I haven’t tried living alone. While I’m playing around with the idea and dealing with practical considerations, as a Filipino, this is nothing out of the ordinary. Somehow, living alone is only common for privileged kids. I am no longer a kid and I am still working on getting certain privileges.

I joined a week-long immersion in remote surveillance. I underwent training and helped man a station in its last two days. You might think that’s quite random with me being an IT professional but it’s not. In fact, I was the one who suggested the entire thing. A new project is under way and an immersion would allow us to understand the daily operations and help in conceptualising a solution.

Nope, it was not fun. My idea of fun neither involves getting up at 3 AM to make it to a 6 AM shift nor staring at live footages of empty lots for seemingly countless hours. But we needed it and the information we gathered was worth the effort. It did help us understand the challenges and identify aspects of the operation that can be improved through technology. Depending on who you’ll ask, I don’t think it helped my image as a workmate in any way though. I always seem to find a reason for people to get busy and they probably hate me for that. To be fair, I hate myself for that as well.

I had to book a room at a nearby hotel for two nights to get enough sleep and keep myself sane. Maybe I also wanted to comfort myself. It was not very effective. On the first night, I had dreams that were creepy, disturbing, AND annoying. (Yes, I can recall two to three dreams I had in one night.) I was tossing and turning. At about 1:48 AM, I gave up. I lied in bed alone, hungry, and miserable questioning decisions I made in life. I opened a bag of leftover pizza from dinner and everything became slightly better. Pizza loves me unconditionally.

The camera operators I sat with the following day mistook me for a newbie. With only three hours of sleep, at least they didn’t think I was a zombie. On normal occasions that would be flattering. But the fact that I’ve been with the company they are affiliated with longer than all of them and nobody knew that I exist begs a question. How clueless can these people be? Or perhaps more appropriately, how much of a loser can I be? But I was never popular so I shouldn’t be surprised.

The moment the last meeting concluded, I packed my stuff, went back to the hotel, and locked myself. I had two cups of rice with a pathetically thin slice of kebab, took a bath, and was in dreamland in no time. At 10 PM my phone rang. It was mom asking me if I was in the hotel sleeping. My brain did somersaults. While she can be a bit paranoid, she’s not the type who sends you 50 messages or calls you every minute. We can get by without sending each other a message the entire day. Why did she call? She said she was waiting for me to go online and let her know. Great. At the very least she now knows how to maximise the internet service I pay for every month.

At midnight I was awakened yet again by noises coming from the hallway. I pictured three people fresh from partying who were either asking to be knocked unconscious by a grumpy guest or just hard of hearing. I assumed they were the latter and went back to sleep.

Despite waking up twice (or was it thrice?) I slept better on the second night. It wasn’t bad after all except for the fact that I spent a sum for just three days of being away from home. But I can get used to this. I must get used to this. Adventure starts at the end of your comfort zone they said or maybe when you get three hours of sleep after a long day. -aB

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