Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Return of the Comeback

As the story now goes, my return to my former office has been encouraged by a Christmas sale I could not refuse, mostly for entrepreneurial reasons. It was an opportunity practically screaming just to present itself. Who was I to refuse?

In the hopes of being the early bird that’ll catch the worm, I headed as early as I possibly could to my former office where I last set foot on five months ago. I cannot stifle the smile on my face on my way there. I guess, whether I admit it or not, I am psyched to see the people I’ve worked with for the past three years and ten months of my life. It was, after all, an undeniably nostalgic moment.

The way in which I arrived was a classic FDC late moment. The tricycle ride, which was one of the reasons why I used to hate to go to work, deprived me of a grand entrance. But I’ll leave ostentatious entrances to Batman.

My former manager was at the office entrance when I alighted the unglamorous tricycle. It was past 9 a.m. The scene was all too familiar.

“Ms. Malu, half day na po ako!” I greeted her who was, I think, surprised to see me—in the Philippines. (It was a company policy that if you time in after 9 a.m., you’ll be reduced to serving a half day at work. You will not be paid for your presence from 9:01-1:15.) She told me to start hunting inside the AVR, turned Hallmark warehouse exhibit, upon learning that I was there for the sale.

Interesting enough, this is my first time to become part of the Hallmark sale as an outsider. I never knew about the Hallmark sale and the treasures that lurked there prior to my being their employee. As a shopper, I came in early; competition have not yet began.

I haven’t been going around long when our brand officer, the future Mrs. (to be filled in with her fiancé’s family name which I missed—advance “best wishes,” again!) spotted me. She, too, was surprised I was home. (And here I thought everyone knew I was back.) She required me to go up (the department) after doing my shopping. I said, “Yes, of course, I will!”

I originally planned to say “hi” to everyone first but since I didn’t see the dashing Adonis when I arrived, I hesitated and postponed the trip upstairs for later. (Adonis is the name of our “studly” guard. No kidding.) I was afraid the new guard would ban me upstairs. You know me. Praning as always! Then again, my eyes were on the Hallmark stuff I was about to rummage given the head start I have against my fellow scavengers.

I didn’t notice that a big guy was standing next to me, watching me decide which gift bag passes my standards and which doesn’t. The big guy was no other than Kuya Bing, a giant one can easily mistake for a bully when he’s just occasionally crazy and funny. He saved my fingers from probable bloody cuts by teaching me the proper way of holding metal rulers and cutters during my early days at Filstar. Priceless! He was also my balloon sculpture master (actually he’s a balloon guru to a lot of people) and was generous enough to share his knowledge and lend his balloon tools for last year’s Project: Brave Kids party. For reasons I cannot explain, Kuya Bing is one of the few people who can make fun of my non-existent love life without pissing me off (or hurting my feelings). We both end up entertained by laughing at the nonsense we come up with regarding my MIA boyfriend.

Later, Ms. Isay, Ms Jean & Ms Donna came. It was really nice seeing them. I began to feel like I was no outsider. A shriek also helped in welcoming me back. When I turned around, it was Kuya Lody who, even without his eyeglasses on, was able to recognize me. I was hoping to approach him first and surprise him with a, “Miss, miss, magkano ito?” I guess my “skit” had just been preempted. Our resident home-y also said his groovy “hello!”

Then Shom came. Shom and I have worked together for only nine months. Amidst a few early adjustments, we hit it off and eventually became good friends. It helped that she fed me waffles every morning. Hehe. Seriously, she won me over by her painfully truthful ways, spiced up by her wife and mom insights on things. She was, as always, gracious to help me around the sale, “selling” me the goods she believed I should consider buying.

As soon as shopping was over, I went upstairs and did my rounds. First clique that greeted me were the mommies who, in their intrinsic mommy ways, were concerned about what’s been going on in my life for the past days. Next, I headed to the bosses, whom I filled in with what I’ve been doing since I got back, and to whom I showed the video of my lovely niece. Third stop was at the hobbits’ corner which was alarmingly silent (no snickering or boisterous laughter). I learned that their PSP units have been keeping them mum and in tears…adik! (Before I get them into trouble, allow me to clarify that it was break time when I caught them seriously absorbed with their games.) I went to my former lunch mates next. I seriously felt a needed get-together with those guys. I went one-on-one with my sort of two-time officemate and relayed to him what’s been up with our other office. Then I sat with the other office duo where our stories bordered on Cheche’s kids to the next American Idol to visit the Philippines. (Michael Johns, here we come!) Of course, I had to say my hello to the artists who played as my office Kuyas. A separate hi to Kuya Pat (special mention?) who showed me their latest drinking water model/ victim. Finally, I had a quick chat with my constant cheerer (the missus to the giant) who never came short in supporting me in whatever next crazy idea I had for “work.” (I am looking forward to a longer talk in December!)

My stops were spent with more than mere exchanges of pleasantries. It was mainly a quick update on life and those that came along with it. I hardly felt the five months I wasn’t around. For all its worth, I did miss being in those people’s company!

So I am about to start my second real job soon. I am not raising my hopes up too much in terms of the people I am bound to mingle with. I was lucky to have had my first set of officemates; it will be a lottery jackpot if I get people like them again. But who knows?

For this moment, I am just glad to have been back.

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