Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Sad Ping Pong Queen Vol. 12

EDIT: The link was faulty, thanks to Desparate Addict for pointing it out. Solved liao, the link is actually about this male colleague that I was slightly crushing becuase of his lovely voice (point 4)

Hi all!

I sure bet you guys are surprised that there is another PPQ entry after the whole fiasco. Well, me too! But this time, it ain’t connected to LK liao and is just an episode by itself (I hope), otherwise the whole world should just end right about now.

The night was young when we gathered at the Balcony. The whole office was out to celebrate their performance bonus and also as a belated birthday treat to that cute Scottish guy (close to 50) whom I’d earlier talked about.

The Balcony had a great d├ęcor, which is the only thing I like about the place. The drinks were over-priced and horrors of horros, they did not have Frangelico, something I had come to accept as the rule of thumb that all ‘gold standard’ pubs should have, even if the bartender didn’t know he had it, which was what happened in IndoChine, heng for my fren’s sharp eye in locating the bottle hidden behind the Kahlua.

And best, the waitress was a young, pretty and slim affair in tight jeans and a shirt with a bad attitude and bored expression. I hate seeing these waitresses, you know? They have this ‘it’s-because-there’s-no-ang-mohs-around-so-I’m-taking-your-orders’ kinda look. She’s even less friendly than the door bitch, who actually smiled and welcomed a 20-strong bunch. OK, I know the Singaporeans don’t tip, but with the waitress (I’m-cerified-SPG) demeanor, we wun be tipping even if it’s customary. Hell, I’d charge them 5% for bad service. I mean, look at us!! We are peace-loving, law-abiding, even boring scientific personnel who won’t ever give you lip. We may all look fricking poor and unable to pay for that 1-for-1 1/2pint of Heineken, but that’s only because we just came from a biohazard warzone and don’t want to ruin our French cuffs and tarnish our Silver.

As if on cue, I was slated as the spokesperson for the group, since I have a carrying voice and can call up an octave higher than the boombox to get myself heard in any circumstance. So imagine my absolute chagrin having to deal with a sour face and rallying the large group to decide on their drinks quickly.

In the midst where everyone give their orders while the waitress’ face grew more sour at the load she had to carry, I took a quick look to survey my office group. Somehow the males and females found themselves all sitting in perfect symmetry around the round table like a split piechart depicting gender, with me right in the middle of the gals.

Then I heard this high-pitched giggle that was even more grating than my best Mariah Carey impersonation. I turned away from the bored face taking down the orders to note that discord.

It may be by chance, but PPQ is right where the split had ocurred and was seated beside that Scottish ang moh, giggling hysterically at something he said.

My mood soured like the waitress’ expression.

I snapped, ‘Has everyone ordered?’

A chorus of ‘Yes, Ma’am’, ‘Of cos, bring on the booze!’, ‘Yuppers!’ and ‘Aye’ went through the crowd.

All except the one I had my eyes trained on.

She was still giggling about God-Knows-What and was totally oblivious to my question, batting her expressive eyes at Mr Scottish Brogue.

Geez….someone save me from having to deal with her.

I snapped more loudly, ‘PPQ! Have you ordered?’

Already 1 cocktail above par before we even started drinking, her eyes were doing their usual yuan-liu-liu dew-drop-look I’d come to abhor on the unsuspecting Ang-moh, until Keisha elbowed her, rather sharply, I might add, and shoved the menu into her hands.

I was contemplating slapping my palm to my face while PPQ picked up the drinks menu as if she’d never seen before and opened it, all the while exclaiming in her ingratiatingly sweet-16 high pitched falsetto, ‘Oh …My …God! Have you all ordered?! Oh! I’m so sorry! Oh I didn’t Know! Sorry, AKK! Oh No! Whatever shall I drink?! So many Choices?! OH! OH!….’

I gritted my teeth when she went on auto-pilot, her Damsel-in-distress, perplexed voice and actions, eyes shining from some inner pain at the choice of so many drinks, and the bafflement of having to make a decision…’ Oh! Oh! I can’t decide!’

This went on for like 10 seconds…Oh! Which drink shall I choose?! Oh! OH!!....which in the beat of a pub or club, considered to be a million years too long a drag of the waitress’ time and my own patience.

‘Kuai dian lah!’ I snapped again. It was that or reach over and throttle her fat neck.

And to think that earlier when in the MRT, I actually deigned to make small talk with her because of the rule of proximity. I mean, you can hardly ignore her when the MRT after-office hour crush made sure the 2 of you were nose to nose at the same metal bar.

Quick! Something nice to say, my Social Ettiquette decided to take order from my Tih Kong side. A digression here: other people have the angel and the devil on their shoulders to guide their choices, I’ve got my Tih-kong and the Yan Luo Wang.

‘Er…that’s a nice dress you’ve got on.’ I spoke to her, slowly, as if listening to an inner voice. ‘It made you.... look slim.’ My Social Ettiquette sang my praises and gave me A++ to report to Tih-Kong.

‘Oh, thank you! What a nice thing to say! But it is true that I have slimmed down a bit! In fact, I..’ and she went on. After a while, I re-affirmed why I decided not to be her friend. I can’t deal with a self-centered person or rely on one. It is that simple.

Then of cos the inevitable happened, while Keisha begins to join the waitress in rolling her eyes, and PPQ worked herself into a hysterics over 3 running pages of strange drinks, Mr Scottish Brogue cuts in gently and asked in his lilting brogue.

‘How about Heineken? It’s a good beer. They are having a 1-for-1.’

The Crouching Tiger in me growled. It’s not that I’m jealous, seriously, it’s the inability of men to not fall for these types of displays, be they young or old.

I guess we should all have foreseen it, especially for someone as starved of attention as PPQ, but you see, in the company we are all Ikan Billis under division bosses and Mr Scottish Brogue is Keisha and Jane’s BOSS. So at the very least, I take it that a big huge fricking Golden Rule would be that there’s always a limit to who you should or shouldn’t target on professionally.

The next few hours after that made me cringe and shudder, and it all started because of 1 single detail. PPQ, upon hearing his suggestion, turned 180 degree to bestow him her dazzling liquid eyes of gratitiude for relieving her the duty of thinking, then coiled her arms around his left arms and squeezed it against her tits, the menu falling open on the table-top.

OK, so I was being crude. In other more civilized words, she hugged his arm. All the while exclaiming to a crowd who, for some reason or other, looking all over the place except at her, ‘that is a Great Suggestion. Oh! Oh! I’ll share it with you, I can’t drink so much! Oh! Thank you!’

Mission accomplished, the waitress rolled a final eye and went off, knees creaking. The whole ordeal couldn’t have lasted more than 2-3 minutes, but it felt like I had been subjected to a movie marathon starring PPQ.

As time wore on, the drinks arrived and left, and arrived and left…everyone was in a state of fun, because we had brought cards and were playing happily away. If you don’t look too closely through the inebriated haze of my present company, you won’t actually notice that PPQ had suddenly decided to make Mr Scottish Brogue the center of her Universe, eyes tuned onto him, both looking at each others’ poker cards, deciding to pick or stay. If you immerse yourself in front of the booming speakers, you can safely pretend that the occasional hyena laugh did not, in fact, issue constantly from the right side of the circle.

And while Mr Scottish Brogue is slightly bewildered at the high receptivity of his wit, he was nevertheless undergoing something I’d seen in all the other guys who ever had the pleasure to be bestowed by PPQ’s charms. Now would be the time to tell you that Mr Scottish Brogue is currently single and straight at the age of 50.

After a particularly bad bout of giggling, Jane , keisha and I called a time-out and excused ourselves to go to the ladies.

The first few minutes were carried out in silence while we attended to our ablution, then,

‘Did you see that?! I thought I’d go blind!’

‘Wah lau! I can’t believe she’s trying to hook our boss! Yeuks!’

‘He’s falling for it, argghhh! I thought he had more brains!’

‘Our boss! Our boss!’

‘They’re 20 yrs apart!!!’

‘Stupid woman!’

‘Stupid Man!’

‘Actually , he might not be stupid what, he’s ang-moh leh, they very liberal one.’

‘Helloooo!!! 25 yrs apart? Like twenty-five?? TWENTY-FIVE? She could be his daughter leh.’

‘Haiyah, she may be only 10 yrs old mentally but she technically legal liao, you can’t stop her from hugging his arms and whispering in his ear?’

We all paused for a moment.

‘Choujidan lah, Jane, can you please or not? I escaped here to run away from seeing PPQ repeatedly squeezing closer and closer to him leh, now you make me remember the scene again.’

‘Sorry lah, it’s not easy to forget anyway what. You come here also no use.’

‘Argh,’ Keisha was saying carefully, ‘Are you telling me that basically, it is possible that our boss, might just actually think that PPQ is eligible to take back home?’

‘Of cos, why not?’

‘Yah, of cos, all women have holes, even PPQ.’

There was another pause.

Keisha and Jane companionably put their arms around my shoulder while I clapped a hand to my mouth.

‘Pwah, can see somebody like cannot take it hor.’

‘Your hot hot hubby waiting for you at home not enough ah? Remember leh, You said 25 yrs old difference leh.’

‘Haiyah, it’s not about Mr Scottish Brogue lah, it’s about her lah. Firstly, which guy wouldn’t like a free meal of sweet young corn, right? Secondly hor, and I know you 2 lor, you’ll probably want to make sure nobody gets hurt tonight and already I’m feeling the horrible lousy responsibility liao. I mean, why do I bother right? Why do WE bother? If she wants to lose it tonight, I say let her lah. And if your boss wants her tonight, then OK lor, then I’ll know who he is behind that nice voice liao. Like that, my crush also died early death.’

‘Anyway,’ I mumbled again. ‘Anyone who can’t see her for who she is hor, isn’t worth my time.’

‘Haiyah,’ Keisha’s turn. ‘It’s very easy why we should help whenever we can. Because this here is my boss, I don’t want to lose respect for him if he decides that PPQ is easy prey tonight. I’d rather he don’t do this type of thing in the presence of the whole office. If he likes, he should get-together with her again without our knowledge.’

‘Yup,’ replied Jane. ‘We are essentially helping our boss preserve his own image, even if PPQ doesn’t want hers.’

‘Oh.’ I thought about it. ‘OK then, as long as it’s we’re not helping PPQ for PPQ’s sake.’

With that, we left the restroom.
PPQ was steadily going drunk, even with just a pint of Heineken. So for the rest of the night, Keisha piled PPQ with water while I accompanied her to the restroom, holding her arm. She was only half a pint from being wasted, judging by how she’s walking. Once again, I have this funny feeling that her life till now must have been truly blessed. She seems like an utter walking prey, she’s easy on the eye, can’t take booze but like to go pubs, have absolutely no sense of preservation towards men, can’t think, no brains and yet! She is currently having the time of her life while being take care of by worried people like us, who are having less and less fun with every second.

When time came for us to go home, I was thoroughly awake, sober and feeling instinctively that if the whole world were to be a large party right now, I’d be tidying up in the kitchen while PPQ does the congo line in the throng, splashing champagne all over herself. Such is the luck of the knowing.

On the way home, we send a happily muttering PPQ with some frens staying in the same area off in a cab. Mr Scottish Brogue and I are sharing the same cab due to our proximity. On the trip back, we had a little chat.

‘You know, lass, PPQ is such a great person. I never knew she was so much fun.’

‘Really? Oh, but we are all fun people, actually.’ Just that we don’t normally rub against other people so much, I muttered.

‘She blew me a kiss!’ Mr Scottish brogue’s voice was full of wonderment. ‘Do you think she likes me?’

My goodness, how the mighty have fallen. The final smattering of crushy feeling for his lovely voice curdled like cheese in me. All I could think about was: You’re 50! She’s 26! She can be your daughter!!! Why are you even considering the option?!’

‘PPQ is a very friendly person.’ My voice gave nothing away.

‘Of cos, she is….very!’ his tone took on a reflective tinge. I bet he must be thinking of his left arm right now.

I wished the driver to drive faster so I could leave the car before he goes under. We have heard from others that while he holds his drinks very well, he tends to open up very fast under alcohol and laments consistently about his singlehood.

And then, without preamble, ‘I’ve been lonely for 10 years.’ His hush puppy eyes grew sad.

I was prepared for this though, ‘No worries lah, I’m sure there’s someone out there for you. With a voice like that, gals find it hard to resist!’

He chuckled and said, ‘you’re a bomb, AKK, making an old man like me happy.’

Another ruminative 5 minutes passed in the cab while I feverishly wished the wheels to grow wings.

And then, ‘Are you a friend, AKK?’

‘Hmm…I don’t see why not I’m not a friend to you actually.’

‘Because sometimes I think I always mistake people’s friendship for interest, you know? I get foolish as I get older. I mix things up and hope too much.’

‘Well, most times, relationships do come from being friends first.’

I noted a distinct change in the air as I said that. Mr Scottish Brogue regarded me seriously in the darkness of the cab as we sped through the city lamps, flicking light through the windows.

Then he said, in that Scottish brogue that I used to like a lot for, but which has since today ceased to amuse, ‘AKK, do you think a relationship can come from this friendship?’

I looked him directly in the eye. By now, I was sure the cab driver is cocking a ear to our conversation, which was the reason he was weaving slightly and picking up speed to get me home first.

‘You know what?’ I said very gently, to this lonely man, with his twinkling eyes and melodic voice, now turned serious in his plea for companionship. ‘I think that a friendship…… much much more important than a relationship. Jane and Keisha and me are here for you because you are our friend.’ I emphasized the point.

The taxi cruised to a stop. I’d arrived home. I said goodbye and got off the cab, leaving a decidedly more dejected Scotsman than before and returned home to my husband, whereupon I told him every single thing, even re-enacting PPQ’s voice and hyena act and finally the conversation on the trip back.

A took it all into his stride, laughed when the entertainment was on and patted me on the head for my reply, then we tucked in and bed down for the night.

A is my best friend. There is no other friendship I’d like to turn into a relationship anymore.


AKK :)