Life Stories 003

Rachael sat on a bench near a bus stop waiting for her friend, Amanda, to arrive. She had just gotten off work and as pre-scheduled, that afternoon was for her to spend some time with Amanda.

Now, Amanda always had an affinity towards excessive purchases — a shopaholic, if you will — and she could never differentiate between the things she needed as necessities for living and the things that were lavishly unimportant; what she sees and likes, she will get. If she doesn’t, her whole mood goes awry. Having come from a very well-off family, this is a typical characteristic of her financial and social standing. But, as it is, as money comes, it will always go, especially if not managed well. And it came to pass that her family fell on hard times, and it became a necessity for them to scrimp, a skill she never learned and found very hard to learn.

Rachael, who is and always was used to less, always had to work hard for what she needed and wanted (making her more discriminatory when it came to spending her energy to go after her material needs and wants) finds Amanda’s lifestyle irrelative to surviving and living. To her, it is a complete waste of time and effort to shop excessively. This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t shop. It only means that when she shops, she weighs everything when regarding a purchase, and would rather buy things at cheaper places that offer up the same quality as expensive and branded things, than buy things for their brand name. She was more of a scavenger when it came to looking for the things that she needed. If anything, she did not want to associate herself exclusively to any one style. Or brand names as a whole group.

Two very different approaches to shopping from two very different people.

Amanda had expressed a wish to meet at Venetian instead of at the Taipa Stadium, but Rachael, knowing her friend, had a premonition that Amanda wanted to go on another shopping spree that would cost her a lot of money that she highly needed to survive in this ever increasingly inflation-filled world. To prevent that from happening, she had pointedly asked Amanda what they would do at Venetian without spending any money (Rachael had selective frugality). Amanda had sensed her disapproval of the meeting venue and had changed it to the Taipa Stadium instead.

Anyhow, the shopping spree was inevitable and Rachael could do nothing about it; when Amanda had her whole mind set on something, it was hard to convince her otherwise. Needless to say, a whole lot of money went down the drain that afternoon —in Rachael’s eyes, of course. Amanda felt that shopping was therapeutic, so she was feeling satisfied. Rachael, on the other hand, was feeling completely stressed out by Amanda’s lack of consideration towards the money that just got wasted on things that were impractical and essentially useless for everyday living.

It cannot be said that Rachael did not find it a good passing amusement to walk through aisles of clothing, shoes and accessories and contemplating which pieces would go flatteringly well together on herself, but at the very core of it all, she knew she didn’t need any more clothes than she already had. Also, buying in bulk is against her core principles, because she lived knowing that what she needed will come to her at the right time when she needed it the most.

She knew Amanda got a thrill out of buying things at discounts and sales because it gave off the same feeling when Rachael herself scavenged for things at cheaper stores, finding the exact top she wanted to go with the exact skirt/pants/trousers/shorts she wanted; she could relate in that sense. But she always had guilt when she bought things she did not need, because she knew how difficult it was to come by money. She understood Amanda’s ignorance to that because Amanda always got what she wanted materialistically throughout her whole life, and it is probably a difficult habit to get out of for her. But she felt that Amanda needed to also understand that money could not be spent so thoughtlessly, under the influence of emotions.

Rachael loved her friend. She really did. But sometimes, she frustrated her a lot. By the 3rd or 4th hour at Venetian, already weighed down by 2 huge shopping bags (one held two shoe boxes — the same heeled boot design, mind you, but in two different colours (and heels so high, they are most certainly impractical to walk in…like…WHY?!) — while the other held many, many shirts from Bershka), the two girls were in Victoria’s Secret. Rachael’s nose hurt from the extremely strong scents in the shop and found all the pink and lace too much for her to handle and take seriously; she always thought Victoria’s Secret was all about underwear, but it baffled her to find that the shop had more bags and perfume in stock than lingerie.

Amanda, on the other hand, had zeroed in on the lacy panties on sale, completely in her element. Rachael felt like a fish out of water and decided to stand where she wouldn’t be in the way of people shopping, positioning the shopping bags they arrived with at her feet, while launching a game app on her phone. Her only wish throughout the 30 minutes stuck there was that the shop’s management might consider adding some sort of seating (there was definitely enough room for a small little bench in one corner) in the future for people like her.

Also, she doesn’t get what the point of lace is on underwear. Is it really just for aesthetic appeal alone? How could any of those things be comfortable to wear?!

Once that was done, she was finally relieved that the shopping was done, but was feeling completely awful since she felt like an accomplice in the loss of money towards things not needed. Amanda decided to take a taxi home and Rachael walks her to the taxi stand. They bid each other goodbye and promise to meet up again soon.

Rachael is now brainstorming ways to pass the time sans money in Macau, which is an impossible task in itself. There’s just no free amusement that would be compatible with Amanda, but she won’t give up. Rachael, after all, is always hopeful, even in the face of the impossibly difficult.

Life Stories 002

A group of five friends were sitting at a restaurant together, waiting for the rest of their party to arrive — the total was supposed to tally up to eight.

Alan, Andrew, Matt, Naomi, and Rachael were already present, and the only people that needed to arrive were Carlos, Oliver, and Samuel. They all ordered and kept two menus back for the remaining people that had yet to arrive.

When Oliver came, he sat against the wall, next to Matt, and picked out his burger combo. Rachael then received a call from Samuel, who told her he didn’t know where the place was. So she had to go find him around a one block radius for a whole ten minutes — they had been walking opposite directions most of the time.

And he was his usual bespectacled self — quiet, polite, contemplative, and appeared completely unconcerned about the worries of life. As usual.

Once they got back to Grill Burger, Oliver had already ordered, which left only Samuel’s order to fill, since Carlos had warned them that he didn’t want to eat. Since there were no waitresses to be seen on the floor they were on, Samuel looked humorously at Andrew and Matt and said, “Am I supposed to scream for service here?”

All three of them laughed and then Andrew tells the rest of the group what happened to them at the SoiHangMei Eskimo.

Supposedly, they had called a waiter a couple of times, who saw them each time they waved at him. After having been ignored for the umpteenth time, Samuel had had enough and hollered, “Excuse me!” in Cantonese. The whole restaurant fell silent and the waiter finally scurried over, exasperatedly saying, “What?”

Matt then takes over, saying that Andrew’s reaction was to hide his face in his hands due to embarrassment, and duck down on the table all in one breath. Matt started patting Samuel on the arm to try and calm him down, looking apologetically at the waiter and the other restaurant patrons. Thankfully, Samuel did end up approaching the waiter at the end to apologize quietly.

At the end of the retelling of this tale, the whole group of friends had erupted into laughter. The good thing was that they were the only people on the second floor of the burger place, so they didn’t disturb anyone else with their explosively noisy laughs.

Samuel, as a person, can be described as being a man of very few words. He has always been so extremely laid back that he ended up not doing what he needed to do throughout high school, to the detriment of his grades. But due to his super chill attitude, he didn’t give too much thought about it and continued on with his gaming without a qualm about anything else, even his classes now in Australia.

His reaction at the restaurant was truly something out of character for him.

But from this, one thing was strongly ingrained as a lesson.

A quiet person’s calm exterior may be hiding an explosion that is due to pent-up frustrations that have accumulated from many other past occurrences. This might not always be the case, but it certainly is something that should be considered when encountering a quiet person.

Just don’t push their buttons if you can. You may never know if they are at the end of their fuse or are still just one tenths fed up with people.

Life Stories 001

Three guys were walking from the car park below a central park to a burger place near a university campus, where a dinner was scheduled for them to meet up with their old high school classmates — the few that were left in Macau, that is. Having just finished working out, their muscles were sore and they were completely starved.

Just outside Grill Burger, the guys noticed a commotion on the two lane road. While cars were parked on one side, filling up that one entire lane, one rogue car had decided to stray and was parked on the other lane, leaving very little space in between the parked cars and the rogue car for any other vehicle to pass through. An enormous tourist bus turned the corner onto that same road and immediately realized its mistake, seeing as there was no way for it to move forward. As it tried to reverse, other cars kept coming, leaving the whole road congested, as the huge bus couldn’t go backwards or forwards.

All three guys stared at the road and were amazed by the spectacle they were seeing. They can’t think of anything to do, so they decide to go into the restaurant to grab a table for them and the rest of the gang who were still to arrive. As they go up to the second floor of the little establishment, Alan decides to go and get updates on the traffic situation right outside the restaurant. Andrew and Matt decide to remain and look through the menus.

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When Alan got out of the restaurant, he sees a lady trying to help everyone out of the vehicular mess they were in by telling the cars in the back to all reverse and had stopped more cars from entering the narrow road. As the road started to clear up a little more, Alan was about to turn a corner to see how things were on the other side when he ran into Naomi and Rachael, and told them that the others were already upstairs.

Initially, the two girls were to have arrived first, but having walked all the way from SanMaLou to the Cultural Centre area, they had arrived later than discussed, and since the guys were going there by car, they got there first. Rachael had just gotten off the phone with Andrew; she had just told him that Samuel and Carlos would be joining them soon and he told her that Oliver had confirmed that he would be coming for the dinner.

Having noticed the commotion as well, the two girls looked towards Alan for an explanation and were given a brief one. They all go into the restaurant and up onto the second floor where the others were, and immediately walked towards the window. Rachael took a picture, hoping to capture the traffic mess, but by then, the road was relatively cleared up already. Her picture wasn’t very good either.

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Once the whole road was cleared up, the three of them went over to the 8 seated table that the guys had already taken up. Alan sat next to Andrew, who was seated across an empty seat that was right next to Matt and right against the wall. Naomi takes the seat next to Alan and Rachael sits across her, on Matt’s other side. They all wondered who the owner of the rogue car was and all of them wanted to see who it might be, but with the waitress having arrived to take their orders, they became too preoccupied with the food options. After a bit, Alan remembers about the car and runs over to the window to check up on it. He looks out and the car has left.

They never found out who the owner of the car was. But this writer thinks that maybe — just maybe — he or she was eating at the very restaurant the group was eating at and had stayed inside to avoid the blame and responsibility of the jammed road. Such cowardice.

Or he/she could have been oblivious to it all. That could also have been a possibility.