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It’s Monday again, the beginning of a work week and it’s already sucking the air out of everyone. Hence the iconic meme. Ordinarily, one is supposed to get used to the labor routine after a while, some supervisors say. At first, the newbie should practice sleeping early the evening before, get used to waking up around five or six in the morning to the slap of the morning paper on your door thrown by the young neighbor during his paper route (or the pot-pot of the hot pandesal man, if you’re not stateside). Then it’s time for a quick and cold shower followed by a quick of other things before it’s off to the rat race. Once you survive the first month, you can now dot that with a sprinkle of weekend fun in-betweens and before you know it, you’re already saving up for what to buy next payday. Sweet sweat.

Years (and seasons) go by and before one realizes it, the routine of work, once interspersed with excitement, has slowly turned into stressful days of doldrums and suddenly, as though waking from a dream, everyone in the workplace is already wishing you well with cake and drinks on your retirement. Not retiring for the night mind you, but in the literal sense of hanging up your gloves.

At least, that’s what a classmate of mine who, for most of his working days spent them in the States, condensed his total work experience there in under five minutes. Like a blur, he adds with a wry smile. Often, it’s even like watching a black and white silent movie at fast speed, with him, Chaplin-like, as the most unlikely hero. Sure, he’s finally gotten all he has ever dreamed in school but sadly, it’s now pasture time for the old geezer

The remaining children and the now-second wife advises, you should go out more and enjoy a night out with old friends. In the back of his mind he’s thinking, they should have said that many years ago when he was still the energizer bunny. Now, with batteries drained and meds dependent, what’s the fun in all that. He still remembers the first years of retirement as reading like a what-to-do-next script; with a long list of projects in the house and chores galore so as not to get bored. When these were done, trips with the fam, book hunts and visits to a select few provided the next round of entertainment. Nowadays, it’s just short of just sitting idly around and watching the grass grow. Or crickets singing.


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