We are going on six months since our first lockdown in March. This forced incarceration has affected me and many of my friends in several different ways.
There is no playbook on how to while all this time away. And we have forgotten how to be creative, resourceful. We compare notes. And most of us agree that we have endless time for musing, thinking and worrying. We also spend hours on end reminiscing and remembering.
I am happy that there are unlimited sources of music online today, even my kind. The children used to call it elevator music. I welcome that now. There was a dark period in my life when music brought my spirits down, made me sad. But that’s over now. It was good for my soul. My daughter has recommended reading books on Kindle. I tried that long ago, but I missed turning the page, holding the book. Reading news articles online is good, too. But often, just when you think you are well informed, you find out it was fake report. But there you are, jolted by what you have read. How do you now unknow the gory details of that discourse?
Someone recently posted a video. It showed a team of men and women in white, looking very credible, telling you all about the virus. I even took notes. Then I copy-pasted and sent it to all my Facebook friends. Oops, it was fake, too. Now I had to tell them I got duped and sent them a dud.
Then you see the roster of names of people you know who are infected and passing away. It is depressing. Suddenly you want to check your temperature. You wonder about that cough and sneezing fit you had the night before. Have you lost your sense of taste? Is warm water really better for you? What other herbs are good for your immune system?
There is nothing you can think or talk about that is not related to the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19). I am exhausted from the fear and anxiety. I want to dream about better times. I long to feel safe again. I miss the warmth of friends and family. I ache to sit up close, hold hands, touch faces, give hugs and kisses.
I try to remember what we used to talk and think about before all this. Well, there was politics, but that got wearisome and ugly, too.
l recall wondering with friends if there was perhaps a patriot out there who could stare at a problem in the face and tackle it without looking for someone to blame. We saw no one in the horizon. And there will be no one unless someone is willing to stand up and be held accountable.
We also wondered if colors will ever be just colors again, and not imply that someone is left or right, dilaw, black or white. We are too politicized. Unreasonably and stupidly so. We are full of anger. Our knee-jerk response to most matters in life is not very pleasant and often, not too kind.
I believe that it is time to hit the reset button. Someone has actually suggested that this pandemic precisely signals that time. My friend agrees. “We cannot continue on this free fall and pretend we can do nothing about it. We must stand up and awaken from this blind stupor. We chose to be in this place because it was easier to succumb than to push back. We stopped giving a damn!”
This startled me. I know he is a political animal and the type who, like the old cigarette commercial, would rather fight than switch. He is young. But he moves me. He makes me think.
Does it even bother us anymore that we are face down in the muck and mire? Have we chosen to meekly allow having our noses rubbed in the filth? And have we not protested or rebelled because it is easier to bow than to take a stand?
These were my thoughts on the morning after an extension of our quarantine was declared with stricter and more stringent rules. Only the night before I had listened to the desperate pleas of medical front-liners asking for timeout, begging for a respite from the avalanche of sick and dying people stricken by the virus.
Their request was granted, but grudgingly. The spirit was not one of kinship and compassion. And I felt a deep and desperate hopelessness at the words I heard. It was infuriating, but I was too sad to get angry.
If the tests for COVID-19 are as efficient as some bigwigs claim, why do they take so long? And why are they so expensive? Some people think that after a test they are free to gallivant and ignore the precautions. It is not a vaccine, folks. A negative result only means you are not infected, yet. By the way, is it true that at our port of entry, some people “buy” their negative results without a swab or isolation? Just asking.
The United States is reeling from the onslaught of cases and a death toll of at least a thousand a day. Now Trump’s chances of reelection look bleak.
A reader in Minnesota asked about our regular noise barrages.
“Are they pulling down historical markers there, too?”
Sarcastic, I replied, “No, we just take down TV networks.”
And then I thought: ABS-CBN was a historical marker. Indeed it was!