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I realized that I hadn’t seen a good movie in quite a while (the Lightning Thief doesn’t count, grrrh) so when Nuffnang asked bloggers who wanted to go to the premiere of The Red Shoes, I signed up. It would be my first movie premiere and in keeping with the movie’s title and theme, I wanted to wear red shoes. However, when I got the e-mail confirmation and went to ransack my wardrobe for what to wear, I found that I might have quite a lot of shoes… but not one pair of them was red. I had red flip-flops, but not red shoes. Horrors! I got my wallet and headed to Divisoria. It was 11:30 a.m.

I had been at 168 Mall a couple of weeks back, looking for black shoes to wear to a book launch, and I thought I had seen –and drooled over-- quite a lot of red shoes then. I quite regretted that my limited budget at that time could let me buy only one pair of shoes, the black satin ones I needed, when there had been so many shoes I’d coveted, including red ones. So I thought buying a pair of red shoes this time around would be a cinch.

But when I got to 168 Mall and started looking for red shoes… I couldn’t find any. Horrors. Horrors twice! There were a lot of stalls selling shoes and sandals, some even at the bargain prices of P100 to P150 per pair. But… not one of those pairs were red! I combed both buildings of the mall, and several floors, and kept asking the salesladies of the shoe stores. “Do you have this in red?” “No ma’am, sorry, we don’t have red shoes.” Aaaarrrgh! I thought. There were some red step-ins and thong slippers, but I didn’t want to wear flip-flops. The movie was about red shoes, not sandals, and red shoes I would have. It became a temporary obsession. I looked at my watch. It was 2:00 p.m., and I had been told the premiere would start at 6:30. Plenty of time, I thought. Maybe I should go to Gen. Luna Street, an area I knew had some bargain shoes. Surely there could be some red shoes in that lot.

I determinedly struck out for Gen. Luna Street, crossing over to the other 168 building, thinking that if I just went straight through, I’d come out at the other end near to Luna (the former Calle Anloague that features so prominently in Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere). But somehow or other I must have gotten turned around, because when I stepped outside, in some nightmarish Twilight Zone moment I found myself… back on the way I’d come, leading to Recto. I didn’t have the heart to go back in, so I took the long way, back along Recto to the corner of McDo, and so down to that street in Divisoria where all the sidewalk vendors sell clothes and shoes and similar dry goods. I scoured that area… still no red shoes. There were black, brown, white, cream, pink, yellow, and even purple, orange, blue, green, bronze, silver, and gold, but not a red one in the lot. Horrors. Horrors twice. Horrors a third time!

I found myself on the street at the other end of 168, the part where I should have exited an hour before. Rather than retrace my steps to McDo, I thought I’d go straight down the mall to Recto, and keep my eyes peeled for red shoes along the way. Even if it were red Robertsons’ sneakers, I said, I’d buy them. As long as they were red. I was getting frustrated. It was almost 3:00 p.m. and I had to get home and out of the t-shirt and shorts I was wearing, and into the little black dress I wanted to wear to the premiere. Halfway through the mall I passed a corridor I thought I hadn’t tried before, and decided to take it. Nearly to the end, I saw a stall selling shoes… and there they were. A pair of red “ballet” shoes, with a metal accent that looked vaguely like some Chinese pattern. Bargaining the price from P350 down to P290 took quite a while… by the time I got out of the mall and was headed back to Recto to find a jeepney, it was nearer to 4:00 p.m. than 3:00 p.m. Horrors. Horrors twice, thrice, four times. I had been there for four hours! Where the streets had almost been abandoned when I arrived, they were now chock-full of people and traffic was at a crawl. The jeepney ride took forever. I was thinking that my journey was going to be a waste of time if I was late to the premiere and didn’t get to go in after all. Then, when I got to my neighborhood, more horrors. Some politician decided to hold a program with a bingo session down the nearest way home, and I had to thread my way through the huge crowd that filled the street down a whole block. I was past caring. I hope I didn’t trample anyone in my haste to get home.

Finally, I was home and dressed… and more horrors upon horrors! It was 4:30 p.m. and when I got to the main road, where I thought I’d take a taxi… it was chock-full of jeepneys. It looked like every jeepney that ever plied that route was there, and what taxis passed by were full of passengers. It didn’t help any that the jeepneys kept slowing down and expecting me to hail them… I wanted to stamp my foot in frustration. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I found an empty taxi by the simple expedient of flagging it down from afar and going out in the middle of the street instead of waiting for it to find an extra spot to come to the curb. Traffic was atrocious. It seemed like forever for us to get to Shaw Boulevard. By then, it was past 5:00 p.m. and nearer to 6:00. I thought I’d never make it to Megamall by 6:30. I looked down at my red shoes and thought that I would bitterly regret all that effort I made to find them if I didn’t get to attend the premiere after all. I had texted Judd of Nuffnang earlier saying I wasn’t going to make it by 5:00 p.m., the time that he said he’d be at the Cinema for the tickets. I texted him again saying I was on my way but I was afraid I’d be late. He said not to worry, but I couldn’t help it. It was almost 6:30 and I could see Starmall up ahead, as well as a long line of traffic. By the time I got to Megamall, it was past 6:30 and my morale was sinking fast. All dressed up and nowhere to go, I thought, damning Murphy’s Law to perdition.

My steps were dragging by the time I got to the cinemas. But wait, I thought, what’s that? I could hear voices, applause, someone speaking. I received a message from Judd telling me what to do in order to get in, and when I turned the corner, I realized I wasn’t late at all. I was just in time. DZMM’s Laila Chikadora was outside Cinema 12, interviewing the movie’s director, and people were just beginning to go in. I bought some popcorn and cola, and followed Judd’s instructions, going to the registration table and registering… and finally, I was inside and settling down for the movie.

After some exciting moments –parlor games, the film’s stars arriving and saying a few words—the movie finally began. And it was all sooo worth it (see my post for the movie review). I looked down at my red shoes and thought that they weren’t wasted after all… but I never wanted to go through something like that again. The next time I get to go to a movie premiere, I am going to make sure my wardrobe is ready ahead of time *crosses fingers*. Well, almost.

Read my review of The Red Shoes here.

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