Plans

are made only to be cancelled.

Since all of the plans I had made for the 26th with high school and college friends were cancelled twice before we finally determined they wouldn’t push through, I just decided to go to the clinic the next day to have the results of my electrocardiogram evaluated.

And when it occurred to me that all the paperwork had been stashed away in my office locker, almost forgotten and mostly crumpled, I figured: The hell with it. I am on leave and it’d really be nice not to stumble upon anybody from the workplace today.

Based on the general physician’s diagnosis last week, the cardiologist would probably just tell me that everything’s fine and dandy with my pathetic blood-pumping organ and if I’d stop pining for that certain person the chest pains would completely disappear in no time. What’s more, he would perhaps conclude that I’m a hypochondriac. Or a lazy ass who’d find the lamest excuse to get a hold of that very precious medical certificate and not report for work. I’d prefer the former even if the latter sounds more truthful.

Starters

After the self-diagnosis, I merrily made a beeline for one of my favorite places: the book store. Even if I vowed not to buy any book until I reach the last page of Looking for Alaska (John Green), nothing stopped me from getting Starters (Lissa Price) off the shelves (I almost grabbed The Fault in Our Stars and the Hunger Games boxed set and some books from Booksale but poverty–). I figured it’s about time for another addition to the pile of books I would never have the leisure to finish reading; promises are made to be broken anyway, in the same way that plans are made to be cancelled.

I’m sure I’d regret this later and forget the book as soon as I leave the coffee shop but, well, as per my life philosophy: The hell with it. 

Nai-post sa Chop suey, Family and friends, Photographs, Workplace woes | Tagged , , , | 3 mga puna

One day,

not too long ago, we were out on an after-shift stroll at the mall. We were walking side by side, arms swaying

but barely touching,

while talking about absolutely nothing, like what we’ve always been doing. When our forearms caught each other for a moment, I felt a spark—

was it the proverbial spark that has become a staple in most love songs and romance novels all over the world?

—which, I think, was more of an indication that we are electrically-charged beings bound to attract or repel at the slightest contact, depending upon the circumstances. I didn’t know if you had felt it too but I kept my mouth shut anyway so as to let the silence supersede the tension in the air. We walked on,

talked on.

As we were passing by an area congested with people, my peripheral vision alerted me that you were about to hold my hand. Perhaps this was wishful thinking—

I guess you were just trying to lead me through the crowd by holding my wrist or my elbow

—but I didn’t have the chance to know for certain because, slowly and subtly, I hid my hand behind my back. I tried to conceal my smile as I sensed you smile beside me.

Somehow, when we have moments like this, it crosses my mind that I could never move on, but I know, one day,

and when that day comes I’d probably cringe while reading this

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The sorry story

Between the two of us, I guess it’s always you who concedes first, apologizes first. Serves you right, I used to think, for being the first to get infuriated, the first to feel unappreciated.

I could bear not talking to you for days, weeks, months—pleased with the fact that you would, most probably, chase me right after I walk out of the room, leave a letter or a poem on my armchair, nudge me on the arm by lunchtime. I took comfort in being the ‘girl’ friend, the one who couldn’t be needy, the one who couldn’t be clingy.

But now, it occurs to me—who cries foul and gives up easily on the friendship even if she’s the one who makes you feel infuriated and unappreciated almost simultaneously?

I feel so sorry for asking too much of you. I am so sorry to ask too much from you.

The 31-day Writing Challenge Day 13: Issue a public apology

Nai-post sa Bitter sweets, Emosentishit, Family and friends, Nostalgia, Prompts, Shorts, Write stuff | Tagged , , | 1 Puna

The last second chance

Dance Dance Dance, Haruki Murakami

I am not trying to be some voracious reader here who quotes profound passages by famous authors every now and then; to tell you honestly, I haven’t had enough Murakami to completely comprehend him. I have read Dance Dance Dance (on e-book! Goodness!) and Kafka on the Shore but I am not sure I fully understood them. Norwegian Wood is currently on my ever-growing book backlog and from what I’ve seen on its movie adaptation I’m not so certain whether I’d get what it’s trying to say or… I just think the quote best describes this ‘mid-year crisis’ (or, well, quarter-life crisis?) I’ve been embroiled in of late.

So I tried to enroll this school year. While spending the after-shift hours going to the university and dealing with its inconsiderate officials, of course I was looking forward to being a working student again, finishing my degree, and meeting awesome people who write, but at the same time (in the usual MG fashion: changing decisions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week), I was also thinking if getting the diploma still mattered to me or what. I ended up giving up anyway and due to this failed attempt to go back to school, the chance of working part-time in the company had flown out of my grasp along with the hopes of cutting the daily bullshit by half. I was devastated.

Faced with the reality of working full-time forever, it dawned on me that I’ve been doing it for the past twelve months and at this point everything seems so pointless.

You see, I get restless when it occurs to me that what I’m doing leads me nowhere, thanks to the quotes I’ve been reading all over the intarnets on a daily basis stating (in a thousand different ways) that you should put an end to whatever it is that makes you unhappy in suspended animation. But what can a poor girl do? When I feel that I’m wasting my life slaving in an industry I know I’m not meant to be in, an office friend’s words ring in my head

“Hindi ko iniisip na nagsasayang ako ng panahon dahil nagtatrabaho naman ako at hindi tumatambay lang.”

That friend, who shall be called JK (not Rowling), is still with the company and has just enrolled for this semester, again.

The talk with my immediate superior led me to file a two-week leave of absence which I dubbed as “prolonging the agony” because he had hinted that he doesn’t want me to just leave for good. Somewhere in between the filing and the approval of the LOA, I changed my mind and figured that it’d be a waste of time if I already knew what my decision would be.

All things considered, I think I can still keep the job, up to a point. I’d be giving this another shot—a second chance… the last second chance.

The 31-day Writing Challenge Day 4: Favorite quote and why you love it

Nai-post sa Emosentishit, Family and friends, Open secrets, Prompts, Workplace woes, Write stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 4 mga puna

Hi, my name is MG

On the same day 21 years ago, a woman would probably have been in the hospital, along with her husband, expecting to introduce a bundle of new life to the world in the form of a baby girl. Little did they know that the baby had intended to come out on the following day and that if she could choose, being a girl would be out of the question.

Kristine, Naisha, and Graciela might have been in the list of names the woman had, if she had listed anything at all in the course of nine months, for the human who’s about to add to the skyrocketing Philippine population. I want to think she had prepared more cool-sounding names than the aforementioned but only ended up with the, uh, least creative one because that’s what she could only muster to say in her has-just-given-birth state. I don’t want to know whether she had planned to give her that name from the very beginning, in that “Ooh, I’m pregnant, let’s call her Mary Grace!” kind of way, or what.

That would be unacceptable.

I’m thankful, though, that they had not done the most unacceptable thing, which is to deny her the life she’s supposed to have; not that I’m thinking they would, given all the chances in the world. Mary Grace, or MG, may not have turned out to be the daughter they’re expecting her to be, but I could tell them that she’s trying. For the past 21 years, she’s been trying.

The 31-day Writing Challenge Day 1: The story of your life in 250 words or less

Nai-post sa Existential angst, Family and friends, Prompts, Write stuff | Tagged , , | 1 Puna

The sum of its parts

I have been reciting this opening spiel for a year now

“Thank you for calling (insert name of an American prepaid phone service provider which goes very well with my phone name), this is Mary speaking. May I have your name and the phone number that you’re calling about?”

and nothing has changed so far. All right well maybe some things did change: I’m not very dumb now in answering phone calls, in and out of work, and I’m sort of confident in speaking now, in general. I still suck at making small talk, though. When customers attempt to engage me in a conversation all of a sudden, I get totally rattled that my tongue fails to be in sync with my brain.

ME: Let me just refresh the system here because it’s going kinda slow… *click click*
CUSTOMER: So it’s a Sunday, huh.
ME: But where we’re located, it’s actually a Monday.
CUSTOMER: Oh, I’m talking to the future!
ME: *laughs* Yes, you are sir.

I never really thought that I would be with the company for so long.

*

Obi, the office buddy (not his real name, of course), had told me one day in April that he’d be filing his resignation soon and asked me if I’d like to join him in applying as a slave to a new set of masters in a different company. I declined the offer and told him that if I’d leave the company for another of the same kind, then I’d rather stay where I am.

I’ve always told myself that I’ll only leave when I’m secured of a future in the industry where my heart belongs, that the main reason I’m staying is that I don’t want to be considered a call center hopper, afraid I might be stuck in a vicious cycle of jumping from one center to another. I believed those reasons all along.

Obi already left, along with the people I love hanging out with, and I am still here.

**

I have observed that those who have been with the company for quite a long time have more tendency to whine about their job than those who have just begun. I guess that’s true most of the time given the series of rant I’ve written down on this blog and my little black notebook. Mostly it’s about the customers and this particular teammate who thinks she knows more than other people do when obviously, she doesn’t. I mean, hey, I can tolerate braggarts just as long as they have the right to boast, but this girl is just ugh.

A couple of days ago, as luck would have it, we had to share a station during training

STUPID TEAMMATE: Ano nga ‘yung tawag dun? Dun sa dalawang linyang pahiga?
ME: Equals sign.
STUPID TEAMMATE: Yun lang ba tawag dun? Ang alam ko may iba pa eh. Kasi yung isa (she’s referring to this: &), ampersand eh.
ME: Oo nga, ampersand nga. *As if I’m asking. Duh-mb. You clearly don’t know who you’re messing with.*

And then when our trainer was discussing something about our knowledge base

TRAINER: So if you’ll be saving a document under My Favorites, the page will become static.
STUPID TEAMMATE: Staggard.
ME: *WHAT?! Okay, MG, suffer fools gladly. I’ll be shutting up but gahd does that have something to do with the word static? Staggard? That’s not even a word in the first place!*

She already knows that I don’t like her; I made that clear when I had confronted her a few months ago upon learning that she was saying things behind my back. One day I’m going to give her a piece of my mind again.

***

Does familiarity really breed contempt? I don’t believe that, except in some rare instances, and I think familiarity is one of the reasons I cannot just leave.

Team Peter

Nai-post sa Chop suey, Emosentishit, Photographs, Workplace woes | Tagged , | 4 mga puna

How to write a resignation letter

Should I begin with the pleasantries and salutations? The ‘hi’s and ‘hello’s? Forgive me; I really don’t know how to write a resignation letter, mainly because in most of the offline occupations I had, I left without saying a word, without the formality of a closure.

Should I state my name first followed by a comma and the position I’m about to give up I’ve already given up on? And then should I segue to the things I learned as a part of the institution? Because frankly, I think it taught me a lot, not only on things concerning my ability to write, but also on matters concerning my capability to trust people and work with a team. I have learned how to have faith in others, particularly in the juniors, only to see them leave one by one, until I noticed that there’s nothing left but a shitload of excuses.

I never really intended to leave and join the ranks of those kids but I have to admit that I also got excuses myself. The first one being—I can no longer write.

It must be apparent with the composition of this piece of crap you’re reading. In this kind of full-time job where people are trained to recite the same spiel for the entire shift, to sugarcoat lies with ‘positive phraseology’ and ‘empassure‘ (empathy + assurance) statements, and to be yelled at by mostly racist white-skinned monkeys, creativity and coherence are hard to come by. While it is true that I can still practice being a walking correction fluid, thanks to those who are so fond of replacing ‘has been’ with ‘was been’ and asking questions like ‘did you made a payment?’ or ‘how did it went?’, it wouldn’t suffice.

Sometimes, dealing with my colleagues in person is more frustrating than talking to customers on the phone. It’s so exhausting it dries up what’s left of the creative juice in my system. And to be honest, I’d rather just sleep than write at the end of each shift.

So to spare you the bother (because of this habit of not attending meetings and avoiding your text messages), I am rendering my resignation.

But wait, should I end this with ‘sincerely yours’ or ‘have a great day’ or something to that effect? Forgive me, I really don’t know how to write a resignation letter, so should I just, uh, leave without this so-called formality of a closure?

Nai-post sa Nostalgia, Open secrets, Workplace woes, Write stuff | Mag-iwan ng puna

LBN

LBN

So I finally bought a new notebook today, was accompanied by someone who didn’t know how important it is to someone like me. I’m no longer used to be around people who don’t know why I write, why I enjoy my solitude, and why I don’t like explaining things.

But the notebook doesn’t mean that this blog would now go to waste… that is if it hasn’t reached that state yet. I’d still probably write random randomness here like

1.) how I’ve never felt so broke in my life until today, which is, ironically, a pay day,

2.) the sudden, and fleeting, longing for someone who can keep me company in a coffee shop right after shift just to share stories and write shit like a fcking needy human being, and

3.) how I watched Obi ignore me for the entire shift and how I did not make any effort to talk to him first because that’s his job, duh that would only underscore my neediness

Okay, bye.

Nai-post sa Chop suey, Photographs, Shorts | 2 mga puna

Day off ruminations (is back)

Only now do I realize that I’ve been thrown off-course again, after checking out the qualifications for other job posts within the company out of curiosity and doing an assessment of my performance at work recently.

March has been good so far, compared to the bloody month that is February wherein the goal trackers in my page are all highlighted in red—meaning I did not meet the goals in issue resolution, handle time, adjustments, customer satisfaction, etc. As one teammate aptly remarked, “Ayos ang stats natin ah, Valentine’s na Valentine’s!” The introduction of the new platform to work with that month would be a good explanationcuse but that’d be lame, hello. I’m halfway through my ninth month (can you believe it?) in the company and it would have been better had I not received a 1/NO a week ago for a call that was disconnected from the customer’s end.

I am thinking of getting back to the career path shit I had thought of before, not that I intentionally veered away from it. Setting up a goal, no matter how absurd it might seem, helped me through a lot of situations that required the ‘suffer fools gladly’ mantra (logged in or logged out) during the past few months. It’s just the 18th, probably not too late yet to straighten things out.

So do I sound like someone who intends to stay with the company for good? I hope not, because I don’t.

Nai-post sa Workplace woes | Tagged , , | Mag-iwan ng puna

Hell hath no fury like a girl scorned

Feeling particularly lonely on Thursday afternoon, I texted two of my friends and asked

“Wala kayong balak magsayang ng oras ngayon?”

but only one replied in the affirmative and we agreed to meet up over coffee before my shift starts at midnight. So I took a nap first and the next thing I knew, which is hardly surprising, I overslept. I only had twenty minutes left to prep up and this prompted me to do one of the things I dread doing—ride a cab. Probably because I’m uncomfortable being alone inside a car with a stranger on the steering wheel. Also, a cab ride doesn’t come cheap, duh. But it’s raining anyway so the hell with it. I hailed the cab, shelled out P120 reluctantly and saw Thirdy waiting outside the coffee shop.

Dark mocha frappe, PDI's op-ed section, and some sampler which tasted more or less like rejection.

Dark mocha frappe, Philippine Daily Inquirer’s op-ed section, and some sampler which tasted more like rejection.

We were halfway through our conversation, which was mostly composed of the reasons he left his job at this certain media outfit also known as the initials of a former female president, the reasons I’m frustrated with my job, the journalists/writers we still look up to, the things we both like doing, and the usual random and intimate stuff friends talk about, when some guy sitting at the table next to us called me by my last name.

I turned towards his direction and saw Kuya Neil, one of my senior org-mates in an art-related club back in college, smiling at us.

Thirdy and I grinned and then laughed when it dawned on us that he probably heard most of what we’re gossiping about. I managed to say this in between suppressing my laughter and feeling embarrassed

“Kanina ka pa nandyan? Ba’t hindi kita napansin?!”

“‘Di, ngayon-ngayon lang, nakapag-post na nga ako ng picture nyo sa Facebook eh.”

Caught on cam.

Caught on cam.

I brought out my phone and saw the picture. Thank God my parents aren’t on Facebook (well my relatives are, but they won’t be that concerned). They didn’t know I left home early because I’d be meeting a guy friend. If they knew they’d either freak out or bother me about it to no end.

We invited Kuya Neil over our table and then resumed the talk with a bit of awkwardness. But Thirdy is one hell of a conversationalist so we got along just fine until we parted ways an hour before midnight. I don’t know if I felt glad having Kuya Neil as an unexpected company but I had fun nevertheless.

I entered the company with a smile. I felt even happier when I saw my new supervisor at the production floor. He greeted me with

“May station ka na ba?”

“Naghahanap pa lang po.”

“Itatabi sana kita kay Gian eh, kung okay lang sa ‘yo.”

“Uhm, okay Boss.”

Boss was being his supportive and adorable self I just wanted to hug him. He looks like a teddy bear, really. A fatherly teddy bear.

So Gian is this newbie I’m crushing on who belongs to the same wave as some of my new teammates. He wasn’t there yet as I was looking for a working station so anyone could actually sit beside me and put an end to my fantasies. I went to the pantry for a moment, came back with two of my teammates and Obi(!) who had reported for work because he didn’t know it’s his team’s off, and saw Gian seated beside my station. For real.

I was pretty tensed during the first half of the shift primarily because Obi almost blew my cover when he dropped by my station minutes before midnight. I hadn’t told him anything about the kid so I thought I was safe until he asked

“Bakit ang layo mo (sa team)?”

“Wala na ngang istasyon ‘dun.”

“Meron ah…”

“Bakit na-try mo na ba kung gumagana?”

He didn’t argue any further and I just poked fun at his inability to go to work for a couple of days after he was mugged. Yes, he’s not terminated yet! Just traumatized. I did not tell him that I’m glad he’s still with the company even if he now belongs to a different team, but I did show hints that I’d love to have him for lunch, oh that didn’t sound right, what I meant was, I’d love to have lunch with him asdfkjfslkfj!

To cut to the chase, I’d just say that I almost thought it was a perfect day—I sat beside my crush and committed only one or two grammar lapses throughout, Obi joined us for lunch when he should have gone home and we just acted like little kids while eating because he’s trying to approach Gian (who’s also having lunch at a table nearby) and sell me out, and I was grabbing him by his jacket and punching his right arm, the issues customers called in about were pretty light, and new teammates seemed like cool kids—until I attempted to talk to Gian.

I can’t believe I did that, either.

Some misguided soul took his chair while he’s on break and I felt kind of guilty not stopping the culprit from doing it. Gian came back apparently clueless as to where his chair went. When he logged back in, the kid didn’t even get something to sit on. He’s alternately standing and squatting by his station while taking calls.

Deeply bothered by this, I watched him from my peripheral vision for, like, twenty minutes or so. After having a few debates with my inner self, I pressed the mute button and gathered the nerve to tap on his table to get his attention.

“Uy, kumuha ka ng upuan ‘dun o.”

He nodded, glanced at me for a second, and dismissed me with his left hand.

THE FUCK DID I JUST DO.

I shrugged, released the mute button and thought, hey no big deal. I would have done the same if it happened to any other person. I would probably offer my chair or look for one if it happened to a girl. I did not let myself be all the more bothered than I was because of his reaction but WHAT THE FUCK THE FEELING WAS KIND OF WORSE THAN GETTING REJECTED.

I immediately assessed the way I’d said the words to him and I consoled myself by reasoning out that maybe, my manner of speaking came across as rude. Maybe he’s having a hard time listening to the customer he’s speaking with on the line when I tried to talk to him. Or maybe he’s just a douchebag.

I endured the shame and anger for a couple of minutes and thanked God for my last customer who complimented my English-speaking skills upon knowing that I’m from the Philippines; if not for her I wouldn’t know how to get my pathetic self-esteem back up.

I logged out at exactly nine o’clock, warned one of my team mates to not ask any more questions about that douchebag for me, asked Boss if I could leave right away and not stay for the team huddle, and stormed out of the floor as soon as I got the permission to do so.

Nai-post sa Bitter sweets, Chop suey, Family and friends, Photographs, Workplace woes | Tagged , , , , , | 10 mga puna

These days, those days

There are days when I think I can never write anything in the same way I did back then. There are days when I think, hey, I can just let myself rot in this industry and forget writing altogether.

And those days are upon me.

Nai-post sa Chop suey, Shorts, Write stuff | Mag-iwan ng puna

Obi Wan Kenobi

Snippet snippet

Snippet snippet

You see, that was written more than a month ago, shortly before I realized that Obi (and yes, not Wan Kenobi, because that’s just an alias, something I’ve made up out of ‘office buddy’ = OB yeah you get it, right?) and I can be friends… and shortly after le fabulous gayfriend, Lee, left for Iloilo.

I feel much better now, although sometimes, of course, you can’t blame me when stupid customers just don’t know where the fucking menu button is. And when my girly-girl team mates go all conceited and leave me feeling like, uh, ‘I will just shut my mouth because something bad’s going to come out of it and I don’t want to hurt your feelings’ or ‘Okaaaay, gurls I’m out of here’. Most of the time I’d rather hang out with them guys because they have less issues and when they brag too much I can just shut them up with sarcasm or punch them in the face right off. I’d actually choose Obi’s company anytime of the shift.

And I wanted to write about him and his player ways right now but I think I’d just do that when he’s officially terminated from the company. Just, you know, to give him a tribute of sorts and to let him know that lunch time’s not going to be the same without him. Hahaha. I have a feeling he’ll be kicked out very soon and I don’t even want to think about it, to be honest.

Nai-post sa Family and friends, Workplace woes | Tagged , , | 5 mga puna

‘When nothing is sure, everything is possible’

I clicked on the Add New Post link without anything in mind to write about — maybe because I’m saving my thoughts so that I could have something written down on that freakin’ expensive planner I bought with the Panda a week ago. I’ve been eyeing it from the very beginning, uh, I mean, from the time I stopped fantasizing about the Starbucks planner and spending for so much caffeine, but now I kind of regret this choice since it doesn’t have enough space wherein I can write  a detailed account of my everyday life (OH YEAH, I do have a life).

Belle de Jour’s Everything is Possible planner

And the biggest thing that occurred to me thus far is: I should have bought a journal and not a planner. I’ve been searching the internets for an interesting journal up until now, but my frugal self is begging me not to do something stupid; I’ve guzzled coffee that’s worth more than a thousand pesos for a planner that I did not get and now I’m planning to ditch this damn pricey planner just because I did not assess my options well enough?  Geezus. Yes, I tend to overthink, but not about the things that matter.

Nai-post sa Chop suey, Shorts | Tagged , , | Mag-iwan ng puna

Freehand

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, which, I think, is a good thing for someone who’s engaged in a job where thinking isn’t quite a requirement. However, the frequency of the thoughts coming in and out makes it all the more difficult to put them down on paper.

Or perhaps I’m just making excuses.

For the past few months that I’m going through the motions of being an agent, I think I’ve become a robot and writing isn’t really a part of the routine. I should have stuck with the habit of bringing a little notebook to the floor every shift. The only thing that worries me is this: What if a misguided soul happens to be intrigued by that notebook and takes a peek inside? I’m not exactly thrilled when people read my thoughts especially when they’re from the workplace. That’s one of the reasons I took down the blog that I had been writing on for quite a while.

And it’s kind of interesting to note that there’s this person from work who’s one of the reasons I decided to go back, well not really back to the same blog, but back to blogging. I haven’t decided yet if I should be writing about that certain person here but I think I would.

Nai-post sa Workplace woes | Mag-iwan ng puna

Day off ruminations IV

I should have seen this coming.

But perhaps I’m too jaded to really feel anything that resembles romantic love from anybody. Well, it’s a given that you’ve stirred something in me (that’s what led me to write about you for the first time and somehow state the reasons why we can’t get closer than what we were then) but I did not take it seriously, because primarily, I cannot feel anything special from your actions. Also, I did not want to assume anything because once I do, I know perfectly well that I’m going to fall hard and be disappointed big time.

And so it happened. Life is doing an encore.

I pushed you away because I am so damned afraid that the walls I’ve built around my vulnerable self would be broken down the second I let my guard down. Heck, you were getting too close, even admitted that you like me because I’m mysterious and witty and a writer (I doubt this, you know, but thanks for the compliment anyway), and I’m sorry I can’t help it but I’ve been broken once and I cannot afford another heartbreak. Maybe if you weren’t committed to someone else I would have changed my mind. LOL. You should have realized how unfair this setup is for me. I don’t care if you said that you’d have pursued me if you didn’t have a girlfriend; that reasoning is just so wrong I really have to cut you off.

But I did not know that you’re gonna make things even more awkward by avoiding me like the plague every shift. You should know how hard this is for me, especially since our supervisor assigned me to be your ‘buddy’ as part of her newbie-tenured agent seating arrangement action plan, but yeah, who am I to complain? Maybe you were hurt by the last message I have sent you or what, darn it I don’t know, I wanna ask you about it, but oh darn it. We can still be friends, right?

Nai-post sa Bitter sweets, Emosentishit, Workplace woes | Mag-iwan ng puna