Yesterday, all these happened.

Posted on: April 14, 2009

The moment the clock struck 3pm, I was all set to go. I blame it on the weather – nice and sunny and no gray clouds wandering about the sky whatsoever. Obviously, I am bluffing. The weather is awful, extremely and unbearably hot! I am guessing 39 degrees! It’s not normal even for a country which is nearly wedged on the equator. My perpetual fanaticism for the day to end has got nothing to do with it really. But it has tons to do with the day being Monday and the fact that we all just came back from supposedly four-day bliss of being far (albeit not that far away) from work. I still mumble nonsense for being stuck at home, my feet all itching to climb mountains and soak in the sun’s glorious rays. Instead, I got to know my bed better – I was on it 72 out of 96 hours.

For someone that has a poor hearing, which is very well compensated by my bionic smelling ability, I could practically hear the ticking of my officemate’s watch. I could even hear the occasional swinging of the glass doors at the reception area and the funny sound that the door access makes when someone logs in and out. And somehow, I could tell if the one guarding the gates to my freedom already called it a day. Three became four and four became five and five became six. I forgot about the time when I had to accompany a colleague who’s visiting from overseas to have lunch when everyone has practically digested theirs. By the time we got back, the office is almost empty, except for some who finds enjoyment in staying until the sun’s no more. I was one of them and I am way past that. I realized life is not meant to live with a rope tied around your neck and a flimsy excuse to fall and kill yourself.

I had an epiphany while going down the steps of my favourite place in the world – the Rufino-Ayala Ave. underpass. Strange enough, that one-minute walk amidst a river of people is on top of the quietest moments of my everyday life. It’s like my mind instantly shuts off the noise like what happens in the movies – as if He who watches over us accidentally sat on the remote and hit the mute button. That is one full minute of pure peace. Once I reach the turning point towards the escalator, I am slapped back to reality.

I’ve always been fascinated on how the people in Hong Kong and in Singapore make use of their escalators and stairs. In these countries, where everything is moving twice or thrice as faster as we normally do here, slow motion is irreverence. You’d instantly feel that you don’t belong (not that we want to). They always seem to be in a hurry. So, if you’re in an escalator and you just want to stand and indulge in the moment, always, always stay on the right side. The left lane is for those who seem to have a rodent down their behinds and can’t wait to get rid of it. One time, my ignorance about this almost brought out the tigress in me. This moronic guy literally pushed me to the side as if to say ‘Stay out of the way’ and even before I could come up with an explosive retort, he was gone – lost amidst the crowd (they all look like him) at the MTR station. And so out of mere curiosity, I tried experimenting. One time, I pretended to be in a hurry and I had to say ‘Excuse Me’ a hundred times while literally jumping two steps at a time. They made way but they are pissed. And then another time, I stayed on the left lane, just stuck there not moving an inch and blocking the way and nobody cared. Darn, why are we so laid back? It’s not a complain but an expression of awe, mind you.

Rush hour. One of those moments where I wish I took that rope instead ‘coz it’s near suicidal. This is one of those rare occasions where I use my power to snag a seat in the jeepney amidst all the commotion. Being small and quick, that is. And I don’t care one bit if the person before me smells like a rubber tire; I can always hold my breath.

What truly annoys me in that 15-20 minute ride home is the lousy music that’s playing on the background. Yesterday’s treats were ‘Temple of the King’, ‘Skyline Pigeon’ and ‘The Leader of the Band’. Santisima! The icing on the cake was my ‘seatmate’ who seemed to know all three songs by heart and decided to sing along for everyone’s amusement (or derailment?). And since we were pretty crammed in there, she was almost singing to my ears. Believe me, I summoned every patience and the remnants of it in my bones to prevent myself from blurting out something not nice. What is it with people singing in public? I really don’t get it.

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