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HONORING MY MOTHER | Frozen at the headlights




ONE THING that one might first notice about pickup trucks in countries like Australia are the extended bumpers up front. These bullbars, nudge bars or Roo bars, as they are sometimes called, are intentionally fashioned as such to protect the vehicle from accidental collisions with large animals, especially when traversing in rural roads. As drivers who travel especially at night will attest, these creatures, big or small, sometimes jump across the road without warning and end up either as roadkill or dinner. Others, like rabbits (or bigger animals like deer in the northern hemisphere) would stand in the middle of the road, appearing to be glued to the spot or become disoriented when they are struck by the strong headlights, then often ending up as the same.

In a similar sense, we humans can act like these poor animals in the wild. In the midst of extreme adversity or stress, there’s a tendency to freeze up and be disoriented, even if only for a while (as others like to say). 

A case in point had been the fire that happened in the neighborhood a few days ago. Noticeable were some people who literally ran around confused, going from one set of people to another, while some stayed just rooted on the spot, as though mesmerized by the frightful scene that slowly unfolded before them. The only consolation, in a pack, there always emerges a go-to person who takes charge, and like Babe in the movie, guides the errant sheep home. Baa-ram-ewe.

Looking further, say our subdivision were a representation of the whole country, and the pandemic was the fire, on the national scale, who would be playing the confused crowd? If Uraya were a darkened country road suddenly brightened by the incoming headlights that heralded death to those in the way, who’d be playing the rabbits, kangaroos and deer? 

Aside from not being sure of what to believe, there remain many who still maintain that it still boils down to freedom of choice. Despite the threat posed by the pandemic and its now-more deadly variants, they still maintain they are right. Meanwhile, the number of people affected by these variants rise continually and threaten our fragile capabilities to provide proper care for patients.

The ones who remain defiantly-rooted to their beliefs and endangering others in the process, either because of personal fear or deep sense of hubris, they are actually nothing but an unfair comparison to the poor rabbit frozen by the headlights. 

The headlights of the sweeping contagion that’s been lighting up our ways, if one must know, “lights up” in the same way that a brush fire would, eating through our very existence as though those who remain inactive were nothing but dry grass.

There are two words, welded perfectly to give birth to a fitting oxymoron. It is “sophisticated ignorance”, from a song by no less than Jay Z. Wiki on the other hand, terms it as being highly developed in one’s own stupidity, but that’s too harsh. Defiant yes, but defiance doesn’t always denote a good thing. It’s like a rat giving the hawk the finger while it’s about to become the latter’s meal.

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