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, 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.
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.”
“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.