Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Downpour, downfalls

A HEAVY DOWNPOUR of rain normally means one thing for most of us students: Walang pasok! The joy. The happiness.

Others use the time to catch up on school work. I use those days to catch up on sleep and maybe to do some pleasurable reading without the obligation of writing a reaction paper afterwards. Many use the opportunity to catch a movie with friends.

Going out on such days always seemed weird to me. Though I’m not guilt-free when I criticize this practice, isn’t the point of suspending classes to avoid the streets because of flood and traffic? The Department of Education (DepEd) suspends classes in view of the difficulty of getting to school, the possibility of schools flooding, as well as the possibility of flooding in the students’ and teachers’ homes.

It’s odd—kind of disconcerting—that these things don’t affect most of us Ateneans seeing that we live in our suburban villages with decent drainage, and have our cars or our wallets that can afford us comfortable trips to malls if we’re in the mood. We manage to stay dry and we take advantage of the opportunity to model the new jacket we might’ve bought for the rainy season, or the bonnet that will keep our heads warm and concerns subdued in the frigid mall. (Isn’t it cute how her umbrella matches her top?)

It’s amazing the different reality others face while we dine in restaurants with service charges that equal close to half the price of the food, or drink coffee the same price as two meals for others. There are others that stay home and position buckets under faulty areas of the roof while using the remaining buckets as well as tabos to get the shin-high water out of the house.

We watch a P150 movie about some 40-year-old virgin or some lady ghost who lives in a pool, while there is a brown out perhaps in our own homes. Nearby, a shanty also temporarily without electricity is better prepared, for candle light is a staple even when the lone light bulb is turned on.

We step out of the freezing cold theater to the freezing cold atrium where hundreds like us—perhaps a classmate or two—wait in line for the next show. (Is that JC in that new sweater taking a picture of that girl in heels using his phone camera?) Elsewhere groups of kids wearing worn-out shirts and shorts and tattered slippers happily go swimming on asphalt.

We slip and slide along our status quo comforts, never splashing or falling completely, for that would bring unwanted attention unto us, entailing being drenched by conscience and concern for anonymous others who are drowning but who we would rather not think about on this God-given gift of a free day.

The following morning, everyone awaits another announcement from DepEd.


On that rather depressing note: GO ‘TENEO!

OK, I’ve never been much of a “peppy” guy but I do catch games on TV and of course I hope the Blue and White get it done tomorrow.

To those going to the game, stay safe and have fun. To those staying home, be sure to keep that TV locked on the game. To those who won’t be catching the game in any shape or form, enjoy the day off.


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