9/17/2010
Single seeing double

Hey there, Gwen.

Have you ever struggled with carrying a tray full of food from a stall in a food court, navigating the space with lots of people, and getting to your table safe and sound? Have you ever tried doing it alone - which means you have to navigate the space, already loaded with lots of people, while looking for an empty table to settle into? Yes, exactly.

I'm used to that - I've told you many times before, I have lunch alone - but today was particularly hard. The stall I ordered food from had run out of those combo plates, so my meal came in three separate plates rather than one. Throw in my utensils, a plastic cup full of iced tea and a larger-than-usual bowl of beef broth, and you can imagine how slightly scared I was.

I managed, obviously. I had to look for a table, but since I eat lunch at past one in the afternoon - well, I eat lunch that late to avoid the lunch crowd. While it hasn't exactly dissipated at the stalls, it has at the tables, and finding an empty table was easier. So far, so good.

Well, not really. And no, I did not spill my iced tea on my soup, or on my bowl of smoky sauteed munggo. (Mung beans, whatever.) But for a while I thought I might lose my composure, when I found myself closing in on a table, and finding myself staring at a girl nearby.

Yes, this story is incredibly pathetic, yes, yes.

Now, the girl was seated alone in one of those big tables, the ones clearly made for four, as opposed to my table, which was half its size but made to seat four anyway. She was wearing this white top, and she was busy texting with her clamshell phone. Her hair was black and straight - well, not that straight, maybe a little frizzy. And it wasn't that long - maybe up to the bra line. (What's a cleaner way of describing hair that's in between shoulder-long and waist-long?) She had bangs. She had small eyes, and she had a round face. Not as round as you think, mind you. She's taller.

What's pathetic about this is the way I gathered all that information in the three seconds she was in my sights. And for some reason, that stayed stuck when I sat down on my table - a couple of rows away from her's or something - and consciously decided to sit where I can't see her. Well, not exactly, because I saw some guy approach the table with a tray of chicken plates and drinks, wearing a black shirt and black-framed glasses. I figure he was her boyfriend.

I enjoyed my meal, thank you very much. If you ever drop by Ortigas you should drop by. Balay Ilocos doesn't just serve Ilocano food: it serves home-cooked comfort food. I still don't know what they put in their munggo, though. They don't have it often but, man, it's good.

And your responses...

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