Quarantine does something to you, you know?
With the COVID-19 and quarantine surge happening all around, you’re bound to know a person who tested positive in the last few weeks and had to quarantine—what a way to welcome the new year, huh? Alone, scrambling for meds, and unsure of what protocols to follow.
I, alas, was one of those people. So out of the house, I went and into our condo unit with my father, who unfortunately tested positive, too. We spent 10 days together in that one-bedroom unit with only two windows, one television set, and no stove. We shared conversations, memories, and the brain farts we had throughout the days. And as much as quarantine was isolating, it was refreshing in strange way, too.
COVID-testing in the Philippines is a capitalist agenda
From people hoarding at-home antigen kits to searching for clinics with open slots for PCR testing, doing your due diligence as a citizen and finding out whether or not you have COVID is ridiculous. And even when you're able to book something for yourself, why is it so expensive?
(I don’t want to start on how difficult it was to find meds, too.)
The relief that comes with COVID is messed up
My dad and I were lucky enough to not experience severe symptoms—and for that we were and are still thankful. But when you know you’re not in danger, you start to feel relief for different things: detachment from work or familial responsibilities, having time to and for yourself, getting to actually rest, not having anyone hover over your shoulder.
It’s fucked up that, at this age and time, we need something so drastic to get any sort of relief.
You never really know where the virus comes from
No one in my family got traced for COVID-19. Not the ones who were going to the office or the ones heading out for errands. Who knows where or from whom we caught it.
Being able to quarantine is a privilege
Having somewhere to go and isolate, and not put other loved ones at risk is a privilege. We moved out of the house and into the comforts of a condo unit—but not everyone has this option. Many Filipinos don’t even have their own bedrooms, let alone bathrooms; how can anyone expect us to individually isolate once we start showing signs?
Balconies are a good investment
When you’re stuck living in small spaces, balconies—especially when it faces the sunset—are a godsend. That hour sitting outside and seeing the rest of the world move around you helps you remember to breathe.
Curtains are very important
Because when there are no other houses or buildings to block the sun for you, there is nothing but a good curtain to keep out the rays.
You’ll never really be ready to get back into the grind; you just have to do it
I hope I don’t sound like I’m belittling COVID, the pandemic and its effects, but because my dad and I were lucky enough to experience bearable symptoms, being in quarantine was sometimes a simple disassociation from the rest of the world. We were on our own—eating and sleeping whenever we wanted, answering to nothing and no one but our daily round of meds—and it was freeing.
If I’m being honest, I could have spent another week (or three) like that in isolation. But hey, the real world awaits.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver