Surreal In The City

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Some days just defy comprehension. Today for instance, is a day that will be listed up there in my annals of strange days. Those kinds of days when all signs seem to point to a U-Turn, an urging to go back and start over. Maybe the temporal plane is a bit askew somewhere, eh? Whatever the reason, today the city just went bonkers on me.

Surreal 1
I decided to go out for lunch and run a few errands on the side. I had a check to en-cash, so I head out to the bank branch in the mall and wait patiently in line. When I reach the counter and hand over my check, the teller asks me for some identification. I give her my company ID. She looks at it, looks at me, and then does a double take.

She says quite loudly, for all the bank’s clients and the two security guards to hear, ‘This doesn’t look like you.’

I blink. Then realization swiftly dawns on me. My ID had an old photo from 3 years ago. I had close-cropped hair then. I looked like a boy. I looked nothing like I do now. Which is to say gorgeous, er… OK, with longer hair.

I explain, ‘No, that’s still me, but see, I just have long hair now.’

The teller raises a well-defined eyebrow. ‘Would you happen to have other ID?’

Clearly, this is not a woman to be trifled with. And besides, she has her hands on my check. I rummage about in my wallet, and luckily, I find an SSS ID that showed me with long hair. Presto! I was in. The teller relaxed, the guards backed off, everyone in line sighed collectively. I am given my cash.

As I step out from line, the guards even politely wave me off with a hearty ‘Thank you ma’am, have a nice day!’

What a complete turn around in treatment a confirmed identity gets.

Surreal 2
Newly flush, I head to my customary Japanese place for a quick bite. While waiting out my order, I did what I usually do, that is, people-watch. Little did I know that today, the tables will be turned on me.

Over at the next aisle, outside the glass doors, in one of the little tables, there was a woman who had dark Jackie-O sunglasses on, and she was staring at me. Her head did not waver; she kept her eyes on me for an uncomfortably long period of time. I stared back. She removed her glasses and looked straight at me. I tried to place her in my memory of strange middle-aged women acquaintances, but no, I am positive, I do not know her. She kept up the staring contest; I don’t think she even blinked.

Thankfully, my food arrived, and her waiter handed her the check. And so contact was broken. She left some bills, stood up, and cast a last full look at me before she picked up her bags and sashayed away. The entire episode was unnerving, to say the least.

But the shark’s fin ramen was very good.

Surreal 3
And just when I thought this day would slowly recover from its general strangeness, I pass by a line of shoe stores. Nothing odd about the shoes, which by the way, were on sale. I was just ogling a pretty pair of heels when, out the door, a twenty-something girl rushes out and heads straight for me, unseeing. I turn sideways and flatten myself against the glass windows just in the nick of time, to avoid crashing into her. She sails right through, as though I wasn’t there.

And still you might ask, what was so surreal about this? Well, for a moment there, we were pressed close enough so I could clearly see—this girl—she had a glass eye.

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