your parents if you have to." I told her that I would try to find the money. She looked at me again, and said rather casually, "Do you know, last year a guy offered to take me to Maldives for holiday? He wanted to bear all my expenses. You're very lucky that I turned him down." "Oh really?" I said. "Yes, really. I didn't think that I needed to tell you this, back then. But now I think I should. So that you know I'm not without admirers!!" Grrrr. The nerve of that disrespectful bugger. Especially when it's apparent that a lady isn't available (although she may be single), it's akin to poaching! I wondered at the economic factors of cuckoos surreptitiously placing their eggs into other birds' nests: it's called brood parasitism. Here's a semi-lighthearted passage on the thought:
A cuckoo egg usually closely mimics the eggs of the host (one of whose eggs is often removed by the cuckoo). The host may recognize the intruding egg and abandon the nest, or it may incubate and hatch the cuckoo egg. Shortly after hatching, the young European Cuckoo, using a scoop-like depression on its back, instinctively shoves over the edge of the nest any solid object that it contacts. With the disappearance of their eggs and rightful young, the foster parents are free to devote all of their care to the young cuckoo. Frequently this is an awesome task, since the cuckoo chick often grows much larger than the host adults long before it can care for itself. One of the tragicomic scenes in nature is a pair of small foster parents working like Sisyphus to keep up with the voracious appetite of an outsized young cuckoo.

Back to her telephone conversation with her friend, she said to her friend that the ex-boyfriend (of her friend) had called her again last night, and they had spoken. The ex-boyfriend joked with her and asked if anything had happened with "Maple", someone that I remember they had joked about before -- would I mind if there was a lesbian interested in my girlfriend? (I had treated it as a joke and said, "It's OK if it's just friends. But not OK if more than friends.") Apparently there was some conflict that the ex-boyfriend had with some bad hats, and following my girlfriend's advice -- the problems were solved. Something like that. Then she mentioned, "Oh ya la, suddenly ah? No la, I told him the truth, now he feels worried." I knew that it was me that she was talking about, and she was damned right that I felt more than a little worried. Lucky for me she said that she was giving me a chance.

Later we left the place. She drove, and just as things seemed fine, she asked me about driving my car. She asked, "Why is it that you don't allow me to drive your car?" I wondered where it was going. I said that my car is a little different to drive, you need to step on the brake and then you need to push down the gear knob in order to change gears.  She said, again rather casually, "You know, I asked that because my friend let me drive his car." "A guy friend?" I asked. "Yes, a guy friend. And his car wasn't a cheap car. I'm just letting you know, that if other people can let me drive their car, I don't know what the problem is that you cannot let me drive your car." I felt weak. "OK, if you want to drive my car then you drive my car." "No, really, I mean it, why can someone else let me..." "OK," I said. "If you want to drive my car then you drive my car. OK?" "OK," she said.

We arrived at the mall, and then we had some light snacks at W_ndy's. She loved the cheesy taste of it; I must remember it. We then watched a movie about zombies and the people who kill them. During the movie, she looked at me and said, "You know, I never meant to make you jealous. If you want, we can go back to the way things were; I would keep things away from you, and you can go on with peace of mind." I told her, "Thank you, for telling me about the things that you did. I appreciate it. But I'm not jealous, really jealous, just that I imagine things ... because you don't tell me enough." "Really," she mused. "Like what?" "Like, I was wondering in what circumstances did your friend allow you to drive the car? Was it very far? Did you drive outstation?" "No, it wasn't outstation... it wasn't very far." "I had imagined that you had gone on a one-to-one with him, outstation..." "No, it wasn't a one-to-one... there were other people there. Just that, he allowed me to drive his car." "I see.... Thanks for letting me know. So now I know that you didn't do anything wrong.." "Of course I didn't do anything wrong." "Erm... and one more thing, this iPhone offer... was it recently?" "Yes, of course."

I was probably going nuts, because she had given me a timeline of one month. I looked at her countless times today wondering whether she had already made up her mind to dump me after this one month. I kept thinking, "Perhaps this would be the last time that we...." She looked at me rather happily and said, "It's been a long time since you looked at me like that. Wah, when people are chasing me then only you realise how precious I am to you!" "No la, it's rather dark in the cinema, so of course I had to look a little closer at you." "Just that?" "Just that, but I found that you're rather nice to look at.... You're pretty today." "Ha... only today?" Sigh...

My dad called me during our walk. He had grown concerned that I had neglected her over the past few weeks of furiously working on my cases. He had told me to take her out, spend time with her .... avoid the mistake of so many men before me. When he called, I just told him that I was out with my girlfriend, and we were watching a movie. He approved. Then I hung up, and she asked, "Who was that?" "My dad." "What was it about?" "Oh, nothing." "Nothing?! It can't be nothing, he must be asking you to work again. Can't we even have our own time on weekends?" "No," I reassured her, "it's not that. He called to ask what I'm doing, and he approved of it." "Really? Your dad calling just to find out where you are? I haven't heard of this before?" "I assure you, it's the truth. Besides," I remarked, "I never asked about the telephone calls you get and the messages you keep sending out. Why do you want to ask about this one little call?" She exploded mildly. "How can you compare your dad's telephone call with my personal calls? So now you want to compare with me? You want to find fault with me?" "No," I blurted, "I am not trying to compare. Just mentioning it." "No, you can't compare..." "I wasn't comparing," I said, "just making a remark. Forget about it, come let's go."

We had a light dinner in OTWC, sharing a plate of nasi lemak and a set of kaya/butter toast. There wasn't much else to talk about. Then I asked her about fortune tellers: Had she ever gone to see a fortune teller before? She said that she hadn't purposely gone to see any one, but there was one fortune teller who had told her that nobody would like her in her lifetime. She would have no friends. "That's crazy!" she interjected. "Can't he see that I have so many friends, so he must be lying." "Oh, who's that dude?" "There, the middle-aged guy I told you before that wanted to open a salon for me and give me a condominium.. and ask me to be his second wife." "Oh, that one. So do you believe in fortune tellers?" "No!" she said, "simply because if they say something good then perhaps you will be motivated to make it come true, and if they say something bad then you lose your motivation and your efforts will fail." "Oh, like that."

I looked at her again, and again, today. I knew that she was an attractive young lady, with some serious character flaws: desire to control relationships, unwilling to subject herself to higher authorities, an exceeding self-confidence that translated into wilful ignorance of certain advice, the feeling that she was always right, and her personal pride. In addition to that she has a bubbly personality, is able to carry on a conversation with the most difficult people (whenever she makes an effort to do so), is a veteran clubbing kaki and can hold a drink better than many a man. I knew that men would find women like her exciting and opinionated, and sexy. But not many would be able to bear with her for the long run, because even if they were earning big dollars then they might have strong personalities, which will clash with hers. Somebody would have to give way, and it wouldn't always be her. She told me wilfully that she wasn't going to convert to Christianity, and she found it annoying that I asked her to attend church from time to time. Secretly, I was happy because talking about religion meant moving away from the immediate flaws and speaking about long-term factors in our relationship. I think that our relationship will last beyond this one month, it's just that I also need to know whether it will last beyond the Taiwan trip? She may feel bad about dumping me knowing that we will cross paths again in Taiwan, so she may have decided to hold off dumping me until after the trip -- effectively also securing for herself an "ATM machine" (in her own words) for the shopping spree scheduled for the last few days of the trip. (The first 7 days would be spent traipsing around the country from county to county, seeing sights as sightseers often do.) She was also delighted that I had bought a 10kg package for my luggage, so that she could borrow my bag to haul her shopping heft.

Thank you Taiwan, for saving my relationship.