August 20, 2004

Away From the Maddening Crowd

Last Sunday was hell incarnate. After the wonderful mass in Malate, I dropped by Robinson's Place to check on new books from National, bargains at Booksale and new films from Astrovision. As soon as I entered the mall's cavernous maw, I was shocked to see the entire population of the Philippines crammed into just one space. I forgot! It was a three-day sale scheduled on a 15th of the month. Aaaargh!! The Mokongweis must be cackling in their beds dreaming of another killing (profit-wise, not kidnap-wise) to make.

The seething mass of humanity inside broke that law of nature which says "no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time." It was an elbow-to-elbow experience. Well, such occurences should not surprise us here anymore. We have become New Yorkers of sort- jaded and cynical.

So I walked to Booksale to check if they have some med reviewers (Geez, they really milk every peso from their already 2nd hand rejects) but unfortunately, there was none. I then decided to browse through their back issues to see if they have some good mags like Scientific American or Discovery but there were only the teen mags, cigar afficionado mags, food&wine and mags about Harly-Davidsons. I didn't know car magazines have a swimsuit issue. Ha-ha! Anyways, the crowd was really really thick. A claustrophobe's nightmare. I can smell the BO (like rancid butter) of a balding caucasian sex-tourist behind me perusing some Reader's Digests. I gave up. If I decide to stay just so I can read some of the pickings there (like those cool architectural coffee table books) for like an hour, then I have to go back some other time. That way, I don't have to stay in one corner like a trapped rat. Have to get out!

The Adriatico wing was like deja vu... hmmm... Schindler's List? Kind of. It was so surreal. The right corridor was filled with people going inside the mall while the left side was filled with people going to the exit door. Even if some stopped to look inside the bargain bins lined against the stores, it was still as if two parallel rivers of humanity tried to outspeed eachother. And with that, I went to the other river and decided to swim back to the entrance. Astrovision can wait another day. Perhaps if they turned off the aircon, then the so-called river will probably turn into a deluge- a deluge of sweat, grime and BO.

Feeling a bit nauseated by the fact that such density was impenetrable, I headed back home empty-handed and unsatisfied. Well, Mokongwei's leader, the great Mao Zedong, once said, "Take one step backward to advance two steps forward." For that, I call it a day.

No comments: