4/06/2021
Dove Cameron as Bubbles

The idea of travel bubbles isn't new. I mean, not new considering how the fabric of space and time seems to have dilated beyond recognition in the past thirteen months. Objectively, the term is new, the same way "quarantine pass" and "you're on mute" didn't exist until this time last year.

I remember this talk of a Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble almost materializing, but then not happening, because of a spike in cases somewhere. I assume Hong Kong, since they're the city I've been monitoring more, for some reason.

In the past few days, however, that term's bounced back in my head. There's a Taiwan-Palau travel bubble, and there's an Australia-New Zealand travel bubble, all involving places that have had a better handle on this pandemic than we have, and so have earned the confidence of similarly-minded places to bring people over without the need for two weeks of quarantine.

Oh, it must be nice to fly again, and I'm not saying this in a #wanderlust way. (God, I despise that term.) I was telling a friend yesterday that I'd take a business trip over being stuck at home. Granted, most of my work trips have also involved being whisked by motorcycle to an hitherto unknown part of Cebu in the very early hours of Saturday morning. You know, some sort of adventure, the sort of thing you plan to write essays about but never do. Something new.

Well, this weekend Shalla and I finally tried ube cheese pan de sal. Yes, it was a trend at the beginning of this wretched lockdown. We only tried it this weekend. It was all right. I think it would be better if they didn't use ube on the actual bread, because that works best when it's warm and fluffy and just ever-so-slightly salty. But at least that counts for something new. Maybe soon we'll try dalgona coffee.

But you can only really do so much these days, even if you're in a position of relative privilege and comfort. (Although I don't have as much sympathy if you managed to, say, fly to another country amidst all this, just because you can. Not sorry. Jealousy is perfectly acceptable these days.) Sooner or later your options will run out, and then you'll get restless, and then you'll stop being restless, because you realize feeling that way is futile. Nothing will happen, at least not at this rate.

I just take comfort in the fact that, someday soon, the Philippines will be in a bubble, all on its own, because all the other countries won't let us fly to them, and they will refuse to fly to us either.

I don't know. It must be great to have been diagnosed with clinical depression long before all this happened. And I say this as someone who's known a depressive for a while, someone who's been diagnosed for decades. They've told me - and I hope I got this right - that the longer it goes, the more things just don't seem to stick to you. You've dulled out. You just don't care.

"Or do you?" they tell me.

I mean, to most of us all this despair is new. You might say it's shallow, that pains much deeper than "I can't go out to meet my friends" are lurking behind the corner, but still, this lack of control, this hopelessness, well, it seems to be something we're not at all equipped to handle. But then, this society does not care for the weak and downtrodden that lurk within. If you can't survive, go die in a ditch for all I care.

And your responses...

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