Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Sad Ping Pong Queen Vol 5.

Hi all!


Again the warning: if you dun understand the title, please read the whole series as they are all part of a running story. Apart from vol. 1, 2-4 are all consecutive entries. Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4.


As promised, here's the newest installation.


The morning started off busily with me cramping the keyboards away for a memo update, and reading blogs at the same time. So imagine the back of my hair standing up when I heard a small voice from the left ear drowning out all the office noises of hard workers.


‘AKK, can I ask you a question?’


PPQ had pasted her face close to my left cheek, which totally freaked me out. Firstly because I was lost in work and secondly because I suspect she was reading my monitor.


Thankfully, I had the outlook to cover the blog sites. I faked a large stretch that made her face shy away and asked loudly and within earshot of everyone, ‘Yes? How may I be of assistance?’ There was the hope that she would change her secretive question with a more mundane one, since my Life is definitely too short to cater to her cloud-nine or hell-eighteen emotional status right now.

But I guess PPQ is not much of a subtle thinker. In fact, I now swear that while she’s academically woo-hoo, she’s ZERO brain cells in emotional quotient and social etiquette. When the question came, it was a shocker.



‘AKK, does LK have your handphone number?’



The question was tentative and yet, I could spot a slight accusatory tone mangling the innocent sentence into something derogatory and insulting. My temper started rising. Because of the security access required to enter our block, anyone coming in had to call the center for help, usually the technician that provides the service. Since LK had failed to reach me to get him in, he then called PPQ to allow him access. As I’ve left my HP on my desk while I went to the restroom, she must have seen it vibrating and blinking away just before LK called her.



Bloody Hell……


‘Why do you ask?’ What I really wanted to say was: What business is it to you?


‘Nothing. Just asking.’ For the rest of the day, I would receive this lame phrase for the other questions she’ll randomly throw at me. But I see her eyes grew concerned at my answer.


Blow this for a lark. I’m not up for a fight this early in the morning and I’ve plenty to do. So I told the truth, which was, ‘My office number is directed to my handphone, any client will get my HP blinking.’


Apparently satisfied, she turned back to her work while I hastened my own so I can attend to LK, who was using my machine 3 rooms away.


The whole morning was spent in relative peace till we broke for lunch. LK took the first half of his data back, promising to return after lunch to continue. On my side, I heaved a sigh of relief that PPQ was busy with her own work and did not linger outside the lab door. Perhaps the whole day will pass uneventfully.


I should have known better. As I escorted LK down the corridor out of the building, I saw the whole bunch of my colleagues crowding it, all ready for lunch. LK said Hi to PPQ and everyone along the corridor before stepping out. As I said, he really is a very friendly person. Since no one knew this guy was the date of PPQ, I stayed silent and let him out quietly.



Once the door closed, I turned and walked back to a tittering crowd.


Then I heard PPQ’s voice wafting through.


‘Yup! Yes! He’s the one! That’s my date! Isn’t he cute?’



Oh brother… Now the whole world could put a face to PPQ’s joy. On and on, the phrase ‘Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched’ went through my head again.


During lunch, PPQ took center-stage again. Another guy from the relationship seminar had asked her out, so she happily told anyone willing to listen. On my part, I’m beginning to suspect that she’s either having a much too-low-self-esteem that she couldn’t believe such ‘peach-flower-luck’ could strike her twice, or she having such a high self-esteem she thinks she’s got it made just because she had dates.


While I was silently munching away on my noodles, one of my favourite colleagues elbowed me.


‘I know exactly what you are thinking,’ she whispered.


‘Really? Like how?’ I answered morosely, wandering how the whole thing had got out of hand.


‘She was worse when she broke of with the first and second boyfriends. I was her shoulder to cry on.’


‘I really don’t know what she’s doing, you know, it’s a huge big hoo-ha now. What if people just want to be friends first? It’s like eating the batter before the cake is baked, eventually she’ll complain that she couldn’t eat the cake in the end…’


’Well, for PPQ, you need to understand that she doesn’t have guy friends. Guys are to her avenues for boyfriend- or husband-hood. Did you know what she thinks about us single gals in the office?’


‘What?’ Eyes big big, I was aghast that PPQ had opinions about singlehood status and made it known to the singles. Colleague Jill is currently in her 30s but happily and fulfillingly single. She’s my favourite because she’s always logical and calm in the face of the younger, crazier colleagues. To think that anyone would use her first as a comfort pillow, and yet insult her is hard to understand.


‘What what? Say say!’


‘Well, for one thing, she thinks there’s something wrong and incomplete about us. She thinks that in order to be whole, we need a guy.’


‘Oh God….’ I exclaimed, soaking up the office currents.


‘That’s why she’s so adamant about getting a guy. She’s barely single for a month and she’s on the high radar already. Probably also why she’s so anxious that these guys should be the answer to her loneliness.’



‘So…essentially, ‘ I said slowly. ‘She doesn’t want to end up like you or the others…She thinks you gals are losers…’’


‘Exactly!’ She beamed.


‘That’s mean!’


‘Yup, but you can’t change what a person truly feels.’


‘How come you never told me?’


‘I hardly think it’s a proper office conversation.’



I am sick in the stomach. That’s what PPQ was on the insides. She sounded like an absolute bumpkin who’s never had her horizons widened. This girl has got TUNNEL vision. Were she born during the old days, she’ll probably cheer the loudest should an adulterous pair be tried at the village square and drowned in the river.


She sounds like she never grew up and never adapted. Men, to her, are a means to an end. Like a status symbol.


Sitting across Jill, I was glad I did not mention this after-hour servicing to anyone in the office. My survival instincts must have clearly heard the call of the Wild (probably PPQ again). Because eventually LK and I did do dinner together, although a dinner of packed rice across the large table in the meeting room, which is vacated every 15 minutes to check the machine, is hardly what anyone would call a ‘date’, more like a necessity. Even then, I felt it’d be murder to leak this tidbit out to PPQ.


‘So how was the date?’ I asked casually.


‘Great! Had a lot of fun!’


‘Hmm…Is it all fun and nothing else?’


LK leaned back in his chair and stretched nonchalantly. ‘Should there be anything else?’



‘I mean, don’t the flowers and the musicians mean anything?’



He slammed the chair back onto its four legs. ‘My goodness, she told you that?’



‘That and more, my man.’


‘Ow…. I was hoping the whole thing would be a bit more discreet.’


I thought about how the whole department now knows who he is and what he did and how they met and felt sorry for him.


‘The flowers were just because it’s a date. It’s just something I do.’ He said defensively. ‘The musicians didn’t require any planning, I just waved a hand over and they came. And while I may or may not be interested, what’s wrong with knowing each other better first?’


I nodded. It was as I suspected. LK really was just built this way. Earlier when I escorted him back in, he ended up talking to the cleaning lady who was in the same elevator as us. By the time we reached our floor, he knows her name, how many kids she had and how her bad back ached on rainy days.



When the whole session ended at a timely 9.30pm, he whipped out a plastic bag and flourished it at me. I took it and looked inside. It was a large bag of mixed chocolates from Chocolate Heaven. I almost flung it back at him. His connection to PPQ is making me wary accepting anything from him or treating him any better.


‘What’s this for?’ I asked suspiciously.


‘Ta-daa! Happy belated Birthday!’


‘Eh? How did you know?’


‘You told me.’ He looked wounded.


‘I did?’ Arrgghh….kopi and chocolates….this guy does his homework well….


‘Yes lah!’ he huffed. ‘During our last scanning, your hubby asked you if you were free for a dinner reservation on your birthday and you said OK, then when you put the phone down, you told me.’


‘Oh…. Thanks but I really needed to tell you that I can’t accept gifts from my clients.’


He sighed. ‘I’m treating you as a friend right now and showing you my appreciation of your bending the rules for me. Even if you don’t accept this gift as a real present, then take it as a treat for the whole department.’

‘Hmmm…’ I considered. He had a point. Somewhere along the way, we had become friends. It is really quite idiotic to pretend otherwise. And while I have misgivings, there’s absolutely nothing to hide, especially from PPQ. There’s nothing I owe her.


‘OK, thank you very much. I shall share it with my colleagues in the pantry. As a friend, I’ll regard it as a birthday gift, but you’ll have to understand that I’ll say it’s meant for everyone.’


He broke into a smile. ‘So long as you know, it’s fine with me.’


‘I do. Thanks again.’ I led him out of the facility.


As I watched him walk off, I recalled what I said to PPQ just before she left for the day when she came and asked me, ‘Do you think I should have told so many people about LK?’



To which I replied rather archly, ‘What do you think? While you may not value your own privacy, don’t you think as a friend, you should value his?’



Eyes shuttered, she looked thoughfully at me and walked away. I have a bad feeling about the whole bloody thing….



Out!

AKK

10 comments:

zhe bin said...

There's nothing you did wrong. Even feeling sorry for her when she regarded her ex as striking gold is not wrong.

Just that like you said, she hasn't been someone who's "been around", so yeah, that's why to her guys - and having a guy - are just a status quo. She'll slowly know lah.

Only now it's you who have to deal with listening to her making a big hoo-ha about her new dates and at the same time feeling a need to "defend" a friend's privacy/reputation without being seen as too defensive.

Must be very hard on you right. But, you know, there are stuffs that you can do (which are privileges married couples have) that can make you forget everything. ;)

Ang Ku Kueh said...

i know i din do anything wrong. but sometimes u really have to see what others may be thinking. I can assuredly tell you that my married status does not do a thing to put me under a saintly light. in fact, i was wondering that there may be idiots out there who would love to hinge on this and say that I'm trying to ruin their 'blossoming' and become even more bu-yao-lian since I'm married.

Shun Kueh said...

I think PPQ's going to be disappointed. I can almost hear her heart cracking ... ping ping piang piang ....
But I'm enjoying your PPQ series... more frequent updates pls!

Ensui said...

This is turning into quite a soap opera, The Sad Ping Pong Queen Series.

I do agree with Zhe Bin that you did nothing wrong, although i also understand your reply. There will always be idiots out there who would try and create a big-hoo-ha over it.

All i can say, is to be on your guard and constantly show/emphasis that there's nothing between you and LK. :p

Ang Ku Kueh said...

shun kueh:

i dunno leh, but i would say that if her heart broke, it's cos she did it to herself, no? she's making a mountain out of a molehill.

ensui:

i know you are right. but the guard part about nothing between the 2 of us? honestly, we regard each other as friends, so it would be very childish to say there's really nothing. but saying it will let other childish ppl think more than they should. I for one, will always go for truth and a white lie. because I din do anything wrong.

Tempest Blue said...

Ok, I'm addicted to this soap opera now! Pfwah. Better than Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty!


Hmm. I dunno man, as a guy, I'd be horrified if I knew that the girl I was dating was like PPQ. The way you describe her, she's like a sticky tape on your latex lab gloves!

Sibeh Sian said...

I just finished reading the entire on-going PPQ series :)!

You are in a sibeh sian situation :P

Anonymous said...

hello there! it's anon again.

hm - I take back what I said earlier, about how this reminds me of me when I was younger. To your earlier question, no, none of my friends told me off - but then again, most of the guys I might have 'fantasised' about, we did eventually go out, so it wasn't a bad thing.

She's not being incredibly tactful about her date huh? having said that though, I think he's being slightly OTT, don't you think? The flowers? The musicians (albeit, they were there already)? Frankly, if anyone did that, I'd be more freaked out than flattered (maybe it's me being an old smug married now!?!)

anyway, great reading about this - do keep up the updating!

ah fatt's fan said...

PPQ is simply blind.........

Ang Ku Kueh said...

tempest:

very apt, man! very apt!

sbs:

*chortle* hell yea!


anon:

wahhhh....u must be very attractive. I've got a lot of blog frens here wo must be attuned to your comments rite now, esp after saying u dated all the guys you fancied....haiz...too bad about the married part.... have to tell them to all go get cold shower liao.


ah fatt's fan:


blind...to who and what? hmmm....