Spent another 3 days in Subic and I swear, I've had enough mind exercises to last me a lifetime.
Did I forget to mention that Subic houses Odfjell Academy which consists of instructors, course developers, academics, geniuses and some, just plain weird people? This is the place where I get lots of mind actions starting from the Return of Investment Project in which I am one of the Champions.
ROI Champion, that alone can cause me to cringe involuntarily. And top it with a list of things I have to accomplish before the yearend as part of our analysis and data collection plan. I have already gotten used to headaches of a different variety.
So a welcome relief came when after going to mass, a friend invited me for a coffee at Mocha Blends (sorry, no starbucks yet in Subic). Nevermind that I had to walk a few miles, knowing that I hate walking but not as much as I crave the commercially blended coffee.
So at around 10 pm, wallet, cellphone and camera at hand, we proceeded to walk. Coffee was nice, the change of venue was a relief to my senses and a chance to hear a different kind of conversation exhilirated me. I was in a ecstatic mood until...
A few tables from us are a group of foreign men, 4 to be exact. They look harmless enough and decent enough to be someone else's relatives. still, they kept on looking at us over and over again. I have never prided myself for being vain, and living in Manila has taught me that thieves can be fairly decent looking. But instincts told me they weren't interested in things. I started to get uncomfortable so I requested to leave. They stood up from their table and followed us out. The next thing I remember was one of them striking us in a conversation. It started with a harmless "Do you Speak Spanish?" to the not to harmless "Have you been to Makati, you should go visit my place there." He handed us his cards which read (name) Attache, Embassy of Italy. And asked for my friend's number. Before I can caution her to stop and think, she gave it out without blinking. Unthinking of the consequences it would bring to her sanity later.
The whole time I was thinking of what prompted them to follow us. Surely, we don't look like the usual women on a prowl for available men, single or otherwise. I rechecked my clothes - jeans, shirt and a jacket, as well as hers, which is basically the same, and no make up. We basically look like students coming together for a coffee after exams. I went through our actions moments earlier, no, we weren't loud or attention grabbing. We talked and laughed quietly, too naive looking to be thought of otherwise. Still I was always a pessimist around men to come to the conclusion that they were probably picking us up. It didn't hurt that I was proven true when he called a few minutes later.
This incident has got me thinking a lot of things. First, you cannot control men's minds. As much as you try appear to be the quintessential sensible girl, they really won't notice. Their one track minds cannot help but think of all women as the same no matter how you put yourself out there differently. They're also not subtle. They see a girl they like and they look and look until she's uncomfortable enough to flee the place. And last, though they may not accept it, but even if they're in the company of friends, they are always on the lookout for any girl who would say yes to their invitations.
So the next time someone asks me "Do you speak Spanish?" I would probably answer
"Un poco, pero no estoy hablando con usted" (a little, but I'm not talking to you.")