How much bluer the skies are | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Just when we thought community quarantine was over, we received a letter from our residence administration saying, among other things, that seniors were not allowed out. I haven’t been out the door of our condo since March 13. Meanwhile, the barangay office has been sending its disinfecting team to our neighborhood.

We, of course, gladly stay in; after all, seniors are among the most vulnerable, with a mortality rate of one out of seven. My husband and I got our lockdown orders from two authorities—the government and our children.

Many of my peers are under similar orders. A cousin managed to escape to the grocery, taking advantage of the allowed arrangement of two in a car—the driver and her—and the priority service for seniors. When news of this recklessness reached her children, she never heard the end of it, not just from them but from just about everybody who learned about it, including me.

I was a bit envious, of course. When I asked her what possessed her to violate her lockdown, she said, “I like to choose the grocery items myself.” Well, me, too. But I’ve been sending Lanie instead with a list, and very rarely.

There seems no end in sight for the lockdown just yet. And the wonder of it all is I’m beginning to get used to it without ceasing to be productive. My paternal grandmother, Lola Enchay, was always home and never bored. You could drop by any day and most likely she’d be home and always busy. She believed that a married woman should love the idea of staying home, that, if she preferred to be away, the quality of home life would suffer. She belonged to another era, of course, but, now forced in a similar situation, I’m rediscovering her wisdom.

Eating less without dieting

I’m looking at my home with a critical and nostalgic eye. If anything, this lockdown has taught me to cut down on my use of materials and make them go a longer way—making do with less. The thought of not being able to replenish my stock somehow makes me eat less without feeling like I’m dieting.

I’ve also discovered deliveries. Nothing is too far when there’s no traffic. But I try to patronize talented housewives in my community who are cooking again, posting their daily menu, and delivering for a small extra fee. There are restaurants doing that, too, but home-cooked food is a welcome development.

There are also deliveries of fruits and vegetables straight from farmers’ outlets, sea catch and chicken from suppliers, bread direct from the bakeries, and just about everything else we used to have to go out for. This will surely lessen traffic and pollution. Moreover, every city could perhaps adopt Mayor Vico Sotto’s little roll-out market stalls for the poorer communities at subsidized prices.

Think of the spaces we would recover for public parks if we did away with huge supermarkets and malls. Some could be used for dorms for those who work in the city to save them the long, tiring commute and for decent homes for the less fortunate. It should be most doable in Makati. While we now watch movies at home, the less fortunate could watch on a big community screen, and not just movies but cultural shows as well and some filmed theater.

Easing the load on Mother Earth

School enrollments would be limited to residents in the area, and those living outside the city but who wish to go the same city school could avail themselves of their home-schooling program. Home will be everybody’s base, and that should make for happier and closer family and community relationships. There will be less need for private cars, and mass transportation will not be stretched.

A further good idea might be to schedule regular lockdowns and short periodic blackouts in order to save on electricity.

Lockdowns ease the load on Mother Earth. If there’s any doubt, look out your windows and balconies and marvel at how much bluer the skies are, how much cooler and cleaner the air.

I don’t know if it’s true, but they say that in Europe dolphins and otters are visible again where they had disappeared. I do know birds are chirping outside my bedroom window, and I put bread crumbs out for them every morning.

We cannot separate ourselves from our own community, our neighbors, our city officials, our surroundings, and, yes, our birds. People in a community have like karma, like people who take the same plane. We either all make it safely or not.

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