Supremacy of the shafts

We're four days into 2013, and I've been working for three of those days.

Well, roughly. Nothing much is going on. Okay, that's an understatement. Nothing is going on. You can tell, because I'm blogging right now, and I've written a week's worth of blog entries for earthings! yesterday.

I know most of you are already knee-deep into work in the first (truncated) work week of the year, and I feel for you, because I don't like my situation either. This happens when you can't do the things you're supposed to do at the beginning of the month because the people who were supposed to give you the things you need to do... wait, this is a long, convoluted sentence. Rephrase. The people who are supposed to give me the things I need to do the things I need to do were on leave, or are on leave, which means all of us are catching up. And since they haven't, I'm sitting idle.

It's been a weird three days. I realize it's because New Year's Day fell on a Tuesday. This has never happened in my employed life until this year. My last four first days of the year fell on a weekend, so I had a buffer of sorts between the last legal holiday and the day I return to work. (Last year's was, of course, different, since I was working at home, and while everybody was on holiday I was going through my backlog and getting bored in the process, because it's just damn lonely working on the last week of the year.) You're pretty much afloat in your own bubble, wondering where the traffic in the roads are, and why the office is empty, and why you have to work while the higher-ups get to sleep in a few days more.

Okay, that last bit, I shouldn't complain about, because I did decide not to extend my leave until today. Besides, I needed to submit something to our regional office on Wednesday. (They haven't answered. Are they on holiday too?) I mean, I could have, but I didn't. During my week off I had the feeling that my work is piling up, never mind that everybody else is off. I guess it's because I was still checking my work email, albeit involuntarily, a way to... nah, I'll skip the techno mumbo-jumbo.

Yeah, I guess I am still a bit of a workaholic.

It's weird being the only one away at half past five in the morning. Downside is, the task of turning off all the lights outside falls on you. Upside is, you're not beholden to anybody else's habits - my brother's classes resume on the 10th and without his thirty-minute showers I end up leaving my house early. Really early. As in, I leave before the sun rises and I arrive in Ortigas with my office still locked shut. And then, ten hours of trying to think of what else to do, because you've already caught up with everything you can catch up with, and the rest, you need your higher-ups' go-signal before you start.

It all sunk in on Wednesday, when me and a colleague returned to our office after lunch, and realized that there are no lines whatsoever. We were the only ones in the elevator.

"Never pa 'to nangyari before," I said, amazed.

"Oo nga," he said, chuckling.

The following day, the black jackets returned. Elevators are full again. I will speak no ill of them now because, apparently, one of the people who's watching the Dia Frampton concert tomorrow, who I started talking to on Twitter thanks to the magic of blogging, is one of them.

"Kalaban namin kayo sa elevator," I told Allene today.

"Maybe during lunch breaks," she answered.

"Lunch breaks, yes. Eh ang baba ko, usually, 11.45. Nakuuuu, kung alam mo lang."

"We also have the same problem. Some people on the lower floors get in the elevator all the way up."

We definitely did that. If your enemy is a grumbling stomach, the last thing you want to see is an elevator open in front of you, only turning out to be packed to the seams with black jackets.

"I'd like to see it as revenge," I said.

"We're even then," she replied.

While this conversation was happening, I slowly realize that I've seen before in this building. I know this because I feel I probably gave her a weird stare on the elevator, in one of those days when we'd fight for supremacy of the shafts. And this will all happen again next week, when everybody else returns to work and Manila gets cramped all over again. Just like before. It's annoying, but it's oddly comforting.

Also, it's Friday. I get to go home an hour early, which means more time for... you know, stuff.

And your responses...

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