These cannot be coincidences, the more I think about it.
If you are a man, imagine wearing or taking off a shirt with a long zipper all the way up from your waist to the back of your neck. Or from the low side of your hip all the up to your armpit. Whoever designed this concept and applied to the day-to-day fashion for the ladies, I wonder if practicality was something he or she had in mind. But if that makes me, as the man of the house, feel more useful morning after morning, night after night, I am not complaining.
Opening of jars, changing of light bulbs, hooking and unhooking of bras – perhaps there is a conspiracy out there to make us men more useful. One scene, in Gossip Girl, when Blair said the word ‘zip’ and Serena immediately sprung into action and helped out with the dressing in such fluidity, I could immediately relate.
This is a true story.
The problem was not without warning. At first I discovered that the buttons that called the lifts were not as responsive. At times when I pressed the button, it remained dull, and nothing happened. As if determined by some random events behind the electrical circuits, the button would light up, eventually. At random. In a modern living environment going by the observation that since this was a common problem, someone would have reported it, and hence there was no need for me to take action. Perhaps that was why this problem was escalated to a second stage.
One warm afternoon, I was back from my grocery trip. Carrying with me bags and bags of goods, I could barely walk on a leveled ground. Called for the lift but none of the button worked. I waited for a divine intervention but there was none. Strangely, the lifts went up and down under their own will. At times, a human or two got spat out of the metallic container and before I could enter, it closed its mouth. How did those able to board the lift if no one could signal it to stop at their floors?
Lack of options, I walked up the stairs, carrying the heavy bags. On my way up, I saw someone on the way down. We greeted silently and exchanged a reluctant smile that did not say much but said it all. I wonder what would happen if I was 100 years old. The stairs looked indeed daunting.
Shortly after, I needed to get out of the apartment. I attempted to call for a lift, it did not seem to work. Lifts went crazy going up and down on their own. While contemplating if I should take the stairs instead, one lift arrived at my floor. I dashed inside without much thinking. Suddenly it struck me. What made me think that I could control the lift from inside? As it closed its mouth, I felt as though I had been swallowed by a crazy lift.
Year 2000, Kevin Bacon played the character of Hollow Man. Being invisible, this fictional scientist takes full advantage of his new found ability doing stuffs that he would not be able to do, including spying on his female neighbor. Rumor says that there is a deleted rape scene too. The film prompted me to read “The Invisible Man” by H. G. Wells. Imagine what I would do if I can be invisible. Imagine what you would do. That sense of invincibility. Even if one perishes, no one knows (assuming that invisibility persists through death and beyond, which I recall according to the story, it is not the case).
The opposite of Hollow Man is not any one on the street, I think. The opposite of being invincibly invisible is being visible but no one takes notice. Like fading into the background or becoming a piece of everyday wallpaper that no one stops and takes notice.
One day, I went into a restaurant alone. The staffs were busy doing the things they did. I chose a seat in the middle of the restaurant. Still, no one attended to me. I stood up, picked up a menu nearby, returned to my seat, and started reading. Quietly contemplated on what my lunch would be, I could not help but to observe that people around me were aware of my presence but liked a piece of wallpaper, I had faded onto the background. Perhaps when the lunch hour was over, when the rest of the customers had eaten, paid, and gone, the staffs might notice someone siting in the middle of the restaurant reading a menu. And they might wonder when did I step into the restaurant in the first place. Or not.
It seems to me that the only time when we get to notice, examine, and appreciate the wallpaper is when the room is empty, newly renovated perhaps.
My memory of my primary school life has been fuzzy. Of the few fragments that I remember, there were those wooden tables that we used at school, unlike perhaps the fine furniture students use today. The surface though smooth, was uneven. You could trace the texture of the wood and you could see the little holes of various sizes scattered over the tabletop. If you had a wide imagination like I did, you would picture the surface of the table as the terrain of an unknown planet. You could even draw a map and name the craters.
In my primary school days, we used pencils and rubbers often. Instead of brushing the residue of the rubber onto the floor like I suppose every student did, I had developed this craze to bury it into the little craters on the tabletop. I would press the residue hard using the end of a pencil or my bare fingers. Soon, I was busy producing residue for the sake of filling up the holes. It took a long time to fill up all the holes, large and small. When I was done with the job, I would start to dig out the residue from one random crater and fill it up with fresh residue. And the job never ended.
Unfortunately, there is no morale to this story. I think I should have studied to become a dentist instead.
Cynthia often pokes fun at my ears. She says my ears are promiscuous. I used to buy many compact disks regularly. My favorite pastime since the day when compact disk format was made popular was to camp at record stores, staring at the nicely wrapped disks trying to decide if I should buy just one more. It was an obsession, before the time when consumers rely on listening stations and online reviews to decide if they should part their hard earned money in exchange for a forty minutes of an unknown piece of music.
I suppose there is an ounce of truth for Cynthia to choose that descriptor for my ears. I suppose if you have a few girlfriends to juggle at the same time, you probably would not have a good memory on who they are, not even their names. At times when I listen to a beautiful tune playing on the radio, I would turn to Cynthia and asked, “I think I have that song in my music collection. But I can’t recall which one it is.” Cynthia would give me a standard reply that my ears are promiscuous.
What happens to the days when we could remember the lyrics and sing along with the songs?
When I share with the people around me that my phone comes with a legally unlimited music download service, some are surprised while others cannot relate. When I walk into a record store these days, I am no longer in my usual euphoric state. The entire recent collection, I almost have it. OK, I recognize the album covers, music that I have downloaded with a click of a button. But I doubt I have listened to all. It does feel good though knowing that some albums are inside my computer’s hard disk somewhere, ready to be listened to when my ears are free.
I reckon the idea of a harem full of girls is not to sleep with all, but keep some to look at.