ad astra per alia porci

June 22, 2008, 4:09 am
Filed under: diary | Tags: , , , ,


Working as a security guard is an exercise in existential despair. I worked shifts that lasts till my employer said it end. I guard a door and focus on nothing else. I pace the same square of marbled floor. I cannot sleep. I spend all my time waiting for lunch, a break, or my boss to come swaggering along with his walkie talkie to tell me that my shift was finally over.

I was given a walkie talkie but it is usually silent. I wished someone broke the silence and loneliness. Occasionally someone did. The crackling voice amidst static woke me up with a jolt. I let the handset hug my ear fully. I listen with vain anticipation. The message is usually not for me. Doesn’t matter. At least there was something in nothing.

My mind was empty most of the time, except for that glimmer of expectation that the end of my shift or a break will come.

I think I know how Vladimir and Estragon felt in Waiting for Godot. The abundance of time coupled with the utter lack of productive action and its requisite capacity for it shines an unbearable spotlight on the loneliness and emptiness that is starkly present at the essence of existence. Without white noise to inflate.our lives, we are left with a deafening silence wrought from emptiness. Without the buzz of work provided by my studies at school, I am left staring at a gaping void in my life, and an urgent need to fill it up and burn the time. I wonder if others feel the same. Maybe I feel this way because my life is not lived as meaningfully and fully as others. Maybe I have not invested my life with meaningful activities.

The people that I met brightened the absolute monotony of work considerably.

The boss, P, in particular is an absolutely fascinating character. He is short with reddish skin and his gelled greasy hair look as if it was a wig because the edges end abruptly. His shirt fails to hold back his emerging beer belly and his breath reeks of one too many cigarette. He is full of bluster and walks with a slight swagger. He is boisterous and loud; I can hear his voice from miles away. He reminds me of a balloon. I am pretty sure that he will burst and flap away into the sky if I pricked him with a needle. Amongst other jobs, he has worked as a qualified driving instructor and an extra in TCS serials.

He fetches me home everyday after work together with this other girl and he treats me as his right-hand man. I inevitably became his listening ear during the late-night drives back to my house and the occasional breaks he took at work. In the night when things are quieter he begins to talk about life and lectures us about how to live it.

He speaks of positivity, hope and a never-say-die attitude. “No one is dispensable in this company; X Security will continue to run even when I am not around.” “In life, never regret. Whenever I buy a dictionary I always tear off the page that defines the word ‘regret’.” Yes, it might be funny and exaggerated, but his point is clear. He believes in a positive attitude towards life.

However I sense that things are otherwise. Sometimes we speak about things and reality suggest that the opposite is true. We speak in terms of wishes instead of descriptions. P seems to be one such person.

From the way in which I saw the company worked, X Security is P. As much as P talks about the company being able to run independently of him, I think the company will collapse the moment he is gone.

He runs the show. He even takes over the directing of traffic in the car park, which his employees should be doing themselves. He should be shaking his legs in a corner, but he doesn’t do that. Some bosses prefer to be hands-on, and that is a good thing. But it seems to me that P is hands-on out of necessity, because his staff does not seem to be up to the task.

The company got the contract to provide security for the particular fair I am working in because P was a good friend of the main organiser. If P was not there, there is no contract.

It was on the night of the third day when P revealed that he is divorced with three children. All of them are already grown-up. P constantly reminds us to cherish everything we already have in life, and to live with no regrets.

He openly states that he lives with no regrets, but I doubt this. Could it be that his current attitude is a product and response to his failed marriage? One could only ponder and guess.

P reminds me of the characters in The Caretaker. Their speech betrays a deeper sense of hurt, and language is used as a tool to cover up the ugly realities and histories and hide vulnerabilities.

For all the bluster that P exhibits, I think there is an ocean of vulnerability underneath the veneer of happiness and boisterousness.


1 Comment so far
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I like the first line of this post! haha

Comment by yi san

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