tuesday issue august 11, 2020
By Icoy San Pedro
If people think that a community, when forced by circumstances into self-isolation, would eventually succumb to its sudden predicament and just wallow in self pity, that is where they would be wrong. The cramped feeling of being in a small space, along with one’s anxiety, and the fear of the unknown, may seem like wolves baying at the door, at least from a romantic standpoint, but man is just so much more than that. After all, the human spirit and its rugged survivalist twin, are forces to be reckoned with. In comparison, viruses might as well roll up and die.
When quarantine became a national policy in March, our tiny patch of suburbia, located in the largest city in the world, looked like a set out of zombieland. “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…” (but let’s save that for a Christmas tale). It had been a ghost town for a while, as neighbors, with hushed voices only having brief chats at their gates before returning back to the supposed safety of a closed door
A few weeks later, once the Food and Medicine Pass had been implemented, trickles of tricycle-riding veggie vendors began rolling by our street, and this was followed much later by other familiar faces, whom we recognized as fellow subdivision residents road who had likewise began to selling homemade goodies. (These later graduated to general merchandise.)
Hesitant at first, we had opted to order instead from the faraway city-based groceries that offered home deliveries for our monthly supplies. The proximity of some stores had also made it easier for us to get fresh fish and other needs, so that in short, the second month of isolation had not been that bad as we had feared.
A clear indication of busier days ahead had been the lamppost beside our house. For more than a week in April, a parade of vans with cable workers would ramp up their ladders at the post and install internet wires for the neighbors, and then return a few days later to install more.
By the month of May, one could say that the entry of the global phenom called online marketing in our subdivision was in full swing. Our high mountain quarantine retreat, had become one bustling hub that now sold food, plants or household items, etc. to all its residents. It even has a Facebook page that features classified ads, and a Q&A section for those who need to query about the availability of any type of goods, from Korean to whatever. For online users, particularly them work-at-home peeps, one needn’t leave their premises anymore for their snacks or meals.
In all, you could say that in five months hence, our once scaredy town had become self-sufficient in a sense, despite the pandemic that still lurks by our doorsteps. While it may be a positive note for us dwellers here, our confidence still needs reassurance, as it is still just several layers above that of whistling-in-the-dark.
We need the world outside to stay true in fighting the virus and not be rash and complacent because we, along with the rest of other smaller pockets of people and families, need its reassurance as our standing alone won’t hack it.