Go with a smile!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Pest control and squatting

I got back home one day and I found brochures of the termite tent. They told us that they were going to fumigate the whole premises. The most important things were to store up the food and put them in air tight bags so that they would not suffer from the effects of the fumigation. It took me 2 whole afternoon to take all my edibles and eat all the fresh stuff and put all the packaged stuff into the storage locker.

I decided to go squat in my office for 2 days, partly to save money, partly for fun, and partly because I wanted to see what happened in my office after the sun went down.

The company I worked for previously resided in a work / residential loft. I had squatted there overnight once or twice before. It was easy. But that place was the analog of Singapore's Clarke Quay: the historic commercial center that turned into a slum and then got revitalised as a pub district. The downside of that place was it was touristy and there were always parties going on downstairs. There were pedicabs going around and blaring out music that was not only loud but extremely cliched top of the pops. It wasn't a great place to sleep.

First of all, I had to handle parking: no problem with that, because the office building allowed you to park your car there overnight.

Secondly, people worked at the office for 8 hours. It wasn't a place where people worked 70 hour weeks. Maybe our founders still do that but the staff don't. Our office was set up a little like what you'd get in a Google office, tastefully furnished. Most important to my plan was that there was a couch in the common area, and the common area was in a part of the office cut off from the rest. That means you could hang out in the common area and not be noticed by the rest of the office. The common area had a back door and then I could sneak out of it and get out of the building without being seen by whoever had barged in. It was the perfect plan.

Third, there was the security downstairs. There were two entrances and exits to the building. Security was covering the front. The back, which led to the car park was sometimes and sometimes not manned. I'm going to have to be carrying my bed sheets and blankets through all that.

Fourth, I need to be waking up early enough in the morning and getting the fuck out before anybody notices that I'm squatting for the night. And after that I had to leave the office to go squat somewhere else. And then I need to make my customary late morning appearance in the office and “start” the day.

Fifth, the bosses had installed a camera facing the front door, so all my entrances and exits had to be at the back door.

I was pleasantly surprised on the first night when nobody came to clear up the office. I thought, I'm going to have an easy night. I brushed my teeth and shaved and then I spread my bedsheet on the couch and looked forward to a relatively uneventful night. I turned in early for my standards, at midnight, having set my alarm for 6am. At 1 in the morning, the lights were turned on and I snapped awake. (Usually when you're sleeping in a new room, you sleep lightly). Fuck! It was the cleaner. How the fuck was I supposed to know that the cleaners came in at 1 in the morning? Hurriedly I crammed my bed sheet into the canvas bag and got the fuck out of there before anybody noticed me.

I had to spend the next hour, 1 to 2, in my car, hardly getting any sleep. Then I came back up, and noticed that the lights were still on. That was kinda funny. I got back in. I thought, maybe I'd turn in but you know what, let's go check Facebook for a short while. I did that. Then what do you know, the cleaner returned. So I had to sit at my desk and pretend to work for a while, stare at code. The cleaner would be like “who is this programmer who materialised out of nowhere at 2 in the morning to work? What a crazy motherfucker”. Then after 20 minutes, she finished cleaning the toilet and left, and it was time again for me to just spread out my bedsheets and finish up sleeping for the night. Thankfully after this I made it to 6 am.

On the second night, I thought, you know what, the cleaners' going to come in at 1 in the morning. So I started sleeping early, like at 10. Then she comes in at 11. Luckily this one is the one that I'm familiar with. So its not like she mistakes me as an intruder or anything. This time, I got caught but I was like giving a friendly “hi” and “isn't this a nice and wonderful night, you get a beautiful view of the city”.

I headed to the car again, with my tail between my legs. As usual, I had difficulty falling asleep. And what's more, I think I wrote a song or something So I went back up to just type it up on the computer, consequences be damned. The cleaner was looking at me, bemused. But still going about her business. Then she left. And it was time for me to sleep.

It was hard for me to sleep on the second night. I got up around every hour. At 4 in the morning, I even heard the door being opened and closed. Did the night watchman see me? The couch was facing away from the door, so I could have been invisible. Finally dawn came and I got up and left. I thought I was going to get myself a big American breakfast. But then I finally got the motivation to sleep.

I still don't know what the consequences of squatting are. I know there was somebody else who did it, but he was later fired for... well his output levels just went down and he was no longer contributing, so it wasn't necessarily about the squatting. He was using the office for internet and cooking, which was a little excessive.

This has been my first blog entry for dunno how long. I'm still marvelling at how much energy I had to blog back in the day. It's so hard to write a full essay these days.


Blogger yeng chan said...

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8:44 PM