Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Everything, you promised everything

I had fun in Manila, but shopping is hell.

everything dp277

The rain is falling puddling the doorway to hell. You step around the puddles in your bright pink shoes. Is it heaven with St Petra at the gate, or is it hell with its teeth showing?

Beside the door a guard white shirt blue trousers fake gold badges of authority on her breast.

Where you going? she asks. I don’t know, you say. Supermarket? Yes maybe, you reply. You go mall, you not come in, not open. You go supermarket. Yes, supermarket, you say in this cold anteroom of denied options.

You show me bag, she says. You show. You open bag. You open. She pokes at it with her demonic prod, looks inside.

You go supermarket this way, she says pointing to the travelator descending into this underground maw of hell.

You pass the other people in your rush to descend, find the supermarket, then wander out into the darkened limbo between the shops selling every gizmo under the sun.

It’s 9.40 am and nothing else is open so you turn to the neon brightness of the supermarket, go looking for the glass replacement for the coffee plunger.

You ask, show them the shiny metal skeleton of the small glassless object you depend on to start the day.

You go up, third floor, department store, not here, he says. Where is that? you ask and he waves his hand vaguely up and out.

You wander between the aisles and aisles of packaged coloured product and then into the fresh foods area where fruits and vegetables are cling wrapped under organic signs.

Your stomach is not responding well, your nose twitching, every sense moving toward overload. You almost run to exit this underworld, to return to life. You don't look back.

Outside the supermarket you find a lift going nowhere until after 10 am, you’ve finally grasped that while hell is open 24 hours, heaven has it easier and opens late. With time to kill you set off up the stairs.

Standing at the top of the stairs you see through the windows of McDonalds where faces are filling themselves. A man approaches, says something, you say, No thank you, to his offer of junk food.

He persists, repeats his sentence, No thank you, and again NO THANK YOU, through gritted teeth. You turn to the stairwell, look down at hell's entrance, notice by the railing a woman with a walkie talkie.

You turn, see the man you’d thought was offering McDonalds see that he too communicates between realms with a walkie talkie. Then the plainclothes man approaches you, directs you to a chair, Over there. Wait.

Your puzzled look prompts, Not open, from him and a touch of his watch. As you turn toward the chair you see the bulging crowd of the clamouring dead at the main entrance, guards holding them back.

You sit, watch from purgatory as the last cleaner sweeps the floor lights flicker rollerdoors open and all the things on sale burst into visibility.

It’s open M’am, says a passing guard. You rise and join the swelling crowd moving toward the department store.

If this is heaven, I’m not coming. Plastered smiles greet you the escalators pump people upwards to the celestial realms and blasting from the speakers a jingle.

Welcome to SM stores
We have everything
Welcome to SM stores
We have everything

Rising through the layers of clouds to the transparent zone of kitchens and glassware you are filled with hope for success. You look you trawl the shelves no plunger of any shape or size no glass replacement.

You ask at the counter. The woman all celestial smiles says, No glass for these, maybe we have whole item. You follow. But no, no plungers of any kind. Quietly you say, So you don’t have everything?

Inside you are screaming, But you promised eternal life, you said you had everything everything everything.

Descending into disconsolation you return to the supermarket disoriented by this torture of sound and lights uncertainty and despair. You stumble into the cyberzone no longer dark buzzing with zombied youth.

For a moment you are lost then recall the travelator rise up the smooth ascent to the doorway where you were searched exit into the freshness of rain the relief of silence the stillness of monotoned walls.

No comments:

Post a Comment