business address: trafalgar plaza building, 105 h. v. dela costa street, salcedo village, makati city, metro manila, philippines.
i am located in the 12th floor...among the 27 floors and 4 basements the building has. almost halfway. the other floors house the israeli embassy, an international information technology office, a medical laboratory center, a call center, a fitness clinic and so the list goes on. we are the only government agency in trafalgar plaza.
the building's tenants, from the list given earlier, thus, consist of peoples from different races and cultures...origins...israelis and other arabs, blacks, caucasians, europeans, fellow asians and filipinos. we see each other in the elevator going up to or down from our corresponding floors, most especially during rush hours.
in the course of our daily (and routinary) functions as "workers"...we do seem to have a common time...at a common meeting place: BASEMENT 4.
it may sound intruiging, from the simplicity of it's location...what is basement 4? the first thought that may cross your mind. basement 1 is purely a parking area, basement 2 has a canteen (that overprices foods) and a parking area, basement 3 holds the administration office and parking area and BASEMENT 4 is a parking and THE SMOKING AREA.
trafalgar building security rules and regulations is quite strict compared with other skyscrapers in the makati central business district. memos and information materials on proper business decorum that should be practiced within the building premises is widely disseminated among the tenants...and are posted in the floors. among topics that were taken were SMOKING and FIRE SAFETY.
BASEMENT 4 is the ONLY LEGITIMATE VENUE for cigarette smoking. They have benches and stainless steel ashtrays all throughout the vicinity, amidst the vehicles parked. There is no time limit as to when we should smoke...as they say it: "smoke all you can!"...there is no rush whatsoever.
i have just recently resurrected my cigarette smoking (i have been smoking liberally since college and temporarily quitted six years ago)...well, as another saying goes, "old habits die hard"...thus, it resurrected in its own pace. in a conservative nation such as ours, females who smoke occupy the minority of the total populace...some may regard to us as "outcasts"...because we're deviants. normal filipinas are supposed to behave according to the norms dictated by traditions...and part of it is to act femininely towards others...and smoking is considered to be a male activity. so there: i am a self-confessed deviant.
whenever i feel the urge to have my Marlboro Lights Menthol stick, i then proceed to BASEMENT 4...and when the elevator opens, all other cigarette smoke emitted from other sticks are fused in...funny, but it seems like an entrance to hell or a halloween ball...with all the smoke surrounding BASEMENT 4.
i go to my favorite BASEMENT 4 spot...the corner bench, and begin my sheer observation of the surroundings or daydream or just think about what the future holds. for sure, there are other souls in BASEMENT 4 that think like i do, our glances with each other sometimes relate our thoughts...unspoken words. i am not a crowd person, i prefer to smoke alone...although sometimes, one or two companion/s who invite me cannot be turned down...but, i never asked someone to join me in BASEMENT 4. for me, smoking is better done in solitude...where profound thoughts and ideas are brewed.
smokers in basement 4 represent different races... filipinos, chinese, arabs, caucasians, europeans...and what-have-you. thus, the "melting pot" of the building. all belong to the biz professionals...all are in biz attires...all are thinking...biz or personal or whatever...all are puffing cigarettes. the common factor among the races: smokers.
in BASEMENT 4, there is no discrimination...all are the same. and when the lighted cigarettes are consumed and when only the butts are thrown into the stainless steel ashtrays, elevators open and up we go back to our respective offices...to face reality once again...only after a few hours to return to our smoking paradise.
BASEMENT 4: an international place of relief.