01 November 2010

All That Trouble

I had been craving since the College went into its semestral break for some lumpiang toge. That is because, at the College cafeteria where I have my lunch most work days, the fare on offer is ridiculously limited when the students are on vacation.

Therefore, I had not seen any lumpiang toge – which I invariably order if it is available – for at least a fortnight. This is not to say, though, that the lumpiâ they have at the cafeteria even comes close to the sort my mother used to make. It is canteen fare, after all – so I am not really complaining.

What is to stop me – or so I thought to myself once this long weekend started – from making my own? So now the grand plan was for me to meet up with my sister yesterday; then head home with time to spare so I could pass by the supermarket at Rob before going home.

Quick! What should one never forget when one has grandiose plans of making the lumpiang toge of one’s dreams?

So, alright! Maybe the supermarket had a tad more people than I would have wanted. It was, after all, the day before All Saints. I was quickly getting irritable; but that had less to do with the people to-ing and fro-ing and more with the fact that my stomach was starting to grumble.

I had lunch with my sister and her family at this fancy joint tucked away in some cozy corner of Alabang. I am always conscious when I travel of what I eat. That is just me limiting the chances of a loperamide moment happening. So, I ordered this eggplant torta with shrimps which turned out to be really divine – if a little too easy to digest.

Thus, at the supermarket late in the afternoon, I was hungry earlier than I normally am. The humor with which I totally enjoyed a day out with family was deserting me with alacrity.

So, I hurried from shelf to shelf, picking up stuff here and there – even the Chinese celery my sister advised I should use but which I was earlier not too sure I ought to. Before long, I was on my way home – except that I could not quite shake this nasty feeling that something important was not among the stuff inside the plastic bag I carried with me.

If you still have not figured out the answer to my question earlier, well… The answer came to me when it was a little too late to go back to the supermarket. The missing something was actually the lumpiâ wrapper, of all things!

That was exactly what my sister text-ed me when I told her of this unfortunate senior moment. Never mind, I consoled myself. I could always go back the next day.

This being All Saints’ Day, I naturally had my doubts that the supermarket would be open at all. My planchadora, though, replied with absolute certainty to my query that it would, indeed, be open despite the holiday.

Technically, she was not wrong.

The trade winds having started to really blow – enhanced by La Niña, PAGASA explains – today was a rainy and chilly All Saints’ Day. But then again, it frequently is… So I went out with a waterproof overcoat and a cap; albeit, the rain fell in no more than steady drizzles.

I was encouraged to find that there were a few mall-goers already waiting outside the main gate when I arrived; but wondered why there were barricades leading to the parking lot. I looked at the glass walls to see if there were any signs announcing that the mall was closed; but there was none.

So, I hiked the short distance to the back of the mall where the gate normally opens at nine for those wanting to go to the supermarket. Suspiciously, even that was closed as well. The guard I asked confirmed my fears – the mall would not open until 12 noon, which was still a good two hours away.


Rather than go to the public market – I just do not do that anymore – I went back home to wait out the time until the supermarket opened. There was football on Star Sports, so I guess I did not really mind the wait.

By midday, I went back to the mall. I did not know where to look; but you have to hand it to these supermarket assistants. Each of the gentlemen I asked for directions pointed me the right way – to the frozen section, can you believe that? In the old days when I used to accompany my Mom to the market, the wrapper was just something the tinderas picked up from somewhere in their crowded stores. At the supermarket, aba! May packaging pa!

Haaaaaayyyyy…!!! All that trouble just to get some lumpiang toge. It was good – if not the lumpiang toge of my dreams that I had earlier planned. I realized I had forgotten to include tofu, which all the strips of liempo I had included failed to make up for. But there will be a next time…

A Mundane Pleasure in Life
The Tail




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