By now we've more than gotten used to the additional layers of bureaucracy that comes with acting like everything is the same in these times of everything not being the same. For one, I now instinctively bring out my phone and open my camera the moment I enter the supermarket, so I can scan the QR code that leads to the online health declaration form. Yes, they want your business, now more than ever - but they also want to know that you won't be forcing them to close because of a sneeze you failed to suppress.
All this comes with a few inconveniences. For one, I am slightly annoyed that my whole address is quite long. Well, arguably that's fine, if not for the fact that my phone insists on autocorrecting everything, even if I've typed that particular sequence of characters many times before. At least some establishment allow you to shop while you're still typing (or tapping, as is more physically appropriate) your details in, although that isn't perhaps advisable since some can just, you know, not type anything in at all. The new social contract means not being as anonymous as you used to be, or hoped to be - but then, not everybody believes everybody honors those provisions, so why bother?
Perhaps more annoying, however, is how wildly inconsistent your temperature can be. We know we're not supposed to go beyond 37.5 degrees Celsius - that means you've got the beginnings of a fever, at least, and you're very much well into the path of being a pariah - but if you've been out and about enough times you realize there just doesn't seem to be a steady average for these things. Well, there used to be one: I know I'm normally in the middle of 36 degrees, give or take how hot it is outside and how much I've walked. But now, especially with face shields (still, ugh) being required to get into certain places, you get less consistent readings.
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It's a somewhat weird position to be in, watching something get popular way after you first liked it.
Take the video game Among Us. No, it's not me, of course, but Shalla. Got introduced to it by some colleagues of her, if I remember correctly. It was over a year ago when she posted fan art of the game, something that continued to attract attention until recently, when the game became popular everywhere else, with streamers spending hours on it and every illustrator in my periphery posting about it.
So, yeah, it's weird seeing people like something way after you first liked it. I think she stopped playing the game because she got tired of it. I'm not really sure. But we still watch the gamers, sometimes, when the mood calls for it.
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This is why I shouldn't leave the essays in my head for too long.
For months I've had this thought bubble about how this pandemic would affect the elections. Yes, it's still over a year away, but if this thing is going to last for as long as it wants to, we'll have to think about it.
I don't know about you, but my election precinct is a clusterfuck. Perhaps the biggest barangay in my home city come together in one elementary school - or so it seems, because it gets really crowded. It's difficult to find where exactly you'll cast your vote, and it's just as difficult to find your queue, and it's just as difficult to be in the queue yourself, because you can't see where you're walking (or standing), and you'll be dizzy if you're not armed with a fan. No wonder so many people find voting to be a chore. No wonder you really need your palms greased.
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I've spent the last three Saturdays having breakfast alone at the McDonald's nearest to the flat.
I mean, why not? Shalla's usually asleep by this time, and I'd be too lazy to make breakfast for myself, since it's, you know, Saturday. I know, usually I look forward to making breakfast on weekends, particularly when we had a French toast phase, one which will surely come back around in a couple of months or so. But since I've been doing most of the cooking, I guess I miss the days when I can wake up and not do much for the first hour, and maybe for the second or third, too.
Since I wake up at five in the morning most days now, this means not eating anything until roughly half past eight. I'd be watching something on the television, maybe drinking some Milo, all that time. Sweep the floor - it's not a big flat, so it's done in ten minutes, and maybe I'd squeezed in some mopping, too. Take a shower, get clothed, and head to the grocery. Along the way, the McDonald's. See. It makes sense.
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The lockdowns began in the middle of March. I remember not thinking of summer, even if it was going to begin at the time, because it was starting to be clear that nobody was going anywhere.
Well, it's been almost six months - I think six months in two weeks' time.
As I said yesterday, by now we've just gotten used to it. There's brooding frustration, and perhaps anger too, but not much has come out of it, because, well, why would we? Would it really be worth it? What else are we left to do? What else are we allowed to do?
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