By invitation only

I always pass by the Shang on the way home. I always pass by the second floor atrium, where something always happens - either I see familiar faces seated on the fountain, or something as morbid as this.

More often, of course, there are the planned events. And since the Shang is not your usual mall, the events are not your usual pop-by-and-see-what's-going-on events. Sure, Ariane and I once did that, when Basil Valdez had a concert and we decided to kill time by watching from the fourth floor, already squeezed with people who don't have tickets.

That is, perhaps, the only exception to the rule. More often than not, the events held there are the really upscale kind. A choir recital, a fashion show, or the usual cocktail party, celebrating the launch of some exhibit or some film festival. Sure, I can view the art at my own choosing, but the launches are something else altogether. Once the barriers go up, you know it's for the people who supposedly worked their asses off to be considered "ridiculously well-off". Or the people who get to tag along.

Yesterday was the launch of the Taiwan Film Festival, and that meant the barriers again. Not that I mind, although weirdly there were people standing outside the barriers, watching the people inside the atrium proper
rub elbows and drink wine. People-watching? I thought. Really?

And then I remembered something that Celine tweeted a few hours prior. She said something about going to the film festival's launch. I don't know what she does for work, but she always gets to do these things.

I ended up people-watching myself.

Well, more of walking around the perimeter of the barrier, pretending to nurse what became an actual headache. (Some do say you only need to walk it off to get things cleared up.) I thought I saw her at one of the cocktail tables, chatting with other people. Turns out she was at the buffet table, getting food. It was beside the elevators, and I found myself somewhat hidden by that elevator, looking at the gap, and seeing her laugh a bit. I thought I'd call her, but I'd look stupid, and I realized whatever I impulsively did would be totally inappopriate to the event.

That was perhaps one of the saddest thoughts I ever hatched.

While waiting for whoever else will show up on our block reunion, my conversation with Jackie and John drifted towards our options after graduation. Well, it's been two years since we graduated, but we still have our options, right? John's hoping to take post-graduate studies, if I remember correctly. Jackie, of course, is already taking up her masters in Taipei. I didn't have any immediate plans - I felt if that happens I should be paying for it - but if I do pursue further studies, I thought I should veer away from communications. Seems I was struck by what Jackie said: "gusto ko nga sana kumuha ng international marketing after this."

I flick through magazines and see the same old names, doing many things for many masters, because apparently that's the only way to really survive if you decide to pursue writing. Maybe surviving, in this case, means being able to afford a laptop, a car, and several cocktails a month - but not a love life.

I look at Celine and realize that my idea of success is terribly off the mark.

I also realize that there's no way I could change that idea of success. I guess I'm predisposed to it. Maybe I really have to move away from my original "plans" - well, I don't have any plans, so to rephrase that, maybe I really have to move away from my pipe dreams (Jeany, thank you) and start doing anything to be comfortable. To be successful, relatively. Right now, I don't think I'll make it.

And your responses...

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