Footprints

For Cultural Hybrids Seeking Home

The Life in a Day of a Locked Down Resident

05 April 2020

As I wake in the early morning, I slowly stand up and thank God that I have no sore throat (Covid?) and I feel just fine.  I open the window curtains—from the east, the sun’s rays are streaming, and the world is beautiful!

I look at the clear skies and the sharp outlines of the trees I see from my 17th floor window, a refreshing sight from the usual vista of murky buildings and hazy horizons. The earth is getting reborn-- if we humans but give it a chance to breathe and renew itself. I can see this change even just after a couple of locked down weeks! I watch a handsome white bird with plumed head, larger than a pigeon, gliding its wings to gracefully land on one of the trees. Momentarily, it takes off again, flying up and away, possibly to start its day with a hunt.

Thank God for this new day. I have never quite appreciated what a gift it is to live on to the new morning, each morning.

Presently, I set myself for my daily routine.  I open the TV news to find out what has happened since last night, resigned that vaccines are too far off, but perhaps some cure miraculously found?

However, it is more of the same—more new cases, more deaths, especially in the western world where they have more test kits, better statistical measurements, and better reporting. Here in Manila, I simply get mostly anecdotal evidence, brought to me through the two chat groups I belong. My blood boils when I hear of some powerful politician, knowing he is virus-positive, get into a hospital, unprotected, in order to accompany his wife. My heart bleeds when the toll includes a doctor or medical worker—they are the true sacrificing heroes of our times!

I scroll down the new messages from my chat groups and see more solicitations for what the city of some 12 million urgently needs. How may I in a little way contribute to ameliorate these needs? I am fortunate that I belong to one of the highest income groups in the country. I also believe in the capitalistic idea that so long as one earns one’s money honestly, it is not a sin to have more than most. But it is a sin NOT to share, and perhaps during these times, we should share until it hurts!

What the government can't provide, private people can try to help. Hospitals need proper face masks: available-on-order and affordable, I read that someone is organising donations for volume deliveries. Another chat group member is helping collect funds to buy and deliver food to more deprived centres. We should also be mindful of contract workers who now don’t have any means of livelihood, says still another. And so, I remember the gardener of my small country cottage who now cannot get there; the builder who was going to do repair works for my own flat with his contracted labour before his job was terminated. These people are the breadwinners of their families.

I call my brother and sister-in-law to ask how they are. They’re ok, everyone else in the family is ok, and I am relieved. “What are the latest news?".

By mid-day, I will have finished answering emails, done my 30-minute exercise on my little exercise machine in front of NETFLIX, and perhaps do bits and pieces of work, but as yet I am not in the mood to do much.

After my solo lunch--prepared by a helper whose virus-prevention training is still a work-in-progress--I am back on NETFLIX, glued on the first season of Designated Survivor. However, by 14:00, I have to tear myself from it in order to participate at Mass officiated by Pope Francis via Sky Cable’s Channel 76.

Redemption, says the Pope, requires sacrifice. On the cross, the Lord took it upon Himself to absorb in His body all the sins of the world, thereby becoming the SERPENT SIN; and through the destruction of His body, He has set us free. Go therefore and sin no more. I imagine a superhero of Marvel comics who extends his mighty arms and expands his chest, attracting all the bad energy from those around him until, like a magnet, he draws them all unto himself, then Boom❗️💥🔥—he explodes, sacrificing himself!

After Mass, I try to concentrate on my project for this lockdown period—to learn how to use social media. As a 72-year-old, I have never been keen on the web, much less care about facebook, twitter, or the various apps available in the internet. But I do know of a young man who is well versed on this—he has agreed that I can call him for a small fee, in order to get some guidance as the need arises.

Yesterday, he talked me into how to use Skype. “Press the phone icon, do you see it on the upper right corner of your computer screen?" “Yes, but I keep pressing and pressing, and nothing happens, it doesn’t work!” “Take a picture of what you’re doing and send it to me. . . . Mrs Hoffarth, you should not press the icon on the screen with your finger, use your keypad and curser!”

Duh! I should have remembered. Only last week, I had a similar problem when downloading an app on my phone. I kept pressing my thumb on the fingerprint icon and nothing happened—it took me a good part of an hour to figure out that I had to press my thumb on the home button!

After all these frustrations, wow, what a sense of accomplishment!

Another 30 minutes on my exercise machine in front of Designated Survivor and I am ready for my early solitary supper. Then, a long viber chat with my son, also on lockdown in Berlin: he is taking up Spanish lessons online.

Before 21:00, I am ready to settle down with a book—this time on Greek mythology, amusing myself with the antics of these ancient gods, led by the amorous Zeus and the jealous Hera.  They had to be propitiated rather than loved.

Sometimes, when I can’t sleep, I start thinking what this experience with Covid-19 might mean. It is the first time in mankind’s history that we are all united in fighting a common enemy, proving to ourselves that we are all interconnected regardless of national borders. It’s humbling to learn that despite all our modern technology, we are NOT in control, nature will take its course.

This experience is so far bringing out the best and the worst in many of us, but in the end, it will be transformative. Nobody will remain the same—not our world leaders, not our family, not ourselves.

Entrusting everything to God, I hope for a better tomorrow.