Things Are Still The Same

It has been a while but some things never change.

There is still the same old whitewash on the walls, with some rubber stains growing like rot at the waist-level, only because my expensive armchair keeping scraping against the hollow wall whenever I step out of it.

The wall – a piece of prime estate that should be utilised – has remained vacant in some parts. Some colleagues left their part of the wall alone – some, like me, try to cover the deadwood by scattering flowers over it. No matter how much we scatter, bits of the dead still pokes through from below, an eye staring heavenward. There is a poster that my predecessor left behind – a Formula One poster denoting the various racetracks in 2008, I think. The bikini-clad girl is somewhat impotent, yellowed. I don’t think it will turn on any male libido in the office. I decorate the wall with postcards of cars and various automotive paraphernalia. It’s a feeble attempt, a masquerade and I hope no one will see through it.

The carpeting is still the same, perhaps getting a bit dustier as people get more relaxed and accustomed to the environment and start walking barefooted on the carpet (I can’t do it – my feet will itch). The carpet is still the same, I guess, except for a pile-up of crumbs from the snacks that I binged on while hunkered over my workstation, from the patch of coffee that I accidentally spilled some time ago. Or was it Coke? It looked like a bloodstain, this darkening patch that refused to go away, no matter how many carpet cleanup squads they sent.

The air-conditioning is the same. It comes to life at 7am in the morning, if I recall correctly. Sharp, nonetheless. A mark of our clinical efficiency. The air-con seeks out each and every corner, every crevice and fills it with cold air, as if it thinks such will wake up the drowsy person that is me, sitting at his workstation, peering over lifeless morphemes to be strung together so that they can be understood, easily consumed, for the masses. It is cold after a while and I will put on a jacket. Or make a cup of green tea for myself.

Like clockwork, someone will stride into the office an hour later. It is our help. S/he is here for another day, like every other day. There should be applause, a standing ovation for such courage, coming here to face a cerebral firing squad. How much matter dies everyday I do not know but gradually, even the very best lose themselves, a pale shadow of what they once were. These heroes, there ought to be a retirement village for them. We should find them some employment! Make them sew buttons onto shirts or something! Don’t lose them to the enemy! But still, we lose them. Some we keep. But there are changes, small ones that we pretend not to see. Those who are keepers, who stay, they come in every morning but not at 8am any more. They grab every bit of rest they can. Half-time. And we send them back to the frontlines but come Christmas, they’ll be sharing turkeys and drinks with the enemy. Just a day. And then it’s back to war.

Will I rise above your material mess

Or sink clasping thy chaos close to breast?

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