Posted by: nastypen | February 5, 2007

The Day After

Last night, I was asked to be a guest on air in Y101 Cebu. I was contacted via Skype and we gabbed on for several minutes about being a cartoonist, that my inspiration for my works is “desperation,” and that if I get to represent a country in a supermodel competiton it’ll be Latvia. The connection was a bit garbled and I may have come on air as a mumbling buffoon, but I managed to draw laughs from the host. So, that was fun. And they said they’ll invite me again.

Anyway, about today’s blog title….Well, I’m just counting the days before I will leave the confines of a cubicle. Faye told me it’s like Shawshank Redemption when the prisoner is kept sane as he chips away at the wall making the hole bigger everyday and thus making his escape closer each day.

True analogy. Yet, it’s not the hole that I am after. It’s the day after.

I can’t stop reminding myself and you, my seven readers, that I have been working eversince May 2, 1999. Nonstop. In my circles of friends, and I have quite a numberof that, I am the only one to have held on working as an employee for years and the longest. That will stop after Feb 15 and I know, by this time next year, about two people will beat me in that non-stop working mode and I am not envious of them. What a paradigm shift. I do not know how it feels like to NOT go to work. All my adult life up this point was all about waking up for work, finishing vacations with dread of returning to the office. I know of NO other life but the office. Never a bum, always a sucker (that’s how a character I encountered long ago viewed on the cubicled employee…suckers). I was NEVER in-between jobs. And I am not typing these down to be heroic. Please! I am just shocked to be in this situation for so long. People who REALLY know me are adamant that I am not built for this kind of life. But who knows? Maybe I’ll end up in a cubilce in due time. But wise Faye and my wise sister tell me that one of my sins is to look 20 steps ahead which is pre-empting.

One step at a time, I have a hard time grasping that. And don’t expect me to know when I’ll return to the cubicle existence, if I return at all. So, ok, I’ll just be about 5 steps ahead, instead of 20, and fantasize on “the day after the cubicle.” What will I do on my first day as an unemployed citizen?

I came up with a short laundry list of things to do:

1.) Go to the gym. Now that I am unshackled, I can go to the gym when people of the rat race are in their offices doing something they think substantial to their lives. I will just start my rigorous regiment. the past weeks are just a breaking in to the gym life. From the day after work, to steal Faye’s thoughts, be a hamster and run and run.

2.) Turn off my cellphones. I’ll just bring the one number that my close friends and family know of. I don’t want to entertain any text messages asking me where this file is or did I turnover everything. I’ll be blissfully disconnected from that world.

3.) DVD Marathon. Ok, not really hours upon hours of DVD’s. Maybe a movie. I choose Luis Buñuel‘s Belle De Jour starring the magnificent Catherine Deneuve. This is one of her best roles ever. She plays a beautiful and seemingly timid housewife but unknown to her husband, she’s a high-class prostitute. Whoa. I want to be a high-class prostitute. I get to be fawned at by rich men, enjoy it, get paid and no taxation unless I’m in Amsterdam. Riiight. Anyway, it landed in the top 100 film roles in cinema’s entire history as listed by Premiere Magazine last year. I bought the dvd, original mind you, in New York. I am waiting for the special moment to watch it. what could be more special than your first day of freedom?

4.) Draw. I’ll finally start my Paper Cuts anthology. And also organize my files for a couple of major comics projects that have been festering in my mind FOR YEARS. Now, I have time to do them. I even bought a drawing board the other day. I don’t have a table in my room, except for the computer table. So, when I draw, I’ll just move Lafawnduh and the other wires to my bed as I draw and relish the act of swirling my pen brush on paper. This will remind me the joys of drawing that was stolen from me of years in the cubicle. I’ll work on my MA thesis a few days later. Allow me to go to my first love.

5.) Resist going online. At least no yahoo messenger. I may blog and read my favorite blogs, but I shall minimize the time for that one. I’ll simply have to focus on number 4.

6.) Junk the alarm clock system in my mobile. For the past two and a half years, my phone has been waking me up at 5:30 am. Now, I’ll simply turn the alarm mechanism off and wake up late. I realized lately that what ultimately killed my cubicle life is the work schedule. I may have worked more than five years in a newspaper, but I dictate my time there. I may come in at 3pm, yet I have no complaints if I finish work by 2am. I had no qualms over the more than the occasional 10-hour work day I put up with; simply because I dictate my time. A 9-6 affair just thrusted me in a world of crowded commute trains with people in silent desperation. I go home late after my current cubicle stint to avoid the rush. I never enjoyed the rush, going to and from work. It was soul-sapping.

7.) Start the biz. I am going to finally cement my business. I’ll talk to a lawyer friend and give him the necessary forms to make this legal. As a freelancer, I still want to pay taxes, because, for me, tax payers have ALL THE RIGHT to complain against the system, the government. They say it was voters who ultimately make a democracy work, but honey, it’s the taxes that make the system run. The Oversease Filipino Workers (OFW) remittances have been overplayed, dearies. Sure, the dollars keep our economy buoyant, but it’s stupid to ignore the taxpayers. We should ALSO be called heroes, they just want the OFWs to feel good with their decision in looking for greener pasture (who can blame them?) and to cover up the stark reality that the government FAILED to provide jobs and a stable economy for them. Maybe I should be an OFW, too, and escape Philippine taxes. Maybe someday. But, for now, I am here and shall make some phonecalls to people announcing my freelance gig and will work with them. Maybe, I should hook up with some NGO’s. I don’t know. Anyway, I won’t allot more time in this item. Again, focus on number four.

8.) Closet Management. I was rummaging through my closet and saw some panties. Those are definitely mine. I may be a diva, but cross dressing is not my thing. I find women’s clothes to be torture…hello, high heels? What’s the purpose for those? So when you step on a cockroach, you stab it with your stillettos? So, I will clean out my closet of clothes that don’t fit me and that are not mine. I am not that conscious and I wear clothes I wore as far back as high school. I wear comfy clothes with character. I am not Madonna and I thank God for that.

9.) Remind myself. I am still going to be freaked out during the Day After that I am unemployed with no stable income. But I have to coax my courage to come out and be there for me. I have to remind myself of all those minutes, months, years wasted on things i did not really fully believe in. My friend fanatical teacher told me a couple of days ago that he was surprised that I opted for the cubicle existence when back in college I struck him as a no-nonsense go getter and unafraid. I was, wasn’t I ? I take no bullshit in college. Work defanged me. I have to be that fiercer creature once again.

10.) …and I’ll do all of the above items with a big smile.

But, for now, I have about ten days left in my cubicle. Clean up my garbage in my cubicle. Get clearance. Do my work with tunnel vision and not to give in to a screaming fit. Ten days and counting. The hole in my prison cell is getting bigger and so is my smile.



  1. Hope we could watch Belle de jour together!!!

  2. ola! i am now looking for Belle de Jour download : )Onyx is so cute.

  3. oh joy! welcome to world of freelancing! hee’s a big hug to you! mwah~!

    goodluck sa thesis. i’m supposed to be working on mine too. hahahah…

  4. seven readers? Does that include me already???

  5. fanatical teacher, of all the things to react about…. haahha…

  6. I’m reader number 8 🙂

  7. That’s funny. I’m Reader #7,899 (Batch 1).

  8. All hail! Geesh… I am sooo happy that you are that prepared for this path that you chose. Really, I am. Now that I am in a bit of peril (that I am the one making, actually) I’m glad you’re having the light.

    All planned… and as always, your VGF (that’s me) is always behind you 😉


    Btw, am I included sa “seven” readers? 😉

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