By the middle of the morning, I was told that the line had gone on into infinity. But at least the tables were still in order and although the level of human noise pollution had risen incredibly, no one had yet dropped dead of exhaustion.
It was a different story as the clock struck three. By then, the line of people that had snaked beyond sight had inexplicably found its way into the bowel of the large unpaved room and the orderly flow broke in one swoop. The tables resisted displacement but the aisles in between had people going in eight directions. An instant at the doorway would tell you that everyone in the room had developed over active sebaceous glands and that venturing in would most likely give you a whiff of what humans really smell like without chemical masking. You’d have fonder memories of your face rubbed on a table of fresh fish.
If it weren’t for the obvious signs of life, I’d say we were all inside a giant canister filled with sweat and carbon dioxide. People stood so close to each other that each would have to breathe whatever the others exhaled. At least the taller ones had dibs on whatever fresh air was still available. The poor ones in polo shirts and slacks who sat on either side of the rows of tables had no choice but to inhale who knew what.
At the end of the day though, staying in the canister proved to be more appealing than moving out. They all had to go home at the same time and it seemed that there were so many humans on that single spot of earth that there were no public rides left. Both sides of the street had clumps of people waiting to attack empty jeepneys on the way down to the city. Others simply opted to walk.
I had no idea that this was the extent of unemployment in our city, in our country actually.