Since the first day of quarantine, I’ve stepped out of the house three or four times. The second to the last time, December 9, 2020 according to the EXIF data of the photo below, only because Speedy wanted to show me a beautiful bird that seemed to be taking a rest on the fake boulder on one side of the clubhouse swimming pool right across our house.
It’s not a pool anymore, by the way. Hasn’t been for a long time. It’s just a hole in the ground with muddy rainwater that’s waiting to evaporate. And thank goodness for the pool-not-anymore-pool because we’re spared the noise that neighbors made when it was still a pool. Kids too old not to be held responsible. And drunk adults too stupid to observe the rule that the pool was off-limits at night.
But, anyway… the bird. It looked like an egret to me. Not common in populated areas but with so many people having gone back to their home provinces over the past nine months, our suburban neighborhood has become less crowded. There have been other birds too. Many we don’t see but only hear. And we’ve been getting a lot of unfamiliar bird sounds lately. I guess that, like other wildlife, they have started descending from the forests of the Sierra Madre.
Like other wildlife? Yes, including a small snake that somehow found its way into our shower. I doused it with Listerine thinking it would choke but it didn’t. Why Listerine? It was within reach. Besides, when we used to get millipedes in the house, drowning them in shampoo worked. By extension, I thought Listerine would work on the snake which I didn’t realize was a snake to begin with. I thought it was an extra-long worm. But, alas, when I called Speedy for help, he announced it was a snake. He had to hit it and throw it away.
The last time I stepped out was in January 2 to take photos of the dogs.
Stepped out. Literally. Not drove somewhere. I’ve not seen the inside of a car since quarantine began. Nowhere to go, and no reason to go out. I’m comfortable inside the house, I’m creative in the solitude and groceries (dinnerware, flatware, photography accessories and small appliances too) can be ordered online.
Given all that, why would I want to go anywhere near people who think that the right way to wear a face mask is to pull it below their noses because “mahirap huminga.” That’s what Speedy sees when he goes to the market for fresh vegetables, the only thing we have failed to satisfactorily order online. Discipline is rare and those responsible for enforcing it are just so…
For example. During the first few months of quarantine, trips to the market were strictly regulated. It was done on a rotation basis to avoid overcrowding. The barangay issued passes (one pass per household) indicating the holder’s name and address. Residents of our barangay could only enter the market on Monday and Thursday.
Then, one time, Speedy came home with a shocking stupid story. A middle-aged woman, not uneducated from the way she talked, tried to enter the market but was flagged down by the guard at the entrance. It wasn’t her market day based on the address on her pass. But, she protested, it was her mother’s birthday! And the guard, as though following rules was discretionary, let her in. Like he was doing the right thing because, in Filipino culture, a mother’s birthday is a valid excuse to forget why there was quarantine in the first place.
Had I been the one who witnessed that, I doubt that I’d have kept silent. It’s more likely that I would have caused a commotion. I would have screamed for the market to get the woman kicked out, and the guard disciplined. Soooo exhausting. Why on earth would I want to put myself in such a situation, right? I’m happy enough in the house. I just feel sorry for people who feel so stifled if they aren’t able to go gallivanting everyday.