And just like that, it's December.
But of course a part of us refuses to believe it. We may be three-quarters of the way through the Christmas countdowns on the nightly news, but still, we refuse to believe that the year's going to end.
Well, that would be the preferred narrative. We've been in some sort of lockdown for roughly eight and a half months now, and even if there have been concerted efforts to make us feel like things are normal, well, things aren't. I still have to wear that stupid face shield, for one. I've long gotten one of those shields that you wear like a pair of eyeglasses while still providing protection for the whole face. I've gotten used to the inconvenience of it sliding off your face at random times - it's better than constantly sweating on your forehead - but it still fogs up, which isn't good when you have difficulty breathing because of the fucking face shield blocking what masks don't.
Anyway, you know my gripe about this. Like anybody cares. Why can't you just do your part?
Well, there have been a lot of people in malls lately. I guess there's a sense of safety in knowing you have to wear face masks and face shields, and you also have to keep three steps apart in escalators. But then you realize that malls are holding sales again. I was at the mall over the weekend and, good heavens, there were a lot of people, and nobody most people aren't keeping their distance anymore. Why did I choose that day to buy bedsheets and, to take advantage of an additional discount, a saucepan?
I don't exactly mean this to be an essay where I rant about how undisciplined people are. While that's a factor, we've really been left to our own devices, thanks to guidelines that are a bother to keep track of, a terrible communications strategy, and overall fatigue about the aimlessness of it all. And then there's the fact that it's Christmas. If we can't have family reunions - and I doubt that's the case, because we will find a way, unfortunately - then, fuck it, we'll make sure to mark this occasion one way or another.
So, you have malls playing Christmas carols for months now, like they have in previous years, only now it feels more sinister, because the malls are emptier. Were emptier. Nobody's buying boxes of appliances for office Christmas parties, but people are still buying gifts. Or, in my case, necessary improvements for the flat.
And then you see large groups of people sharing a pizza at a restaurant. The fact that this happened should astound me, but frankly - and this shows in the way I am concluding this excuse for an essay - I'm just tired, so why bother? We're no longer in the mood to be vigilant like the time I ate a siopao on the queue to the grocery. We're itching to, for one, leave the country, perhaps for good. Anything to put a sense of finality in this neverending March, for as long as you have a visa and the money.