There was once a time when I swore I’d never be that girl in a suit, eating alone in a fastfood joint and looking out at space blankly. Girls like that have enough money to spend on their food, but they don’t have many available friends to drag to proper restaurants all the time. Girls like that live for their jobs. At least that’s my impression.
Tonight I became that girl. Granted, it’s only a pretense at this point because I’m still unemployed and I’m only in fancy outfits because I have to look like I know what I’m doing. All the same, I’m that girl now. I saw my reflection on one of Jollibee’s windows, feeling my heart burn at that burger streak monstrosity they’d invented, and realized I’d become part of the real world. I never even saw it happening until it had happened.
Things I used to treat as novelties – things like getting crushed in the MRT at rush hour, things like hoping your foundation doesn’t melt into your overpriced shirt – they’ve become dailies now. I must say goodbye to my regular ten-hour sleeping routine and say hello to rotating shifts that have to happen because most international industries in the Philippines follow Western time. I have to learn to blend in with the wallpaper. I don’t run the world anymore.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t think many people realize this, but to paraphrase one of my favorite shows, Haikei Chichie-ue sama, unemployment is very lonely. Every day people wake up and go somewhere. There are tasks waiting for them, and they have things to do. Everyone except me. I hope I’ll eventually get to answer that Nescafe ad that asks, “Who do you wake up for?”
For myself. For a better me. I hope that doesn’t sound too selfish.