By Jullie Y. Daza
With time on my hands – while I grow my hair like Rapunzel’s and nails like Maleficent’s – I’m enjoying making my bed in the morning with Zen-like mindfulness, ehem. As the day unfolds with no excitement in sight, we’re all adjusting, adapting, life being now a series of lifestyle changes imposed under exigent circumstances, for our own survival.
Will mothers let their precious ones swim in the same pool with total strangers? Will basketball, a sweaty contact sport, be as popular as ever among players and ardent fans alike, and where will championship games be played, minus a throng of passionate followers? Won’t big restaurants offering grand buffets, the food spread out in the open for hours awaiting and serving the hungry horde, be forced to modify meals and methods of serving (even if self-service)?
The new normal – how will it impact our fiesta culture? We love people, to be with people, the more the merrier, the noisier the more fun, which is why social distancing is so, well, against nature and therefore nigh impossible to enforce. How will coronavirus impact the feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, of Sto. Niño in Tondo? Will the Church be forced to cancel fiestas, the 11th commandment being “Walang siksikan” (no crowding) from now on? Sooner more than later, the Department of Social Welfare will find itself as the most or least successful government agency. Out of the blue, beggars have staked out their places at street corners wherever there’s a traffic light. The sight of them should move angels to tears, they who are too poor to be counted in DSWD’s list of poorest.
At the height of the traffic crisis just a few gloriously unremarkable months ago, three times I canceled a lunch date with an old friend. “Let’s wait for the next long weekend,” we agreed. Before we knew it, that pie-in-the-sky weekend would be replaced by a month-long, extendable lockdown. Now that there’s no traffic choking our streets, our date has been postponed again, indefinitely, and definitely so. Life is full of irony. As social beings, being anti-social is the new normal, the way to survive and stay alive.
Not according to my friend the lawyer: “There will be no new normal. Pilipino pa!”