I have never felt so exhausted in my entire life.
Usually, I have problems of being too idle and inactive, but never problems of being tired. The weekend started out fine. We just finished our Opman panelling with smiles on our faces (although we would lose the smile a few days later). I got to bond with old friends… with blockmates for the impossibly jologs movie You changed my life’, which have jokes so corny that you wouldn’t ever forget them (Sana V na lang ako so that I’ll always be close to U. Hindi, bagay ka maging A because you’re not meant to B! wtf) After that I got to meet my old pal Aaron, who I have known for fourteen years and who saved my life when I was at my most wasted state. He is now migrating to Canada. Best wishes to him.
The fun, however, was short-lived. The next day we had to compile our marketing final paper. It was pure hell. I thought that we were meeting at Ateneo but ended up meeting at Patrice’s house. Good thing that laoshi was there to bring me to the isolated outskirts of Marikina. The moment I arrived, it was work all the way. (Well, almost.) Work, work, work until the cold hours of the night and the wee hours of morning. It was impossible to distinguish night from day. Time did not matter. Nothing mattered anymore. Just you and your computer… face to face as you painstakingly carve a masterpiece out of jumbled research, qualitative and quantitative data, advertisements, packaging, and other things so varied and far-flung that only marketing can bring them together. The long, tiring hours were only punctured by laughter and crazy moments from my groupmates. It was all we could do to keep sane, yet all the stalling and dilly-dally also brought us to the inevitable:
We never actually finished the paper.
By the time breakfast arrived, we were dumbfounded. We thought, “Didn’t we just eat dinner? and now it’s breakfast?!” We were rushing the paper, our bodies were palpitating after all the coffee and stress, yet we could not rest. We had to go on. The paper remained unfinished. The work facing us remained insurmountable. All of us pushed ourselves beyond out physical limits. We were awake for more than twenty-four hours, yet I still had to solve financial statements, prepare an advertising campaign, and put everything together in one coherent paper. It was a wonder that we could all still think straight.
We rushed to UP at 2 pm but continued to edit the paper until 4 pm. I can say that those hours in the UP xerox were the most stressful moments of my life. The pressure of losing one letter grade weighed heavily on us, so we thought of every way to minimize the printing time while we crammed with our paper. We were so tense because this requirement comprised a bulk of a major 5-unit course, the paper was yet unfinished, the copying was slow, we still had to ring-bind, and we knew that it was impossible. In the end, we compromised by giving up the page numbers and table of contents. As we were incessantly pushed and squeezed by the impossible deadline and the complexity of out paper, craziness and hot tempers couldn’t help but leak out from our exhausted selves.
By the time I had to run to SOM then write page numbers on every page and every copy of our 120 page paper, I felt something I rarely felt - self-pity. And it came as I recounted the events that led me to that place - meandering aimlessly under the hot Katipunan sun, getting all the difficult parts of the paper and working all night without a single wink of sleep. I had not eaten breakfast nor lunch. I had to dip my hands into every section of our paper ranging from promotions to distribution to financials. I was soaking in sweat and rain.. and I had to use every last ounce of energy and willpower to sprint from the SOM parking lot to SOM Dept. It was the fastest that my hungry, sleepy, and spent self could run.. to make sure that we would pass the paper at least without one letter grade deduction. The kind secretary (God bless her) got our paper saying she wouldn’t give us a deduction. That moment infused some life into an otherwise draining day, and I ran back down towards my groupmates excitedly proclaiming the good news. At that moment, all the physical abuse had taken its toll on me. The world was playing on 1/2 speed. Everything appeared like a poorly filmed movie… slow and blurry. I remember the movie Fight Club describing the perception of an insomniac as looking at something as if it were a copy of a copy of the original thing. I felt exactly the same. The trees appeared like a copy of a copy of a real tree. The roads didn’t feel real anymore. My feet dragged me, I was sure of that, but I wasn’t so sure on what dragged my feet to keep going.
On my way home, it felt wonderful to finally be able to let go, at least for the meantime, and float away in a temporary respite from hell. Now I am typing this after getting some rest. Hell is not yet over, but I am glad that although I got severely wounded from battle, I am still a survivor. I have never felt so exhausted in my life, yes, but I’m just glad to come out of the battle alive.