Diet Coke chat

(those who deconstruct things for their studies/living, or those who just read too much between lines could probably construe ‘Diet Coke’ as a metaphor for ‘sweet nothings’, in turn charging the subject with different meaning, but I digress at this ironic assumption.)

I like the knowledge I have of how we place emphasis on words far too much. EAG, the anime I’m watching, illustrated this quite literally in an episode — a branch of philosophy which escapes my thoughts also does. Don’t we? We say things with subconscious motives, things with ulterior motives, things with eventual or upkeep value. We say a lot of things that mean far less, and say less things that mean more. All of which are words. The present sense of just knowing, while not life-changing in many ways, just helps.

Perhaps English-speaking communities worldwide would be better off if the language was as specific as the Eskimos’ — how many words was it for snow, again, 16? 6? — so we wouldn’t have to fumble and bluff our way through a web of nonsense woven with every sentence spoken.

How does saying “I bought you your favourite for dinner” mean “I’m sorry“, “Don’t wanna go out tonight” mean “I’m still mad at you“, “Could you pass me the salt?” mean “I don’t feel like asking him for it so I’m asking you instead“, “So, what do you do?” mean “Let’s be friends!“? It doesn’t, yet does.

Caught a Spicy Beef Foldover after college with a friend, and marvelled at the unconscious racial polarization that still happens. In a college full of Indians, few want to talk any other than their race. It happens, since the friend in question watching me eat was Chinese; so much for anything.

I don’t talk unless spoken to, or unless I like you in a non-attraction sort of way, just like (there I go, clarifying words again) in the base sense that you’re an agreeable enough person to hold a proper conversation with. Which people nowadays fail to do given how they’re checking their bloody cell phones way too often sending that oh so important sms — be it in class, CG, church, funerals — what more while talking to someone?

Diet Coke for the value meal. Like the subject of words, it doesn’t hide behind snazzy banners shouting red green purple pretending it’s something it’s not — what you’re getting’s sugarless tasteless liquid supposedly helpful in your weight loss, something the label and name scream from a long way off.

Then there was the conversation.

He is genial and to my ‘likeable’ standards, all smiles and jokes, but I don’t know if I ended up inviting him to watch me eat a 4 o’ clock lunch out of melanin disposition or conversational preference. We small talk, and the topic somehow ends up at Happiness after wandering around.

Define happiness, I said, and he immediately replies with Money, lots of it. Jaded feelings of equal parts pity and patience surface, but I shut them away. I prompt for elaboration. He says he wants to make his first million by 30, how money is everything. I probe further. Is it really? He lists pretty much what’s in the whole damn book of the world, about wanting everything larger than life, how he wishes for a McLaren F1 which, to my ignorance and surprise, isn’t the type you see Michael what’s-the-spelling drive, but an actual car, one I probably know but can’t associate a name with. He says something about it outpacing a jet at acceleration, how purchase of one of those is invitation-only.

I try again, and use the metaphor of cheat codes. Do you know of games you play that require money, and he nods yes, and do you know of games you play that have cheat codes that give you money, and he shakes no, but then I say Warcraft? and immediately he says yes, nods. Good, I say.

The explanation is derailed in a manner best described as a hijacking almost botched. I say So with that in mind, won’t you get bored of playing after awhile and he says No, not really because it’s fun to almost lose then type in the cheat code over and over again to get everything you want and then beat the computer and then BOOM! just like that and I win, he says. Maybe he’s had friends of more fervent Christian origins do this to him and knows where this’ heading. I’m not even trying for anything. He still, admittedly, says Yes, I’ll get sick of it after awhile (when he has all the money and constantly wins) and this is where I say So wouldn’t it apply to real life, if you’d get bored with a game wouldn’t the same apply to real life? and he says Not really. I run out of bullets.

After that it’s nothing except small talk amidst an emaciated Foldover which I suspect is sorely deficient in the actual ingredients, not to mention lukewarm, but I’m hungry. I suppose another extended metaphorical allusion was present in the back of my mind when we were talking about repetition, how wasn’t it tiring to eat the same thing everyday because he claims that he can do so and I tell him about how I once ate Indomee for two months and he tells me how he did the same with Maggi and we laugh it off, but I’m sleep deprived and can’t connect whatever’s driving it to the topic earlier.

Later I meet Sherwin in the LRT station waiting for the bus, to my surprise. We small talk all the way home. Once you know the rules of conversation and a bit of general knowledge you can divert it to practically anything and keep talking for ages, and this I do. I look at his tired face worn from practicing for hours upon hours straight and see a contrast of someone who wakes up and finds meaning in his life, doing something he loves, having a wonderful wife and daughter to come home to and wonder if my friend from earlier will ever come to that, or a more forlorn template of someone waking up in his mid-forties trying to grasp at straws because his existence’s increasingly bleak.

A small voice tells me to do this again, and I wonder if I should make this a weekly thing. Maybe not this month because I’m already broke, will be so for quite sometime but why not?

Taking a picture of good old Golden Arches and he tells me it looks like a giant french fry right after I take it. It’s right in front of him and I know it for what it is but he sees something else. How quaint.

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