Tuesday, May 8, 2007

When It Rains, “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs”

delayed post from December 16, 2006, 2:11 PM

If Janice de Belen is known for her being the Queen of Quotable Quotes (e.g. the immortal “God was with us when we did it”), I have every reason to believe that I am her bitch. And my extensive knowledge of quotes—ranging from the most intellectual (e.g. “Man’s greatest need is to be understood” [Stephen Covey]), to the most self-righteous (e.g. “My feet are still on the ground; I just wear better shoes” [Oprah Winfrey]), to the most irreverent (e.g. “Must you always begin with sarcasm first?” [Grace Adler, Will & Grace]), to the most ME (e.g. “I can only please one person a day; today isn’t your day, and tomorrow’s not looking good either” [Scott Adams]), and to the most real (e.g. “Never argue with an idiot; they drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience” [Some anonymous wiseass])—have proven useful to me during my countless workshops. And thank God for the net, I can just Google any quote, and incorporate them into my PowerPoint slides whenever I need some.

And speaking of quotes, here are just some of the quotes that have been most useful not to my participants, but to myself…because they have been immortalized with some of the most recent developments in my life:

Patience is a virtue. Ask and you shall receive. If you want something, the whole universe will conspire to give it to you. Ask, believe, and receive. Success/luck comes in three’s. Good things to those who wait. And…When it rains, it pours.

You’d remember my 360-degree turn on my luck with the perennially defunct career in the modeling world. Two protracted years of waiting, and as I was taking flight from it, Fate stepped in and gave me such a great blessing, beyond what I wished for.

On December 3, my online techy group Mapalad (a group of Palm handheld owners in the Philippines) held its Christmas Party at Gilligan’s in Makati. Prior to that, the thread of conversations in the online forum got longer and longer, more and more animated…all because of the official launching of the Palm Treo 680. Add to that, a major raffle will be drawn, and the winner will come home with a brand-spanking new T680…or at least a certificate that you can hold on to until you can claim the handheld at the Philippine distributor’s office (it’s called Microwarehouse). A few days before the party, Microwarehouse pledged to add another major raffle: a brand new Palm Treo 650—already being phased out by the manufacturers and distributors, but nevertheless still valuable (at P32k/brand-new handheld). We were all totally excited to party hardy…and go home not empty-handed.

I headed to Gilligan’s straight from Sheila’s event at the Mall of Asia (tell me again why this mall is such a hit when it’s in actuality a monstrosity??), where she played umpire while we ogled at the beautiful bodies of the Brazilian Jujitsu competitors. ‘Twas dinner time and, being a virtual newbie at the event, I started mingling so I’d familiarize myself with the old-timers. We played several games and raffles…and there was no game where I wouldn’t win a prize (like a limited edition PalmOne shirt or a box of cheesecakes) or a minor raffle where my name wouldn’t be drawn. The whole time, the members were jeering at me, saying that since I’ve won most minor prizes, I’d never get any more luck to get the Treos. I just grunted and fixed my mind on winning one of the two. I said I didn’t care which phone, as long as I won one. And hell, I did. When Sharon “singkit” Agoncillo, the president of the org, pulled the name of the winner of the T650 and said “Oh, my god, this member is so going to be happy! It’s a HE, people!” I felt a thud in my chest. I knew it was going to be my name. And true enough, she called out “shiaolien”, which is my member/user name. The crowd erupted into cheers and chants of “Donate! Donate!” which I countered by sticking out my tongue, a beaming grin, and a dash to the photo ops on the stage. A Palm Treo 650. And all that for just a 300 peso ticket.

I was still marinating in my lucky streak when I was given the requisite directorial role for the Christmas Party presentation cum inter-division competition. For years, I’ve been directing the presentations, and my groups had always won every single year…except for the years when I left the company when I worked in the US. So you can just imagine the pressure of having to direct yet again. We had a very limited time to rehearse, coupled with some unwilling participants and rehearsal schedules not matching our free times—these all spelled failure waiting to happen. I gave it my best shot nevertheless; and worked my ass out with the remaining committed participants.

Come Christmas Party, we were all asked by the organizers to come in costumes—that is, something inspired by school uniforms. A majority of employees came in their old high school standard issue uniforms, including their gym uniforms. I decided not to do the same because my old UST Pay High uniform consisted of nothing but yucky chocolate brown gabardine pants and perspiration non-resistant white chifonelle short-sleeved shirt, with matching UST Pay High patch replete with stitches of bars indicating our year level. I came as a confused school boy (read: my costume was that of an Ivy Leaguer crossed with a retarded high school dropout hehehehe)…which in the end won me my Best in Costume Male Category award: a P1500 gift certificate from Penshoppe (tell me again what REALLY nice ensemble you can buy at Penshoppe for that price!). And, as they were announcing the winners of the Christmas Party presentation—it was down to our group and the Operations Group, which to my knowledge would win 1st place because of the relevance of their presentation—I lingered at the buffet station outside by the foyer area to munch on some more desserts, because I was already prepared to accepting defeat. But as I was biting my 3rd helping of flan, the room erupted to the announcement of the grand prize winner…our group. I semi-choked, almost dropped my plate, and dashed to the event hall. I haphazardly hugged and beso’ed, high-fived and shook hands with people, and hurled myself to the stage…only to realize that they were still calling the 2nd place winner and I just ruined the “surprise” element by being onstage way before it was time for the official announcement for the 1st place. Talk about major embarrassing moment. Hehe.

As if that overflow of luck wasn’t enough, my hosting job (for weddings and debuts, that is) skyrocketed during the Christmas season…with about one or two hosting gigs per week (which is way over my monthly quota of two). Again, I got more than what I bargained for.

Ah, yes. 2006 wasn’t half as bad. When it rains, it really pours. It poured on me. Who knows, maybe next time, it’ll be your turn.