15 10 2009

After C flew to Paris for a meeting, the office had considerably been a much peaceful place. Telephones still ring, but of course, there was nothing of the exaggerated orders and demands that required miracles to flow in an endless stream. But she still called her secretaries from time to time, asking whether the UN-led program had been written down in a press release. W said that I did, his girlish voice hindered by exaggerated coughs.

“She’s doing it now.” W said over the phone. He listened to the girl speaking at the other end of the line, occasionally attacked by superficially loud coughs.

I looked back at his jungle and smiled at him. When C called, I was already on my third press release, with the general PR done, as well as the Luzon and Visayas PRs. I turned myself into a story machine, repeatedly rehashing the general PR and the previos pre-event release I wrote yesterday.

There was an urgency and I felt it. I thought that maybe if I wouldn’t be able to publish one release for this week, then I’d be cut from the government agency I work for. Not that I mind that much, personally, but I mind what other people will say if I ever got evicted from work. You see, they got loads of expectations and I failed them all.

And so I was given an explicit order, that I must be able to publish one at all cost within the period of her Paris visit.

“Ever since that crazy R left, there hasn’t been any press releases published,” She told me yesterday, running her hands through her silver hair. “I have always egged him about releases and ever since he left, there hadn’t been any.”

Of course there were valid reasons why our releases hadn’t even been touched by newspaper editors and the likes. For one, ever since her inclusion in The List, the newspapers have turned cold and they wouldn’t even take a look at it. The newspapers that used to publish releases have run whole-page flak stories regarding her controversial ascent to The List. She had once asked S and me to produce releases ever since R left on scholarship and I was itching to tell her that, “Madam, not even one release made it to the papers, even though I wrote tons of them as you had instructed. All of them are more interested in what the concerned activists were saying about your proclamation.”

But yes, she’d bite your head off.

Second, this national celebration never made it to the lifestyle pages primarily because the person in charge of sending it to the newspapers had come in late, refusing to even step at the office for personal reasons. I count laziness in many of her/his absences but s/he remained unshaken.

And so with the absence of R, I was left to juggle two jobs, three even. First is the Friday issue, second is the press releases and third, the job of R. The first two are part of my job description, the third I’m not particularly sure.

R’s job is basically to oversee the office, write speeches and messages for C and V. There was even a time where he recalled that he had to study the previous’ chairman’s style of writing because that ex-Chairman cannot be satisfied with flowery yet empty words. While the overseeing part is passed on to his officers-in-charge, W and S, the writing part was left yet again to me. A nest, a pail, a casket, a basket—whatever you want.

Writing messages is like writing shit. Sometimes I’m so dizzy I just resorted to stupid flattery and empty flowery words to appease the people in need of it. It’s generally harder than writing press releases and featurized articles for the Friday issue, or maybe it’s just because I don’t have the aptitude to learn things like that. But whatever the case, it became harder and harder for me to juggle my responsibilities, some of which had virtually disappeared from my memory.

“I never put my name if it’s not done tastefully!” C said to me on one of my editing trips to my office. It had already been my fifth visit to her office for a single editing job of the message I had written and yet I could never reach her standards. Then after the sixth fat-reducing stair exercise, she finally conceded and signed the message. *sighs*

Then Ketsana and Parma hit our country with unnatural force, killing hundreds of people, the death toll still rising even after three weeks of entire devastation. Naturally, the press balked at flying over the the C province, and moreover, the news is Ketsana and Parma. Had the releases been pegged on these typhoons, then these would have inevitably found an easier avenue for publication. See, all the private organizations bent at making a cut at the public always had something to say about Ketsana. Lifestyle pages carried side by side stories on the devastation of Ketsana, so why can’t we do something about the flood victims, too?

It’s a funny fact that she’s an advocate of the environment, always lecturing us needlessly about our role to preserve the environment and prevent climate change. It’s been speeding up and we have no idea at all how to stop it. But while she seemed to have fostered this deep-seated concern for the environment, she seemed to have lost her sensitivity to the plight of the people victimized by the flood. It seemed as if she had forgotten the weight and reach of the damage of Ketsana as she went on with her life as if nothing happened.

“We have to clean up the country, especially our shores.” I remember her saying in one of our meetings. “It’s such a pity to let a beautiful country go to waste.”

I knew she was correct, that we have to act now or lose it all forever. But in all reality, what she had forgotten about Ketsana mirrored the hollowness of the lectures we have received about the environment. We knew that, but what can concern for the environment do if one does not have compassion for his fellowmen who are subjected into a compromising situation?

I may be doing grave injustice against her by writing these, and I know that she may just be getting older, that’s why she was so “enthusiastic” about making her mark in the world. But should I just attribute it to her age? It’s risky to write this but she’s a two-faced woman–not exactly a good role model from a personal point of view, but she’s also an inspiring force that produced writers, actors, and musicians.

Maybe someday I could write about her life—she had tried to pimped it to the press thousands of times I could even recite it for you if you want. But there are a lot of things I still like to share about my work, about C, and about things in general. While my life is not made more exciting by the presence of a man, I could say it’s pretty hectic and stiff and competitive.  The existence of a man doesn’t matter at this age and time. Maybe later when all the things I overlooked begin to take shape.




2 responses

19 10 2009

Thats quite the ramble, good read.

20 10 2009

Thanks yo. Hahaha. There’s just some things about life that I need to vent out.

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