There is no plan

So, two more weeks of this.

To be honest, I've been expecting, for the past couple of weeks, that we would be brought back under "enhanced community quarantine", or perhaps its slightly milder version. Cases have been going up, in record numbers these past few days. Manila being a pretty busy place, more or less the crossroads of everything, most of the cases are here. Much like four and a half months ago, the major hospitals are announcing that they can no longer accommodate potential new cases.

Sure, the government has been pretty upfront about their hesitation to bring back the capital under ECQ, this being the center of the whole country's economy and all. We can't afford to close things again, they said. The best we can do is have everyone follow minimum health standards and have local governments impose lockdowns when needed, they said.

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A million and one things running through my mind

Is it anxiety? Perhaps it is. Those moments never really went away. I still lie in bed and, somewhat automatically, my thoughts go to death, to dying.

You could say it's because these are extraordinary times we're living in. Suddenly doing what you used to do could mean dying a debilitating death. A fair amount has been said about how being stuck in one place, how hearing all this news about the coronavirus, is amping up your anxiety, or triggering it for the first time. I haven't really read up on it. I can't be bothered, for one, and also, I'm not really going to learn anything new. Not that I ascribed these thoughts to the pandemic. I've had them before. I've had them in batches before. This just happens to be a pretty big batch.

Is it because I've been away from home? Some times I have certainly stayed awake pondering about what will happen when one of my parents suddenly die, if it happened in the height of movement restrictions, if all that meant I can't even say a proper goodbye, because I'm here, and they're there.

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I'm sure you know of a guy who thinks he knows the story behind everything. He says he knows why things work the way they are, that he has some secret insight you wouldn't otherwise have if you weren't talking to him. He says he has an understanding that would never occur to you because, well, I guess he just has a way of connecting the dots that you don't. He may say he's read a lot more things than you, but you're not really sure about it. You get the idea.

Sure, that's really all of us right about now, or at least those of us who are foolish enough to continue commenting about politics. (In writing that first paragraph, I definitely realized I am describing myself, and a little unkindly at that.) Considering that we've been mostly stuck at home and lacking any immersive distractions for over four months now, we can't help but connect the dots and release our frustrations somehow. To those that see things our way, we're someone who understands the real issues. To those that don't, we're stupid pricks who do nothing but be annoying and complain. And really, that's how we see that one relative who, as we most likely have put it, shoves his misinformed political opinions down our throats.

The difference is, we're not in power. That uncle of yours can only spout his conspiracy-laden dribble on his social media accounts, but he's not in a position to do much more about it.

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First off, this essay is filler.

There is something else I've been meaning to write - the sort that already has a mental outline - but I haven't mustered the energy to write the whole thing down. I just tell myself that it's evergreen anyway, and besides, the State of the Nation Address is happening next week, and that feels like a more appropriate time to write it.

Also, I have been busier at work for the past couple of months, now that things are a little more certain (in its uncertainty, you get the idea) and we realize we have to still earn money somehow. There goes my time spent looking out windows and composing essays nobody reads.

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Throwing shade

In the end, we're all just looking for people who are on our side. I could be nice and say we're all just looking for people who we share common interests and beliefs with, but this is really what it all boils down to. It's why we're busy unfriending people of different political persuasions on social media. It's why we latch on to whatever social and political movement is gaining ground. It's why we're watching politicians try to school journalists on what constitutes bias, when all they really want is a media outfit that would not question them.

Speaking of media outfits, that need to find people who are on our side has informed which of them we follow. Now, my caveat, of course, is that what follows is merely observational and woefully extrapolated, and not backed by any scientific study. Anyway, I did notice that while we will follow the bigger outfits out of obligation, we are more likely to interact with those who we perceive to be on our side - meaning, they're covering the stories we think should be covered, preferably those the so-called establishment are deliberately overlooking (supposedly) because they have interests (supposedly).

Take the United States and the prominence of news networks that wear their political leanings on their sleeves. MSNBC if you're to the left. Fox News if you're to the right. While they'll say - and this is definitely said a lot about the latter - that the opinion programming is separate from the news programming, if you choose to spend time with one or the other it's because you believe they've got your back. They're covering the stories you think is most important, perhaps the ones being overlooked by other people - the other side, shall we say - because they believe things differently, and that's not compatible with how you see things. Never the twain shall meet.

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