There's disassociation, and then there's dissociation

"You mean," I told myself, "Taylor Swift is five eleven?"

It is a bit surprising to find out that she actually stands an inch shy of six feet. Not that I'm being dismissive of women in general, but we've all seen her photos, and we've all heard her songs, and you get the idea that she's this cute little thing who can hit the guitar and write mean songs at a really young age. Or perhaps there's that, the fact that she is really young. A year younger than me, I think, and yet she's waaay out there, and the thought of that makes someone desk-bound like me cringe. I'm twenty, and I can't be bothered to learn the guitar.

I was flicking through the back issue of Q - a hundred bucks for something half a year old ain't bad, really - and there I was, surrounded again by all of those ideas, or at least all of those artists I peg for listening but forget to. There weren't that many references to things that you could be (and they always find their way in anything I buy), but it being a glossy British music magazine, it'll strike you soon, not the least the Lily Allen cover. You think her songs are accessible, and yet there she was, almost being photographed with tigers, because obviously they wouldn't let the animals near anyone. Classy cover, but still, up there. You know what I mean.

My feelings of inferiority has yet to creep in, but I guess everyone's felt that other people are far superior than you even if you should, in theory, share the same things. I'm not alone on this, right? I thought so. I mean, I was flicking through books at Fully Booked yesterday - before I bought that Lily Allen cover - and there was a woman beside me, maybe around five years older, who smelled like bad cigarettes. But it seemed she's the type who could get away with it by looking pretty hip, with the off-shoulder top (and her bra strap peeking), the oversized handbag and the short shorts. Me, I was browsing the same shelf and I felt like a walking sweaty armpit.

Maybe it's the matter of me being eternally stuck in the middle. It sucks being in the middle. It seems that you can't afford to drop a batch, but you can't move up either. Nothing really fits you. Inside the bookstore I was surrounded by vinyl records, Sean Hannity's books (and no, I'm not a conservative, but at least he's no crybaby), Buddhist monks, passionate Twi-hards, skateboarders, pet owners, cupcake lovers, the sort of people who'll pick up a "Philippine-exclusive" compilation of Scandinavian indie pop that Alyssa's probably downloaded already - that crowd who you know you'll never really understand, much more fit into, without raising eyebrows. And then, right across the street, there's Market! Market!, and the crowd changes completely.

What else do you expect from Bonifacio High Street anyway?

It's inevitable, really, the feeling that all along, you're not part of anything really significant, or actually, anything that you aspire to be. Somewhere in the back of your head you want to be something, and always, someone's beat you to it. When you're there, you always want to punch further above your weight, and someone's beat you to it. I remember asking on Twitter whether they are genuinely happy with how their lives turned out at the moment, and I was surprised that someone - Issa - answered that she is. I don't know what that exactly means, but for the rest of us, there's still a lot of trying left to do.

My effort to, I don't know, be at par, at least subconsciously, with other people came at a price. There was that magazine, and then there was this book on Woodward and Bernstein that's around P800, which I figured I'd read when I'm on the plane to Singapore later this year, again. And then there's David Sedaris, the author which I discovered when Liz observed that we share the same writing style (but, as she wryly put it, not the same sense of humor; I agree). Same purposes. That's a thousand bucks off my barely-there paycheck.

But my sister failed to buy The Time Traveler's Wife on the back of Les' observation that a lot of new copies dropped on the bookstore a week ago. She failed to get a reservation, and apparently, they sold out the day before we went there. So much for me telling Agnes that it's there. Back to the witch hunt, it seems, and back to our attempts to impress people, or at least look good. The irreversible effects of falling in love and getting it wrong.

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