Braggadocio on Corona

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It’s not casting conclusion or judgement.

But authorities and others of the public-at-large have both observed how some among us have this cavalier approach towards covid. Many think they will never get it. It’s a bitter truth, until it may later catch up to them.

Such unfortunate events tend to unfold at any given time and much as we want to ignore such faults and failings, as we would want our own, ignored, the consequence of ignoring such is too great of a consequence that can even lead to life being wasted.

To cite one concrete example which many probably already have heard were cases of drinking sessions observed in secreted places in Baguio, La Trinidad and elsewhere with the use of one drinking glass cup as shot- glass for alcohol drink as well as use of the same utensils during drinking sprees.

During any drinking binge, face masks are usually pulled down the chin or removed completely to allow for freer action to drink and chew on finger foods like chips, crispies, peanuts, chicharon or “pulutan” as commonly known, and social distancing overlooked because drinking bouts tend to generate very close human social gathering.

In the past when covid was virtually non-existent, such social, close, sit together drinking gathering is the accepted normal norm.  Because then, it would look weird for two persons drinking from the same bottle while being many feet apart.

But covid, having drastically altered the landscape, movement and relations, returning to the old format of drinking can invite unmitigated disaster to drinkers, the consequence of which could extend to family members of the drinkers.

One such event happened last week in areas near Slaughterhouse Compound, forcing city authorities to clamp a “Hard Lockdown” around the area.

It has prompted city mayor Benjamin Magalong to state, “It seems that we never learned from our past on the dangers posed by overindulging in alcohol.”

“When we indulge, we do not care about the health protocols so things lead to serious consequences in this clustering of cases that we now have in that area,” mayor Magalong added.

“There was drinking, they were eating and they used just one shot glass while drinking (alcohol). So this leaves a huge implication. A lot of people were infected,” Mayor Magalong further explained.

A resident (he declined to be identified) living nearby a gasoline station fronting the entrance of Slaughterhouse Compound and knowledgeable about drinking sprees there, said to Ah Kong: “Sir, uray anya pammalakad ti gobierno kontra covid, nu kinatangken panunot ti   sumiksikawel ti ulo ti daduma, ayna, apo, ad-adda a ti covid tumama ta awan atrasan na, nabartek ka man wenno saan.”

“Nu mabalin la ta alak tsenelas ko ta pagsasaplitin ti obet da. . .” the person continued, his voice trailing off.

Ah Kong responded to the person, saying, “Ops-ops, kabsat, saan mu ar-aramiden ti mangsaplit kadagiti sumiksikawel ti ulo na nga manginom ta baka idarom dika ti vandalism.”

To which the person who wished not be named, responded to Ah’s answer by laughing rousingly in delight and said, “Ket apay ngay nga idarom dak dagiti manginom ti vandalism? Dapat kuma ti kasok a ket maltreatment kadagiti adults.”

Ah Kong responded, saying, “Wen a ta dadadaelem met ti tsenelas mo nga mangisapsaplit iti obet da.”

Make matters unfavorable, despite having been fully informed, constantly reminded by authorities to be on guard in protecting themselves by strictly following   standard safety protocols set to minimize infection, authorities and others of the public deem those dismissive about precautions nonchalantly wave away at the rules and instead engage in activities that invite the big C to attack them with impunity.

As Mayor Magalong stressed, “During this time of public health emergency, discipline, precaution and responsible behavior are paramount qualities in our response and mitigation mechanisms, and these shall be applied first and foremost in our barangay communities.”

Some observers of this offhand attitude noticed that the characteristic of the penchant of mocking deadly coronavirus can be found in the likes of, say, Donald Trump, the incumbent president of the United States.

Trump has been hospitalized last week following covid diagnosis. For the record, and as human beings, we should wish Trump full recovery. But it does not change the fundamental and universal perception that Trump really mocked coronavirus, took it for granted, even as he was appraised of the pandemic’s dangers, he recklessly and dumbfoundingly never established a national response against it.

Trump even refused to wear a mask, laughed and despised those who did. He even ridiculed US Presidential candidate Joe Biden for using a face mask and keeping his distance.

Then covid struck him hard. What’s left of Trump’s credibility as a leader of the most powerful nation in the world is now in tatters.

Ms Fortina Fonsat, an Italian, said, “It was he (Trump) who didn’t believe about this virus, and now he’s got it. This is Karma. Everything adds up.”

Americans of all political stripes wished President Trump well in his battle with the virus, but what did he do? He re-payed their compassion with callous contempt and reckless disregard for the well-being of anyone but himself.

Maybe the statement of Ms Fonsat about karma has stark truth in it.

Ah Kong thinks coronavirus has a peculiar sense of humor. It acts like humans, most of whom, by attitude are extroverts.  And just like a human extrovert who would rather leave alone an introvert, corona, too, shies away from introverts who just want to be by themselves, left alone and all covered up. Instead corona finds gleeful happiness landing on extrovert people who love close company and close socializing.

Then just like extrovert people who would like to cuddle and be cuddled, corona also cuddles into the noses of cuddling people, finding their noses and mouths perfect entrances.

When we do social distancing, corona stays away, unable to establish a   nose home. Needless to say, all need to be experts at social distancing.  Like what Sofia Moldipas, a mother from Benguet said, when   she complained to Ah Kong last week, saying, “My two daughters are real experts at social distancing. When I call or txt them, they won’t answer at all.”

This time impresses a point that socializing – a normal facet of life – is nothing now but a compacted bale of all the things that we formerly loved to do but now has become a threat to our health.  Close socializing nowadays, it appears, is expensively deathly.

Better to socialize with your dogs and cats by petting them rather than go petting somebody’s back, particularly a lady’s back, else you be accused of “ag-chan-chancing.”  Petting your dogs and cats is better for there no scientific evidence yet that points out pets can be infected by corona.

Maybe you may have never noticed it, but some of the passenger jeeps, trucks and buses we ride on have always been experts on social distancing. For these public utility vehicles have two words often printed on their mudguards which simply say, “Distancia Amigo.”

It lends credence also to the move of the Baguio City government regulating the conduct of social gathering which must be coordinated with city officials. Even home gathering will be closely monitored.

Good that the move of the city government didn’t state that extroverts must not attend social gathering or parties, for doing so is just like telling saints and angels to become bed spacers in hell.

Social well-wishers and social party attendees whom Ah Kong spoke with at a distance, before writing this topic swear to him that there is no greater fortune-teller of human happiness than the sum of social time they spend with one another.

And they further admonished unbeliever Ah Kong that socializing is a frame of mind that defines human character, whether it’s or not socially acceptable to others. And this is the way their identities are formed in the minds of others as they communicate.

“Now, as for you Ah Kong, who is an incorruptible introvert, go drink your coffee alone, stay where you are and bolt your door,” they further advised.

Then as an afterthought, the social wishers and attendees whom Ah Kong spoke with asked, “Just a question, Ah, why do you defend introverts, anyway, eh?”

Ah scratched his head, paused sometime then answered, saying, “Sometimes in our extroverted society, the difference between an introvert and an extrovert is that an introvert is often unconsciously deemed guilty until proven otherwise.”