Silent night, literally

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    ‘May our silent nights end before the Christmas season begins!’

    WE were in the office practicing safe distancing and all while chatting about the rest of the year when my colleague Lester Pascua turned to me and with some delight said “Walang mamamasko, sir!” And it struck me: he is right. If there will be a second wave and a third wave (thanks, Alvin Toffler) and maybe even a fourth wave, then Christmas will be devoid of parties and carolling and shopping binges and midnight sales and children on street corners knocking on your windows and singing clips of “Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit.”

    Even the reindeer, 9 in all, will have to be reduced to maybe 5. Dasher but not Dancer, Prancer but not Vixen, Comet but not Cupid and Donner but not Blitzen.

    Of course Rudolph. But not Santa.

    Actually, it’s been a silent night for some time now, ever since the first lockdown in March. I used to hear car horns and even wang-wangs coming from BGC’s 5th Avenue or McKinley Road without fail any time of day; but the lockdown turned the streets of BGC silent, and made me notice the chirping of the birds.

    True, the onset of MECQ has meant more vehicles on the streets and more people on the sidewalks of BGC, but it still is a far cry from BGC pre-COVID, which was a bit too congested in my book. I moved to BGC (at that time referred to as “the Fort”) in 2008 when the number of high rises could still be counted on the fingers of both your hands. Today, not even your ten toes are enough.

    Despite the silent night outside, many did not find it easy to sleep when the lockdown was firsts imposed because we all had so many questions and worries about the future due to COVID. I was one of those; I still remember how during the first week I would be tossing and turning in bed, afraid of the silence, and wondering whether I would ever see my brothers again and thinking what I would do were I to fall ill with the virus.

    Ten or so weeks later, I worry less not because there are less reasons to worry but because I’ve accepted and adjusted to the new realities. And the silent night is more relaxing than foreboding now.

    But no, I do not wish for silent nights in December. Off key as they may be, I wouldn’t mind hearing the voices of the kids on the corner of Edsa and McKinley, trying to sing the first few bars of Christmas carols. I will avoid malls and Christmas sales, but it would be nice to have them so others can go shopping for goods and foodstuffs. And Santa! What are the reindeers if they’re not complete, and yes, let’s not keep Santa in quarantine because he is over the age of 70. Anyway, up there in the sky he will have no problem complying with social distancing rules.

    I know it’s not even June and here I am writing about Christmas. But Easter came and went while we were on lockdown so who knows if we one day wake up to hear Jose Mari Chan on the airwaves?

    May our silent nights end before the Christmas season begins!

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