view from the 11th floor
Because I used to work in an environment where the working hours go way beyond the nine to five schedule, I felt, no, I thought I was special. Special in the sense that unlike the seemingly ordinary office worker, I don't have the same rigid rules and routine. It is as if the wild working hours were a testament to my creativity. Of course, it was not. I would drag my tired and smelly self towards the MRT platform at 5 in the morning and observe — not without condescension I must add — the early morning passengers that have begun to surround me. I would look at them—newly bathe and ready to start the day— and think about how ordinary their lives were. Ordinary in the sense that their days do not differ that much from each other. They wake up to the loud ruckus of the alarm clock (or in some cases, their mother's loud grating voice), haul themselves to the bathroom and later fling themselves to the streets where they are usually greeted by mind-numbing traffic. And by the time they arrive home from work at night, their brains have been fried by all the hassles that all they have to do is rest their heads on the pillow and their body would automatically shut off. I've lived this kind of life before, back when I was a copywriter in Makati. The MRT was still being constructed then and the debris that cluttered EDSA made the traffic all the more hellish. I used to think that by the time I reach my office, I was already ready to die. It was such a traumatic experience that I have begun to regard the 9 to 5 routine with great contempt.
Last Monday, however, I started working for an animation festival and against my better judgment, it's actually a 9 to 5 job. I'll be working as a festival coordinator for the next month and a half, or at least after the event, which will be held on November. It couldn't be more different from my previous work. For starters, I have to wake up at six in the morning so I could be at the office at nine. I know, my former officemates would be shocked once they hear about this. I think during my entire stay at TAPE I never made it on time. I was always, always late.
Surprisingly though, last Monday I was up even before six am. More surprising is the fact that I was actually upbeat, even excited to go to work. I borrowed my boyfriend's blue polo shirt, wore my khaki pants, and went out of the house with a rather large grin. I even thought that I was cute. I boarded a bus, which, of course, was filled to the rafters. I squeezed my way in, secured a seat and stared at the window for an hour or so until my bus reached my destination. My new office is on the 11th floor of a fairly swanky building in Libis. It is, indeed, a far cry from the dump that I'm used to in my previous occupation.
Suffice to say that in the last few days, I've lived a normal life. Gone are the days when I have to suffer through a 72 hour editing session. I no longer sweat myself in directing two-bit actors who would never merit even a footnote in TV history. I have even begun wearing polo shirts and have, in fact, detested my old get-up: lousy, loose shirts and large over-sized pants. I'm thinking of giving myself a wardrobe makeover so that for once I can assimilate with the other yuppies in the elevator.
I'm not sure if this is a momentary fancy but I rather like going home at five pm. I don't feel normal but neither do I feel special. But I'm glad that the office cubicle, which I used to find claustrophobic, no longer feel as oppressive. In fact, I rather fancy writing in a high rise building. When bored, I would look down at the streets below and amuse myself.
"So this must be how God looks at us," said Laisa the first time we arrived at the office.
I took a peek at the Libis streets. It's a nice view, actually. Better than the one I am accustomed to. But I don't feel omnipresent. In fact, if there is anything that the view does to me is that it seduces me to jump.
Picture above: Full disclosure, I pilfered the photo from someone else's flicker account. apparently, it was taken by a photographer with the alias manfrommanila.