Tricycle, boss? Saan tayo, bossing? I got a feeling, and the feeling is good. When the Corporation treats you as a perennial subordinate, you look for respect in all the wrong places. The Big Boss may be an e-mail away, but getting around protocols and SOP is like climbing stairs with a pogo stick. Once you find a bit of loathing for the tambling of everyday life, you value random terms of address like “Boss.” After all, I’m not the boss of anyone.
The guard greets me, Morning sir! Suddenly I’m feeling ever more powerful. Granted that Manong Guard will greet every guy at the office and call him “Sir,” whether he’s an employee, a visitor, or a part of the administration. When you’re in your workstation, you’re just another rat in the cage. Yet no, not to the guard. You’re “Sir Marck” to him. You make sense beyond, and are more important than, your ID number.
I’m liking the grand scheme of things. I am important. My elementary school guidance counselors called it “IALAC:” I Am Lovable And Capable. I am Boss. I am Sir. The world is perfect.
Hi Mamser, welcome to 7-Eleven!
Good morning Mamser, welcome to MiniStop!
Hello Mamser, welcome to SM!
Good evening po Mamser, ano po order nila?
Thank you po Mamser, come again!
The grand scheme of things is a conspiracy. “Mamser” makes me generic, fleeting even. A customer, an instance of sales quotas, a possible shoplifter. Nameless, sex-less, gender-less, a number in a receipt. Just another guy who passes by the metal detectors and the doors, and only becomes somebody – for 15 minutes, at most – when the alarm goes off. The world sucks. I am “Mamser:” a purchase, a meal, a plastic bag.
In one fell swoop, my jovial mood and positive view of the world collapsed all around me. I turn into the brooding, angst-driven, antisocial version of myself. The sunshine turns into an eclipse, the bluebirds turn into crows, and the happy song in my head turns into a funeral dirge in heavy metal. I find my permanent frown somewhere in my mixed bag of emotions, wear it, and literally storm out of the shop.
Or as I like to call it, normalcy.
I think it was Douglas Coupland who wrote, “All events became omens. I lost the ability to take anything literally.” “Mamser?” I don’t take it in jest, nor do I take it seriously. It’s just another epiphany in the grand scheme of things: no grandeur, no schemes, and things – like “Mamser” – just move along.