Monday, October 10, 2005

Tales Of A Lone Adventurer

LIFE is a quest, very much like playing Dungeons & Dragons. You set out alone and eventually for most people, they will meet someone else and form a party. I'm one of those destined to walk this Earth alone and there are penalties for lone adventurers.

There was an occasion when I arrived at the cinema at the eleventh hour. The choice seats were gone and I had no intention of craning my neck at the front row. Then I spotted two empty seats at the back. But the box office attendant shook her head and said those were couple seats and offered to plonk me somewhere upfront. I waved a "no thanks" and walked away.

Eating at hawker centres could be problematic as well. Most hawker stalls require customers to provide their table number so they can bring their orders to them. On crowded days, this was a problem. The lone adventurer ordered his dish at a stall and pointed at a table five meters away with two empty seats. Immediately the hawker went:"Your table what number?" I walked over to verify and returned to inform the hawker. Then the hawker replied:"Your place got people sit already!" I turned around and saw a couple occupying those two seats. The girl sat down to reserve the other seat while the guy went to order their food. Nearer the stall, no one was leaving their table soon enough for me to provide an alternative. I remained standing until I was handed my plate of food. And only after wandering for 5 minutes did I manage to find a seat.

Lone adventurers are also more prone to random encounters (read Monster Magnet). Once I was having lunch at McDonald's when a middle-aged lady asked if she could share the table with me. I nodded and continued eating. Five minutes later, the lady's true form manifested before me and words praising The Creator oozed out of her orifice. My Level 3 Haste spell kicked-in instinctively.

The lone adventurer shall now tell a tale of his most recent encounter. After collecting my camera from the service centre, I went to a nearby hawker centre for a drink. One moment I was sending an SMS, and the next, a man stood before me as I looked up. At a glance, he reminded me of Jin from the TV series, LOST. The man introduced himself as someone in the advertising field. He politely requested to join me at the table and for me to spare him a few minutes. Having just collected my camera and being in a good mood, I beckoned him to have a seat.

The man explained he was doing a survey for a new product, 'soon to be launched in the market'. He wanted feedback on the design and packaging. I was wondering what product it could be. Perhaps a new MP3 player. Saving my breath, the man told me his product was a men's perfume. Somehow, I could smell trouble but I maintained an open mind nonetheless.


Rummaging through his duffle bag, the man whipped out the following and placed it on the table (I've reproduced the bottle and packaging as best as I can remember. The imagery on the packaging was obtained from another site but it is the exact image used):



STORY OF LOVE...ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER?

With lightning fast reflexes, the man grabbed the bottle and sprayed on my hand. Before I even had time to react, he asked me what I thought of the fragrance. Containing my urge to shape-shift and maul him, I replied I do not use perfumes as I have a sensitive nose. The man gave me a blank look. I added that even then, I could still comment on the packaging. The man was all ears. I had no issue with the design of the bottle (although I could have sworn I had seen a similar design before) but the packaging design was begging to be decimated by Level 40 Heaven's Strike.

"Do you know who this person is?" I asked, pointing to the packaging. "It's Arnold", he replied. I explained that the brand name was inconsistent with the imagery used. There's no way a cigar-chomping Arnold (what's more, an action movie star) was going to pass off as an icon of romance. The man was quick to reply:"But Arnold isn't an actor anymore." I retorted:"But putting a governor's face on a perfume packaging doesn't convey love and romance either."

The man went silent for a few seconds, then he gave this reply: "BUT...somewhere between an actor and a governor, you could find love."

Thankfully, I made a successful saving throw against rapid grey matter decomposition. I went on and told him that as a consumer, I wouldn't be convinced to buy the product. "But this perfume is made in Paris. Perhaps the French see Arnold as romantic", the man exclaimed. "But you're marketing the product in Singapore", I replied. The man went silent again. Reaching for his duffle bag again, he whipped out two ladies' perfume bottles and made an offer:"Story Of Love will soon be sold in shops at $89.90. But if you purchase one now, it will only cost you $19.90. Plus, you'll get these two ladies' perfume free." I reminded the man the I do not use perfumes and I had already provided the feedback he wanted. Looking dejected, the man thanked me for my time and walked away.

The lone adventurer gulped down the remaining sugar-cane juice and went on his way...

8 comments:

ANDY said...

Well lone adventure-ers does have their benefits though.
I personally enjoy the freedom and the pressing-free of time when being in a company.

Moon said...

well~ try not be a loner...

even if it is, then try to look aggressive :p

frannxis said...

Despite the penalties, I'm sure you agree that loners have advantages.

Being a loner is not something everyone can do. I think they are independent, adventurous and courageous people.

professor said...

I like this entry! A personal heartfelt passage, something different from the artwork entries.

Love, life and loneliness, sigh...

(which reminds me that I haven't blogged for a week already)

<*ANGEL*> said...

Hmm.. wat about putting tissue paper on the table/seat like the working class do in tanjong pagar to CHOP YOUR LONE RANGER SEAT??:P

Pisto1a. said...

Really good blog. I have been a loner for 22 years already and at first I was hardened to get a female warrior to join my party but now I have realized how important it is to survive on one's own first b4 doing so. Its not as if the world's all about getting a companion man. Thats societal made pressure...

Anonymous said...

hihi... You can say u have find a newfound fan in me. Just got to know yr blog and have been reading down the list of entries. I've to say this particular entry touched me. I'm a lone ranger too. I like to watch movie and dine alone often. Most of the time, it's by choice becos I hate to impose on others and it's a training on how to survive alone bah.....

-Applehaven

Sensei Michael said...

Ah! Dungeons and Dragons! Those were the days, when I progressed from Basic to Expert to Companion to Master, then to AD&D 2nd Ed...by the time 3rd Ed came around, I was full to my neck with children and work responsibilities.

Being a lone adventurer does have its advantages indeed. This Mage really needs his Warrior Princess around to hack the monsters, or he's in trouble when his spells are all spent!

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