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I Know What You Did This Summer

Have you checked your electric bill this month? I knew it would increase because I have been liberally turning on the air conditioner. That’s a lot better that sweating my swelters away all day. I just anticipated a somewhat 30% increase. I thought that would be reasonable. But a 100% increase is simply ridiculous. It’s like they basically took the usual bill and multiply the amount by two. Yes, two sounds like a small number, but that means that your usual P 2,500 becomes P 5,000. If your monthly budget is tightly set on expected amounts of bills and other expenditures, these numbers may bring you down and drift your consciousness to helpless ideas of how to get the money. Imagine that some businesses are just getting back to “normal” from Covid restrictions, then they get wacked by oil prices because some tyrant gets too paranoid and decides to conquer a neighboring country. Then, the electric bill gets doubly overgrown. You might start to think that the world is conspiring to put you out of business. How did I take it? You may ask. I kept my calm and thought I could do some adjustments with my expenses. But I suppose many of our fellow consumers don’t have that opportunity.

I heard a suggestion that we should minimize the use of electric fans. I suppose, if you can’t take the heat, you should get out of the kitchen.. where it’s a lot hotter. Shall we resign our fates to the hope-halting heat and sit in the corner with mind-numbing baking solar shower? That’s masochistic in nature. Furthermore, that would be counterproductive because it’s honestly difficult to accomplish anything in the heights of the temperature. So, let those blades spin and those units rumble. We’ll find a way to pay the bill.

Where have all the pedicabs gone? They couldn’t have possibly joined some political rally. Oh well, I better walk. As I turned around the corner and approached the border to the next barangay, I was hearing some chanting. It has been weeks well after Holy Week. Is there some sort of service? Oh, the sound comes from a small crowd of people seemingly carrying candles in the middle of the street. Oh, how could I forget; it’s may. I remember hearing that there have been Reyna Elena activities in some and maybe all barangays. We are really back. I suppose the people in that crowd are wearing their face masks. Do we still practice social distance? Is that still a thing nowadays?

I told you, there’s no such thing as “new normal”. We’ll always go back to that which they call as, “old normal”, because that’s the “natural normal”. This idea which they call “new normal” is simply artificial normal”. As water seeps through cracks, such is the way of the “old natural normal”. It would happen because it simply is nature.

Tricycles and jeepneys are overcrowded again, as Filipino culture goes. The fare though, has not gone back to the “old normal”. (Come on, cut the drivers some slack. Oil prices are whipping them terribly.) Many schools have opened to face to face classes. Although the return of in-person classes is not the same as it had been before, it’s good enough that many of the kids can now go to physical classrooms. But still, the school with the one of if not the largest population, Camarines Sur National High School continues to hand out weekly modules, and maybe hold online classes. What gives? While face to face classes are being limited, gaming at World of Fun is 100% face to face. Okay, maybe a teen gamer wouldn’t get infected from an arcade machine. (What’s all these parameters before returning to conventional classes? Students in the US just went back to school, in the same schedule and setup as they had before the pandemic. The only different thing was they wore face masks to school. This is a country which at some time, had the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world. School simply opened again, without elaborate procedures. Locally, we seem to be too overcautious in keeping the kids out of school, while they have the time to go about in diverse social interactions.

So, where’s that surge that they have been predicting? This is not that I’m not asking for a surge and another lockdown. Those forecasts did cast some level of paranoia, that we’d all go back to a nation of restriction after the election. I personally would love to work from home, but another community quarantine would hurt the small entrepreneurs like the vendors outside schools which are starting to pop up again.

“And we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure…” 1 Corinthians 4:12


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