Since the pandemic began in March last year, I’ve taken the public transport only a couple of times. The drudgery is enough to make one realize that the Filipino commuters are made up of one very hardy and resilient group of people who have long realized the only way to get through this on a daily basis is to kill one’s ability to be enraged and to resign oneself to that quiet acceptance that the government they’ve put in power to lead them is made up of a bunch of incompetent, heartless, corrupt, and uncaring people.

As for the people in government, they can rejoice all they want as they have finally killed what is left of the spirit of the Filipino; no one is going to be interested in making this administration accountable for the mess we are in.

The Filipino people have been duped by this government, again. And for this, the poor, as has always been the case, have to suffer.

Maybe, we as a people will find redemption in the after life, where God and his angels will meet us in paradise, trumpets ablaring.

On solitude

It has been more than seven months since we’re forced to stay home and to change the way we lived.

For the most part, it was not exactly that difficult for me as I had spent most of it with my partner, spending quiet days working, reading, cooking simple meals, walking the girls, and talking about anything that caught our fancy.

There were, nonetheless, days when we had hoped they’d end quickly or that the other disappeared or shut up, but these days were very rare. What they lacked in frequency, though, they made up for in intensity and degree.

Other than the death and run-away unemployment figures, the pandemic, when this is all finished, will have incalculable impact on everyone’s mental health–not a single one of us will be spared.

I kept myself from being consumed by my fear of losing my job, having contracted the virus, going down the dark pit and not being able to come out intact, dying. But these thoughts had been artificially set aside in the seldom-opened cupboards of my mind because I was with another human whom I promised to stick with no matter what, whose fears are similar to mine, and so having these shared fears had this uncanny way or dissipating them in each other.

The tension in our relationship, however, proved too strong it finally pulled the string that kept us together way beyond its ultimate tensile strength, straining and stretching it until it finally snapped.

I left the place and found a studio near the place where my older sister and her family live. For the past days I’ve been trying to get used to solitude once again, to sleep unaccompanied, to have meals alone, to seek out ways to occupy the hours, to establish homeostasis all over again.

Perhaps the experience will bring me back here. To writing.

I also have been looking for a motorcycle I can ride to go around Manila, feel the wind on my face on days when solitude proves unbearable, or let me escape my thoughts while other more immediate actions concern me–keeping my balance, dodging cars that hurtle towards me, or just deciding which gear to use.

We all are in need of escape every now and then, and we do it in countless, often weird, ways, but they all serve a singular purpose, to free our minds from the constant reminder of the absurd.

Quiet decency

Against the decay and order, against life and against death, against accident, constant threats from the radio, the newspaper headlines all spreading the plague, against perfidy seeping down from upstairs or up from downstairs, against a slow devouring inside and being swallowed up by the outside … I hold my position, keep my early evening watch and wait and smoke. “Malina,” (Bachmann, 1971)