8/15/2016
Society demands

This weekend, I rediscovered Jamba Juice.

I mean, I wasn't living under a rock or anything. I just haven't had it in years. A couple of days ago, though, I decided that Shalla and I would have a couple of their drinks while watching Suicide Squad.

"Anong sa'yo?" I ask.

"Chocolate Moo'd," she answers.

"One Chocolate Moo'd, one Peanut Butter Moo'd," I say to the cashier. "Large. Um... 3G energy."

I figured we'd need to stay awake throughout the film, considering Shalla's just come off work and is pretty much operating on fumes. Unfortunately, that so-called energy boost did not save her from how terrible Suicide Squad is. Her words, not mine. I merely call it sloppy. She calls it terrible. "Nakatulog ako," she pointed out. "Twenty minutes?" And she wanted to watch it just so she can get over it. And she isn't usually fond of superhero movies.

Today, I found myself at a Jamba Juice again. I decided I wanted to have the chocolate shake this time. Shalla expressed her disapproval of the peanut butter one I ordered over the weekend, and suddenly my favorite doesn't seem to hold much power anymore.

There wasn't much of a line. There weren't that many people, actually. There's this one lady who ordered a bowl of fruit and oats, and there's this lady in the counter, seemingly frazzled because now she has two orders to fulfill. And then a third person comes in, standing by the cash register. I assume he's still choosing from the menu. Turns out, no.

"Machamp!" he yells.

His little brother - guy at the counter is roughly fifteen; guy at the tables, maybe three years younger - runs towards him.

"Machamp, look!" he tells his little brother, again, pointing at his phone.

Inevitably I am not fond of Pokémon Go. It's something popular; it is inevitable I would hate it. If my sister would have a strong reason for calling me a "hipster" despite my protestations, it would be this. I don't really know why I don't like it - but I do know that I don't like how everybody is into it. I don't feel compelled, but at the right (wrong?) time, I can really get riled up about it.

That time was last Saturday, after the movie.

Recognizing some opportunity to, I assume, bring people to their places, the malls decided to organize a lure party - two three-hour blocks on both days of the weekend, never mind that the rains were really bad. You'd see big print-outs of, I guess, Pokéstop icons, music from the original video games being blasted loudly, and around it, hundreds - I do not exaggerate, hundreds - of idiots staring down at their phones and not texting or tweeting.

"Idiots!"

I was really shouting, trusting that those idiots are too deep in their monster catching to hear me, and the rain was strong enough to drown me out.

"Idiots! If I could only push you all!"

"Sige nga," Shalla answers, clearly embarrassed and having had enough.

And that's where it ends, really. I shout empty threats and refuse to follow through, because, I guess, society demands it. Society demands that they have so much fun looking like zombies catching monsters from an augmented reality. Society demands I deal with all the doom and gloom in my head and yet not pull the trigger.

Before we finally yielded to the rain and went home, I bumped into, of all people, Claud. Yes, Claud. Just three months ago I wrote that we have never talked offline, and yet we've talked quite extensively about a few things. And then, there I was, standing like some creeper while trying to figure out if it is her browsing for water bottles. We both startled ourselves.

In a situation where you find yourself in the same nine, perhaps four, square feet as a person you've talked to for ages but never in the real world, what do you talk about?

Well, the circumstances. She was whiling out the rain. I was amazed we only met, in the strictest sense of the term, now, eleven years after I started college, eleven years after our paths first met, the sophomore dreading majors, and the frosh still amazed about everything.

Or maybe the magazines.

Or Japan, specifically, how she's going there with the family and is now covering all the possibilities by buying biscuits instead of relying on their convenience stores, which dovetails into Lucky Peach extolling the virtues of Japanese convenience stores, or something.

Or, well, Pokémon Go.

"They're like zombies," I say.

"Exactly!" she answers, before we both proceed to discussing it like mature people do: approach it from a business perspective, from someone in marketing and someone in advertising, wondering what brands get from lures. Apart from foot traffic, as she points out.

Well, I say mature. I was still riled up. I am still riled up, watching that idiot go up a cash register just to catch a four-armed monster from an augmented reality.

Society demands that, whatever I do, or not do, I am in the wrong.

And your responses...

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