Monday, November 19, 2007

Citizen Russ

And you thought it'll be super.

Not having to go to work. Waking up every morning (or afternoon) without worrying about running late for today's internals. No deadlines. No overtimes. No taglines to think about nor storylines to write.

At the back of your mind, you begin to chant Elmer Fudd's infamous lines... "no more classes, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks..." you may not be in school anymore but the thought of quitting your job begins to feel like a long, overdue vacation.

You're free at last. You have unchained yourself from the bondage of your cubicle. Or, as they call it in advertising, workstation. For the first time in years, you wander through Ayala Ave. without having to walk like a madman in order to beat the rush hour. You go to malls during office hours and park your car wherever you want.

You are, after all, unemployed. A freewheler. Answerable only to yourself and accountable to noone. You are an official bum.

You are having the grandest time of your life, until one day, you get sick. You succumb to an illness, one that raises your body temperature to 40 degrees celcius, day in and day out. Your fever never ceases. Your body starts to weaken and and you can't eat anything because they all taste like shit.

On the 3rd day, you ask to be rushed to the hospital. Fearing dengue but clueless nonetheless. The doctors run some tests. Then on the 4th day, concluded that you have Typhoid Fever. The nurses, upon admitting you at the hospital, ask you one simple question. One question that made you wish you weren't jobless.

"Do you have a health card?"

You bite your lips. Then you realize. You're unemployed. A freewheler. Answerable only to yourself and accountable to noone. You are, an official bum.

You rush yourself to recovery, knowing that each day you spend in the hospital is another dime taken off from the last of your savings. You have never worried about hospital bills all your life, except now.

You begin to understand that you are no longer privileged. You are no longer enjoying health benefits from your employer. You don't have one, remember?

It sucks. One day you're tip-toeing, enjoying the privileges of being free from the bondage of employment and the next day you're wishing that you don't have to worry about paying your hospital bills.

Finally, you accept the fact. It sucks to live without benefits. It sucks to be plain old, Citizen Russ.