28 Apr 2013

He Waits For The Bus

He waits for the bus.

The world's just beginning to stir from its slumber, so it's still mostly quiet. Just how he'll like it to be for the rest of the day. Too bad he never has his way with that.

The bus wheezes a little as it slows down in front of him. The transparent plastic doors swing open, waiting to swallow the next victims. He sighs and gets on board. Fleeing from the jaws won't help his situation any further.

He gazes outside the cold window as the beast of metal and plastic continues searching for more morning tidbits. He used to be able to see details of the people and cars moving along, and the static scenery zipping by. Now it's merely just a blur of dark colours to his eyes.

Finally the mammoth monster is done digesting him, and promptly regurgitates him outside a faded dull building. He sighs, knowing the next move he must make. His feet lead him along, just as parents drag their unwilling child to the dentist's. You have to do this for your own good, the feet attempt to console him. Each time though, he grows more skeptical about this "good". Has he really benefited overall from this?

No greetings. No eye-contact. The puppets that are already here continue about their own business. There's no friendly warmth or malicious fury. Just cold nonchalance. 

This isn't unusual to him. It never was. 

Like a bumbling sluggish moth to a flame, he gets sucked towards his prison cell. There are no physical walls around him("It's to encourage more interactions between colleagues and foster greater interpersonal relationships in the workplace," she claims, but look how that turned out). He still feels trapped at his desk though, under the scrutiny of invisible eyes. 

She is the first to notice his occupation of his seat. She walks over to him, armed with stacks of documents to bind him tighter in his place. She bombards him with familiar keywords that activate the mindless puppet in him. She has laid down his prison sentence for the day, all while maintaining her icy stare and cold voice.

She trots away in her ruby heels, satisfied that her minion is primed for operation. And so he obeys, but not without taking a little sip of black fuel from the cracked porcelain cup. It used to say something on the side of the cup, but time had erased it, and he didn't care what it said anyway. No need to concern himself with trivial matters that didn't aid in the productivity of the workplace.

Once again the fingers of his left hand meet the cool plastic square pieces of the keyboard. His right hand wraps around the grey mouse. It is time to play the first movement.

He performs the same piece that he has over the last few years. The sounds of flipping pages, the shuffle of the mouse, the occasional creak of the chair, and flurries of button presses... they all combine in a twisted interplay of melodies. Nobody is bothered to appreciate the music though, not even the maestro himself: his fingers dance with much less vigour, and his body has lost much of the spark that animates him in the lonely prison.

The small hand of the white(well, slightly yellowed) clock just touches the number 12. Time for an intermission.

The humanoid robots assemble at the canteen. Robots do need to refuel, after all. Being soulless doesn't mean being an eternally working machine. 

Some of them attempt to conglomerate into small groups, in hopes of at least trying to sweeten the experience a little through conversation. He knows better though, and has already given up participating in such empty exchanges of forgettable words. All he needs to do is to finish up the morsels on his plate, rest a little, and get back to work. Does it matter if that celebrity is linked to a particular scandal? Does knowing about scientific advances in the field of neurology help him finish his paperwork faster? Will chatting about his non-existent hobbies grant him an earlier exit from work? Of course not.

He takes his place back on the swiveling chair. Now for the second movement of his opus.

This next movement is a little more varied. Accents of reprimands from the ice queen decorate the preexisting musical parts, which are now more rushed and chaotic. A few ornamental sighs and groans from nearby audience members add on more layers to the piece. It's a shame that nobody is still willing to listen to the performance. Even the maestro wants to end it quickly, just like in his other performances.

At last, the small hand partially obscures the number 5. The curtains are lowered. The cell door is opened. As expected, the unwilling audience neither applauds nor jeers.

He should feel happy, finally being able to step outside the prison complex. Too bad over the years, even he has grown numb to the euphoria of sweet release. Every weekday it's the same piece for the same deaf audience, all in hopes of achieving distant dreams. As he strolls towards the bus stop, he ponders, how much longer can he keep this up? When will the time come when he'll no longer need to perform again? Or at least be allowed to switch to a more interesting repertoire? 

Suddenly he finds himself back on the orange plastic bench underneath the metal roof. He sighs, knowing this means that the VIP audience members demand yet another encore from him. He never really sees these VIPs, for they always hide in the upper corridors, not really caring about the music but instead indulging in the champagne and caviar that come as complimentary luxuries with the performance. 

He knows what will happen next. The mammoth beast will come again to swallow him whole, then spit him back out at his residence, where he'll have a simple dinner in his simple house, watch simple TV shows, have a simple shower, and sleep in his simple bed, where he'll hopefully have simple dreams about breaking free from the cycle and finally getting to enjoy the greater aspects of life. Of course, he'll be dragged back into his simple reality, and the cycle will continue again.

He waits for the bus.