"Do people never sleep there?" the taxi driver asked, pointing to the boxlike structure, where I came from. "That building has always been alive until morning," he observed.
"The newspaper never sleeps," I said, explaining that at that hour, the production people were about to take their turn printing tomorrow's newspaper after the editors had closed and approved the pages.
"But people need sleep," he said. "Who goes there in the morning?"
"After the production people finish printing," I continued, "The newsboys come in at dawn to get the papers and deliver them to the newstands. Sometimes, they also deliver the papers right at the subscribers' doorsteps. At eight, the business and advertising people come. So, are other office workers, like the editorial assistants, in the newsroom. The day desk editors also come in to see to it that reporters pursue the latest news stories for the day. In the afternoon and towards the evening, the reporters start trickling in to write their stories. Then, afterwards, it's editing time all over again."
It was already half past 12 in the morning when I talked to the taxi driver on my way home. Late in the morning, I went to the laundromat and watched the washing machine, and then the dryer, spin. "The newspaper is one huge machine," I couldn't help mumbling.
The man running the laundromat who kept asking where I worked, looked up.
"Well, I work for a huge machine that never stops churning," I said, and marveled at the irony of my words. I thought, "I don't think I could ever serve a machine, no matter how big."
Then, I started dreaming of going to a far flung place where no machine could ever reach me. Instead, I conjured images of the remote areas of Mindanao, where the machines are more deadly. People are getting killed by another type of machines---the machine guns--right in the places where they live.
With the Human Security Act, the policies that cater to the World Bank and the global capitalist system, debt servicing, the deregulation of everything, privatization even of health services and more, the government of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is one deadly killer machine.
"Societies," "civilizations" are machines that demand subjection from everyone within reach. Even the groups fighting for change have to invent their own "machine" to fight the old, oppressive and abusive one.
Probably, in this life, there's no escaping the rule of the machine--but isn't it terribly sad and dreadful how such mindless inventions could take control over one's life????