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Today, i turn 40.
Yet it feels like another ordinary day. No plans. No celebration. It has been like this for more than a decade now.
I wish i can have one birthday where my year and life is celebrated. Im so tired of always taking the backseat.
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After a few years as Army Officer with the Engineering Brigade , i spent a decade working in the BPO Industry. While I can say that during my 4 year stint in the Army was a life changer , the 11 years in the BPO industry was generally Wild , Exciting and mostly stressful . On my 11th year , i decided that i will have to cut short my BPO adventures and started working for a company that shows a promising prospect in the mining and construction industry .
In 2012 i was primarily station in Camarines Norte working as Admin Staff for Gold Mining Project , when there were issues about production discrepancies I was delegated to conduct an ad hoc performance and production evaluation . From an Admin Staff, I was Promoted to Process Engineer overnight . 11 months after I was hired I was the Process Implementation MAnager for the site and my Roller Coaster Career started from that point on.
One of the good things about my work is that i travel a lot most of the time . Over the span of 10 years i have visited most of Southern Luzon, the Entirety of Northern Mindanao , most of the Islands of Tawi Tawi, about 3/4 of ARMM and the southern part of Palawan. I also stayed at the contested Waters of West Philippine Sea since i was stationed at Pagasa Island for about 10 month
During the height of PAndeminc , despite the travel restrictions and ever changing Travel Guidelines , i was one of the few people in our company that was given special clearances to travel to active project sites . The only Quarantine that i experience was being confine to a One Star hotel at Tagbiliran Bohol for 1 one night , just so that i complied the provincial quarantine guidelines . While I am a firm believer about the dangers and how fatal Covid 19 presents I was really sure that i will not succumb to that disease .
Because of the limited deployment of competent technical personnel , most of the site and department managerial functions were temporarily assigned to me by default . this method while practical and efficient, has slowly develop a mental strain on my part . im developing work insomnia , i have to drink significant amount of alcohol in order for me to have an 8 hour sleep and despite of training capable subordinates , i cant shake the feeling that somewhere in the work process , things will go awry . i have to exert extra effort just to be focus.
from my own perspective , everything is not good enough , while i encourage my immediate subordinates to be creative and Innovative , i frown on their inefficient and untimely output . Maybe im just saturated with work or maybe i have not noticed that my added responsibility has changed my outlook without me noticing it . Im slowly becoming to a boss that i always avoided .
can work really change a person ? or im just not used to having this amount of authority that want to impress my superiors rather than earning the respect of my subordinates and peers .
One fine Saturday afternoon, Dot took Birdie out for a an hour’s walk when a middle aged couple were walking at the opposite direction. They waved at her and said “ Hi, Come here, we want to talk to you”. So Dot walked across the street to meet them and they had a light conversation with her.
“What’s your name?” they asked.
“My name is Dot and this is my dog Birdie”, She replied curtly and shyly while Birdie kept tugging his leash.
“I’m Ben and this my wife Jerry, is it okay if we invite you to sit with us at our front porch?” the Husband asked.
“ Sure thing! “ Dot replied and walked with the couple back to their house.
The couple only lived a few blocks from where I live and it was a short sunny trail towards their humble abode. Dot kept Birdie next to her as she sat on straw chair and the husband was sitting across her while the wife went inside to prepare some refreshments. He started ‘interviewing’ Dot.
“ So, where’re you from?”.
“ The Philippine Islands”.
“ Oh We’re from Washington originally and we love filipino food!”.
“ Oh, Yeah? Which one?”
“ I think its pansh*t and pulabog”.
“ You mean Pansit and Palabok – they’re good!”. Dot giggled a bit and the wife came out and brought a tray of ice cold tea.
“ By the way , Dot, do you know our daughter Lena?”
“ Yes, I know her, we ride the school bus together, isn’t she a Junior this fall?
“ Yes she is. We’d like to ask you something and I hope you wouldn’t mind.”
“ What is it?”. Dot asked while sipping her drink.
“ We’d like if you can hang out with her for awhile, like talking to her and ,you know be friends with her”.
“ I don’t know about that sir because she’s a little older than me”. Dot replied.
“ She’s an okay kid but she doesn’t have friends, We’re worried that she might miss out her chance having friends in highschool”. Jerry exclaimed.
“ Where’s Lena?” Dot asked.
“ She’s at the Animal Shelter, taking care of critters and cats – cleaning their sand box all day”.
“ Oh okay”
“ What do you think, Dot, would you help us then?”.
“I’ll be glad to help you Mr. Ben and Jerry, I’ll tell mom about it and if she says yes- I’ll hang out with Lena!” Dot replied.
After a couple of minutes, Dot said goodbye to Ben and Jerry and walked on the trail towards our house.
When I cam home after picking up some groceries from Walmart, Dot was excited about the ‘grown-ups’ she’d met and also about their daughter named Lena.
Lena. I remember that kid.
She couldn’t even looked straight ahead with her hair all over her face. She’s frail and awkward most of the time – I guess I haven’t met a kid who isn’t.
To be honest – I got worried when Lena’s parents are ‘desperate’ for their kid to have a friend or maybe a boyfriend and I think it wouldn’t hurt Dot if she would.
The next day, Dot walked to Ben and Jerry’s home and Lena was there. Lena seemed pleasant enough to greet her and waved her parents goodbye as they looked on quite happy and contented.
Dot told Lena that they’d go for a walk together and she said she’s fine with that so they did.
It turns out that Lena – after walking farther and farther away from home with Dot – is starting to show her true colors.
Lena didn’t want to have anything to do with Dot – she only want to be left alone and read her gothic romances. Dot was trying to be sociable enough as they went on their stroll but all Lena would answer is one or two syllables if she could.
After an hour of walking, Dot found an excuse to end the awkward situation and walked back home.
I was in the kitchen fixing dinner and she told me that she’s exhausted. Dot even concluded that she’s not going to be friends with Lena because she seems to be there at her parent’s behest not because she wanted to have anything to do with Dot at all.
Lena’s parents were attempting a last minute correction with her issues that should be addressed years ago. They’ve protected their daughter so well that she never have the opportunity to be properly socialized.
Perhaps fearing that their daughter that she wouldn’t have a family of her own, they now sought to socialize Lena directly than letting her develop her life by herself
Dot decided not to talk to Lena anymore nor to her parents but she occasionally waves at them hello when they’d be walking across the street. They would smile and wave back and went on their way.
At 45 I Dreamed of Death (2019 Marc 22)
At 45 the universe connected with me through my dreams, told me to hold you tight. In my dreams I saw the planet killer, devourer of life, ender of hope, the apocalypse in the form of a giant space rock. The radio said we had 2 minutes left but death pummelled through the clouds earlier than expected. I don't think it mattered. No length of time is enough to say goodbyes. We were at the top of Antipolo overlooking Ortigas. At first it was slow, beautiful almost to behold. Without warning the huge object accelerated and disintegrated buildings throwing pieces of the earth to the heavens, and then I finally realised that our love has come to an end. You were strong you faced the end, I turned my back and embraced you one last time. I said mahal na mahal kita, Love. But the pain never came. It was dark and cold, I saw stars.
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