Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pick up lines, Liam Gallagher, and goodbyes

Pick up lines, Liam Gallagher, and goodbyes
by rick olivares

There’s this dude in Times Square in New York who walks about with sign that says “1001 pick up lines for a dollar”.

One time, I was watching this Brazilian model have a street artist do a sketch of her when the dude said to the girl, “Girl, you’re so beautiful you must be a tourist attraction here in New York.” The girl flicked her hair back and laughed.

“That’s a good one,” she said handing over five bucks.

“Oh oh!” squealed the dude in delight. “I got four more good ones for you and if you like it, we can have dinner at Tavern on the Green.”

He was smooth. Real smooth. I for one have never been like that.

During soirees back in high school, while a few of the “chick boys” stayed with the girls, I on the other hand, joined a few others in watching the food table lest the food go away.

Now that I am older, I’m not as shy as I used to be but it still isn’t easy for me. What I do know is that I use my iPod as an icebreaker. Think about it: “What’s on your iPod?” What a great pick up line  idea, huh?

And I never thought that I’d thank Liam Gallagher for helping me meet a girl. This isn’t a love story. It hardly qualifies as one, you know. It’s boy meets girl. And boy says goodbye to girl. That’s all.

You see I was killing time at Starbucks in Wheelock Place along Orchard Road before meeting up with some Singaporean friends at Kinokuniya in Ngee An City. I thought I might as well check my email and do a little writing. I got two and a half hours to kill after all.

I had a comfy couch to myself where I was sipping some tea (I had stopped drinking coffee) and I slipped in the CD of Gallagher’s new band Beady Eye that rose from the ashes of Oasis. I had my headphones on and was minding my business when she sat down on the chair opposite me (it’s a big couch with plenty of room). She had this paperback novel she had with her but that’s all I noticed because I was transfixed by her… beauty.

“God Almighty!” I whispered to myself. She resembled French actress Sophie Marceau. Only she was prettier.

She smiled. I smiled. Then I said nothing and went back to work. At least I tried to. She said something yet amidst the noise of old time rock ‘n’ roll and Gallagher’s Lennonesque wail, I heard her voice.

“I beg your pardon,” I asked.

She smiled through perfect teeth and her eyes glittering in the electric sun. “Is the album a good one?”

“It’s the first time I’m listening to it,” I replied. It was the truth. I bought the disc about an hour ago at HMV. “But it does sound different from Oasis. It is a pleasant surprise though. I think it’s good that they don’t sound like Oasis, if you know what I mean. My favorite is Noel Gallagher and I guess Liam found his voice.”

“Oh, I must be talking too much.” Now I was thinking out aloud.

“That’s okay.” She giggled.

Then I kept my mouth shut and put back my headphones. She in the meantime picked up her book and began reading.

A few minutes later our eyes met again. She smiled and said something.

“I’m sorry for bothering you,” she apologized.

“No problem,” I said trying to remain cool. It’s not everyday that a pretty white girl talks to you.

Chrysta was her name. She’s from Amsterdam and was going around Southeast Asia with her boyfriend (my heart sank). Singapore was their first stop and from there they were going to Indonesia then Malaysia. Hong Kong was their final destination before heading back to Holland.

She wore a gray short-sleeved blouse with Guns ‘n Roses in front, khaki shorts and slippers. Chrysta wore shoulder-length brown hair that scattered lazily in front of her beautiful brown eyes. She giggled again. Maybe she knew I was – what’s the term – profiling her.

We chatted. About Liam Gallagher, Oasis, and Beady Eye. She shared a headphone with me and we listened to “The Roller” one of the better tracks on the album. She closed her eyes and let the music take her. I couldn’t hear the music anymore. I was transfixed with her.

End of song. So we chatted more about traveling in Asia, what to do in Singapore and the probability of going to the Philippines. And the book by Meg Cabot that she was reading.

A while ago, I was praying time would move faster. Apparently, 6:30pm couldn’t come quickly enough. Now, I was hoping that I had more time. Jeez Louise, we had been talking for over an hour now. And I was hoping her boyfriend would never come. He was in Borders which was next door looking for books and stuff.

A few minutes later, the guy arrived. He sat down in the chair next to me and opened his laptop. Chrysta and the guy began speaking in Dutch and my heart sank even further. She then nodded towards the Beady Eye disc and the guy (I don’t remember his name nor do I care to). “So how’s the album? Are you liking it now?” she asked.

“Well, it’s better than I expected,” I said. And well, it was the truth.
Chrysta didn’t talk much now that her BF was back. I guess he didn’t feel comfortable about it and I surmised that he was telling her to transfer to another table as he nodded towards the back.

I quickly began packing my stuff. “It’s okay.” (No, it wasn’t.)

“You can stay here. I have to go.” (I wish he left and I didn’t have to go.)

“Oh, do you have to?” her smile was gone.

“Yeah, I have to meet up with some friends. I don’t want to be late.”

She pouted and her BF was aghast.

“So pick up Beady Eye,” I said by way of parting. “Don’t download it. I think we owe it to the artist to buy the disc. Besides it’s a pretty good album.”

I gathered up the rest of my gear and collected the tea tumbler to throw into the trash bin.

On my way out, I glanced at Chrysta. She smiled. Not the dazzling one she flashed when we first met. I smiled back then went out into the Singapore night.

I played Oasis’ “Roll With It” on my iPod.

“You gotta roll with it, you gotta take your time, you gotta say what you say and don’t let anybody get in your way…”

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