Monday, February 28, 2005

the perfect workplace

I wrote this piece when I was so bored and irritated with my office. It was the height of that wonderful Kris and Joey marital brouhaha that suddenly became a national concern (I was actually surprised that our most honorable and idiotic legislators didn’t jump at the opportunity to conduct one of their lame senate investigations). Everyone at the office was talking about it, which really made me sick. Actually, even ordinary office gossip makes me sick. I mean, I don’t see the point! Why do they need to talk about who’s fucking who? What the hell do they care about other people’s lives? Why can’t they just live and let live?

Anyway, this piece arose out of sheer boredom and irritation. And it includes some of the things i hate about this office. Jaybee, this is for you!

8 October 2003
3:45 p. m.

For most part of the afternoon, the cubicles buzz with the dry clicking of computer keyboards. The drab, white light filtering through an equally drab aluminum diffuser glorifies my particle-board desk into an exquisite piece of furniture worthy of exhibition in the august halls of a hospital’s billing office.

I stare at my computer screen with rapture. How responsive are the keys to my bony fingers, how fast do words flow from the tips of my hands to the screen! What wonders have human beings achieved, indeed. Just imagine, I could lend form to my thoughts simply by keying them in through an ergonomically incorrect keyboard. And this is the same technology the powers-that-be use. The shit that our esteemed politicians churn out in congress pass through the same highly-advanced process of…uh…Word Processing. Wow, it’s just, wow.

Imagine the infinite possibilities—I could make my crap look like professional documents. Oh my god, the whole concept excites me so much I could cum in my pants right now!

Employees incessantly walk around as if they were actually loaded with work. With focused eyes, bent bodies, and hurried gait, they briskly stride with determination, thinking perhaps about significant implications on the world economy of the Kris and Joey split-up, and the former’s decision to withdraw formal charges. Their brows are knitted in consternation and their immense foreheads more wrinkled and convoluted than their brains. They have such laudable insights and never-before-heard ideas that would boggle Sartre and baffle Kant. You can see in their eyes the urgency of focused thought, you can read on their lips the unspoken realities of the universe, to which they will decline to give utterance at the moment. All they can manage to reveal about the secrets of our existence are golden, cryptic snippets that would keep you thinking for days on end: “Don’t judge my brother; he’s not a book!”

An empty cubicle has been transformed into a massage parlor cum chismis hub, where a wearied clerk, tired from half a day’s worth of faxing and answering calls, is being given a Swedish, shiatsu, zen-style, body massage by a wandering manang who is as regular as any permanent employee here. The heavenly scent of Vicks Vapor Rub tinges the air with nostalgia as it wafts reminiscences of those times you spent in bed with the flu—complete with headache, backache, assache, or what have you. It reminds you of the time when your mother lovingly massaged your arched back while bawling curses and expletives at you for having played in the rain naked. Oh yes, you still remember that soothing day. You can still taste the puke in your mouth. You can still feel your insides gurgling. You can still remember how your ass went “to shit or not to shit” as your elusive crap decided to play hide-and-seek in your intestines. And it’s all because of Manang the Masseuse’s Vicks Vapor Rub.

Oh yes, this office can be a haven of memories, a bastion of intellectual thought, and a sauna parlor. I feel inspired to push the limits of my intellect here. I dive into the unknown every time I come here. I plunge into important labor policy issues with the constant reminder of my childhood courtesy of hollering babies brought by colleagues who think that this office is an asylum for kids with vocal chord diarrhea.

I observe first-hand the interplay of free trade, tariff reduction, and globalization on the world market here whenever the manongs and the manangs arrive shouting “Merienda!” or “Lunch!” to which everyone scuttles, and the place is instantly transformed into a flea market that can rival even the night markets of Mongkok and Changmai.

Working here does not alienate me from my artistic inclinations. Here, I hone my acting skills by trying to look interested in what I do. I sit upright and look at the computer screen earnestly as I hurriedly switch from one internet window to the other. Here, I pretend that I’m working on a very important article for our News Digest when all I’m doing is write this stupid piece.

I become a whole person here. I reach the summit of my being in this sanctuary. Now, I can proceed to attend to more pressing matters of national importance, and ask ontological questions to decipher the meaning of life. Why is the merienda vendor called Daddy even by employees older than he is? Why can’t senior officials make their own freaking speeches? Why do we always eat the same boring pancit every birthday celebration? And most especially, why can’t that damned baby keep his blasted mouth shut?

Wow, I didn’t know that I was capable of asking such profound questions. I know I may never find the answers to my queries. So I’ll just continue on living, nurturing my existentialist angst and nourishing my Nietzschean ego while listening to the sweet crescendo of a baby’s wailings from a nearby cubicle. I’ll stay in front of this computer and ponder on life’s complexities as I sniff and go high on the scent of Manang the Masseuse’s Vick’s Vapor Rub that still clings on the air long after she’s gone. Ahh, life is so beautiful. I couldn’t ask for a better workplace.

Now where the hell did that manang go? I think I need a massage.



At 12:46 PM, Anonymous jaybee said...

thanks buddy!

write and post some more stuff here. that way, i can alternately read Dave Barry, Dilbert and your blog work!

am i glad i left THE think tank?

maybe. maybe not.

At 10:06 AM, Blogger dionne said...

masseuse??? never heard of any government office that has one! grabe ah! ala ba dito nyan? hehe! =)


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