Keep watch

It's been a rough morning, as you all know. And I say that knowing that the morning has been rougher on other people.

This isn't the first time we've had to sleep through a typhoon, or attempt to sleep through one. That said, I think this is the first I've had to do it by myself. Well, not really. Shalla's here. I'm glad she is. I tend to sleep deeply and she doesn't. The moment the power went out at roughly twenty past midnight, she woke me up. Somebody had to go to the circuit breaker and switch to the generators. Not that she couldn't do it, but I seem to have memorized the three steps more, and even then I wasn't sure if it was working.

I called the lobby downstairs, asking whether the generators have gone on. Not yet, they told me. They're having difficulty getting it on, and have asked the maintenance team to have a check.

The thing with typhoons and living in a high-rise is you don't really notice it. You'll see the skies get darker and the streets get shinier, but for the most part, your daily activities continue as normal. Back at home you'd hear the wind howl and the rain crash on the roof, which is the cue for us to anxiously watch our street. Even if it isn't raining hard, the front of our house gets flooded. All the water from elsewhere in the subdivision makes its way to where we are. Our house is disrupting the flow. There's a creek behind us. When it gets worse, we prepare ourselves to start putting things up.

Shalla's asleep, but I'm not. We're hooked to the emergency generators and I'm watching television, or something close: me on YouTube watching TeleRadyo, a television channel staying on air, on a streaming platform, despite despots. There was a bit of whiplash, them continuing as normal when everything else isn't. They have to. Not everybody gets to do it, not even the people who claim there's no "information vacuum" of some sort, despite their best projections.

It isn't really raining hard, but you know enough is different because the windows are wet, and the wind is howling, and for a change, it's not coming from the bathroom.

I fell asleep after a couple of hours. I don't know. I guess I told myself to stay up and keep watch in case something happens. I didn't play that role before. I have slept through many storms. I can be a deep sleeper, after all. This time around, I can only watch so much news from a small screen. The elevators are off - again, no power - so you're stuck where you are. It's a good thing, I guess. Again, others have had a rougher morning.

The power came back on an hour later, and I was fumbling with the circuit breakers again. It was taking a while for us to hook up to the main power lines again. I believe it's not supposed to take that long. Maybe I did something wrong. Maybe I didn't get the order right. I went to the lobby - elevators are working - and asked. Yes, we're back to main power. No, I don't have it yet. The security guard just chuckled. "Trabaho dapat 'to ng maintenance," he told me on the elevator, as he checked into another unit that had the same complaint.

When I got back, we were hooked up to the main power. It's supposed to take a while, I guess? I'll forget that soon when I'm slightly panicking. I waited for the security guard to tell him he doesn't have to check up on us anymore, and then I told Shalla to go back to sleep.

I slept for just an hour more. By now everything felt eerily familiar. The Marikina river is on the news again. It's almost as high as it was during Ondoy. "Provident Village" was echoing in my head. They're not having a good morning.

Someone from Montalban called the studio, asking to be rescued. It says something that he still chose to call a television network not broadcasting on the free airwaves. It says something that I was watching him make his plea. Weren't they supposed to be silenced?

I'm writing this just before seven in the morning. The sky isn't brighter. The window is wetter. It's been a rough morning, even if it isn't obvious. It's going to be rougher. I probably have to make myself some coffee. I need to figure out what's for breakfast. I have to be ready. At least I get to do that. The morning has been rougher on other people, and it's probably going to get even rougher as the day goes on.

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