For every whiff of Chanel, a poke from a smelly scavenger

*written on January 11, 2011, while waiting for a meeting at Nestle, Rockwell Center

 

(free writing, purging, recess)

 

Exposure defines your response. From your priorities and responsibilities to your fashion preference; from your taste in men to your idea of success, exposure is the culprit.

 

Walking past Kenneth Cole, Michael Kors, and Escada at Greenbelt 5 everyday after work, you look down at your Rusty Lopez and cluck your tongue in pity. When you were in Candoni and there was only Shoe Earth and Unitop to pass by, your Alberto was aspirational. Exposure! Exposure lassoes you by the neck, drags you to anything flashy, pricey and wearable so that the next time your boss becomes the boss that he is, you can just look at the intertwining Ls and Vs of your bag and feel better.

 

And then when you traipse down Ayala Avenue again, your Ls and Vs need not become words on drab leather strong enough to elicit stares and glares from other women. To them you become a storied stranger — fake ba iyan o may Papang Hapon? Baka nilandi yung boss para ma promote.

 

Ahahaha, you muffle a chuckle and enjoy the attention.

Still, all of you are the same, lugging office politics and bursting BDJ planners in your Longchamps, Coaches, and Birkins;

descending underpasses, underestimation, undermining capacities

you look for life and subtly look for love behind your dark Fendi glasses.

 

Careful, amiga, you might trip and rip your basic black skirt, it’s a Zara. a Zara is a Zara here; elsewhere it’s a Bobson. Come fast now. As boldly as your sway, tap your Cole Haans and drown out all the nonprofit chatter of some girl asking you to save polar bears.

 

Exposure! when you used to retrace the steps of heroes on your way to work in Intramuros, everyday you saw pedicab drivers and their spread feet, scavengers and their children, and roofs so loosely covering houses. Everyday these were your motivation, and no matter how absurd or impossible your poverty reduction targets seemed, you saw the faces that would someday reap them.

 

Exposure! Back at the Makati CBD, how compelling would your social responsibility be when there is only the charmed life, or at least the promise of it> there are not a lot of hungry urchins and definitely no helpless polar bears to squeeze your heart.

 

And so dear self, i pray that you get every bit of exposure in every bit of reality. For every whiff of Chanel, a poke from a smelly scavenger. For every filling meal, the uncomfortable stirring of your soul against excess. for every reward, a stranger to share it with. For every heartache, a new opportunity.

 

This exposure comes best with a challenge — to shake up the insular, and to awaken the dream among those in the fringes of life.

 

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