e diel, 15 korrik 2007


i had this big foamy hazelnut espresso with Vitriolic Hedonist in one of the trendy brew shops. i felt guilty that the price of that 8-oz cup was enough to feed one meal of a family of four. the guilt lasted exactly 5 seconds...
the ever lusty id rationalized that i owed myself little treats every now and then. besides, it was Vitriolic Hedonist who shelled out the pesos for the treat. this pushed the guilt further down by several notches. the drink should have tasted creamy and smooth but instead it was downright watery the photo ad never quite connected how it actually tasted. (the guilt meter fluttered upward slightly. but i stubbornly stomped it at bay...)
settled in custom woven chairs, Vitriolic Hedonist and i started with our ritual - talking.
for us two souls, talking is almost a catharsis; an exorcism of sorts. a waft of cigarette smoke coming out of Vitriolic Hedonist's nostrils provided a screen of hazy fog that just seemed to exemplify the intensity of how Vitriolic Hedonist feels about his day - from the mundane event of not being able to sleep for 36 hours to the squabble and the domestic disagreement of two people who just didn't feel like growing up.
i returned the look with hooded lids, as if to show my empathy to the gravity of the situation. i provided the perfunctory nods and "uhmm's" when our box was invaded by the presence of two other individuals. myopic that i am, i initially thought they were shop servers. a closer look at their Lacoste and Nike shirts proved otherwise. too dandy for shop boys. they turned out to be Vitriolic Hedonist's high-school 'friends' whom he bumped earlier and invited to join us.

they began recalling their high school days as guinea pigs in one of the academic institutions known for its propensity in splitting dew molds and memorizing ALL the properties of elements on the periodic table. yes, this includes the atomic weight and on how these poodickles (this is how i call 'em) spend their free time...
the Nike shirt wearer had his snotted nose up in the air and chided Vitriolic Hedonist for declaring that being smart and graduating college isn't everything. you see, Vitriolic Hedonist was requested by his high school alma mater, the same one who teaches poodickles stuff, to give a brainwashing speech to its roost of young minds. Vitriolic Hedonist, however, being the vitriolic hedonist that he is, chose to alter the brainwashing session to a speech that encouraged independence and 'following your star' kind of thinking. the kind of option that prods you into wondering if it's completely ok not to graduate as long as you're happy and earning a thousand bucks per hour through other people's misery.
this, of course, caused the snot-nosed academicians who mentored the snot-nosed Nike shirt wearer to react most negatively. Vitriolic Hedonist tried to rationalize his 'follow your star' speech. Nike shirt wearer keeps on insisting his own straightjacket views while smoking on a cigarette that costs 1.00Php a puff.
for just a fraction of a second, i imagined them as lab mice - arguing which best route to take in the maze so they can reach the molded cheese...
i had a closer look on Nike shirt wearer and noted the immaculate way he was dressed up. even the messy hair he sported looked artfully messed up. everything was in so in place. i was looking at universal snot - an urban poodickles in the making.
all of a sudden i asked if i can take my leave. he was giving me the creeps.

e shtunë, 23 qershor 2007

a day in the life of a call-girl

i work in a call center as TSR - a technical support representative.

i am one of those who make up the dots in the ever rising statistics of not practicing the profession one graduates from the drudgery that is college. i spent about a quarter of a mil in books, travel, food, allowances, hospital affiliations, projects, presentations, case studies - all highway robbery.
college education is a killer in the Philippines. especially if you enrol in medical courses...and, more so, if you are enrolled in the college that i was in. notorious reputation that school has...

so, instead of twisting my tongue with impressing medical jargon such as facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy or oligodendroglioma; or asking questions like: "When was the last time you were able poop normally?" or "Are you sure you made him wear condoms?" or scribble notes that read like ingredients on some witches' cauldron to the untrained eye --

i am now relooping to the technical hybrid language, like "What are the status of the lights on your DSL modem?" and "When was the last time you were able to connect?" and "Mrs. Vlandaegangisheikaya, the reason you don't have Internet is because you did not pay your bill..."

the 7 out of the 8 hours i spend on the phone is troubleshooting Internet connection. of course, assuring and empathizing with the customers ("Oh, I assure you Mr. Jones that you are talking to a live human being; and I do apologize if you have to wait for 55 minutes on the queue - listening to a voice recording. However, the department that should address your queries is at the moment closed. Please call back tomorrow...") and then, starting on the 4th hour of taking in calls, my tongue goes funny and i could hear myself talking Engilonggrish... English-mixed-with-Ilonggo gibberish.

hey, i'm just being truthful. we may pride ourselves as good imitators of the English language. but there is always that point where, heavy doses of caffeine, nicotine, irregular sleep habits would eventually take its toll...
this is apparent when after saying a page full of explanations and directions, the customer would say "What - ???"
and , this is where i press on the mute button for several seconds, cuss and let out a stream of profanities in Ilonggo, unhold the mute command on my phone, go on air and say in my most saccharine voice - "Oh I'm sorry Ma'am, something's wrong with the connection - everything sounded garbled back there..but i will repeat eveything with pleasure."

and the pay? don't let me discuss the salary. puh-leeeze. i strongly feel that the Bureau of Internal Revenue is envious of a call center agent's salary and retaliates by raking in two-thirds of what we earn.

i am in a 1AM to 10Am shift. there are pre-shift and post-shift team huddles. and for some, they just huddle - in pairs. they can be found in parking lots, empty gaming rooms and lockers. call center agents who read this would know what i mean.
and, by the time i finish my shift i would be greeted by the full-blast of the noonday sun, averaging 33 degrees C... can you imagine coming from the floor (this is how we refer to our working area) with a temperature akin to that of the North Pole. you get brain freeze for 8 hours solid, and have it liquefied in a zap...
no wonder call center people party hard. side-effects of the job.
Connect. Disconnect.

e hënë, 18 qershor 2007

chastity belt

it's probably high time that i take off my chastity belt. nah, not that kind you would commonly associate it with. i'm referring to unleashing my not-so-chaste thoughts and convert it to bits and bytes or whatever you geek-squads call it, ride across the famous world-wide web...
a very good friend prodded me to create a blog - let's name him 'Vitriolic Hedonist', simply beacause he is one...he has actually made one for me two years ago, and i got as far as opening it once, looked at the screen for what seemed like 30 beats, then signed out.
now, after two years has passed, i am, however, at the moment, so listless and restless and in need to be verbose and just need to vent out some amateurish philosophies on what i see around me. i mean, that's completely okay for me to do that, right? even if they're just moot observations...for instance - blogging.
i have ran across several blog openings, saying the lines that "i don't really care if nobody reads this..." or "i don't care what you people say...", but you know what, i think these people do care if someone reads their ramblings, or post comments.
i also think that despite of all technological designs that would let us humans gain access to people across the globe in milliseconds - chatting over YM's, IM's, MIRC channels, and whatever .com's or .net's there maybe that allows one to feel that there is someone out there who is willing to pound on the computer keys and give superfluous answers to superfluous questions.
it's as if we need to validate our existence with what other people say or feel towards what we say or feel. even if we declare that we don't give a cents' sentiment about it. the fact that we feel bad that somebody has posted a comment on our blogs is whole lot, lot better than getting nothing at all.
see - it's like this, our world is loaded with 8 billion people, but at some point, we are still left with the feeling that we are - alone.
right, Vitriolic Hedonist?