DRY AND GUILTY

When Ondoy hit last week, I happened to be comfortably stuck at home—sleeping (especially because I wasn’t getting enough sleep the days before) and cuddling with Honeybun. I woke up to rain, which grew stronger and stronger, and showed no signs of stopping. As a result, we were stuck at home. Having been in front of the computer every single day for the whole week before that, I was already allergic to it so I ignored my laptop. Instead of watching TV (what’s good nowadays, anyway, except for “New Generation” and “Classroam,” that is, both of which have been off-air for weeks now), we watched DVDs, and because neither Ronald nor Jollibee would deliver, we had to munch on grapes, Pik-Nik, multi-grain bread, hazelnut spread, and even more grapes. The whole day was all about sleeping, eating, cuddling, and watching DVDs, not necessarily in that order, and some happening more than the others. When it was time to sleep, it was still raining. And so we slept.

When we woke up the next day, and finally decided to get in touch with the outside world (checked our phones, went online, watched local news), we discovered the horrible tragedy that took place while we were comfortably in our cocoon. Guilt arrived, especially after confirming how while houses got submerged in the flood, ours was standing high and undamaged, and while others were stuck on their roofs or, worse, dead and floating, we—and all our loved ones—were dry and safe. We were extremely grateful, yet very saddened that not everyone was as blessed as us. And the guilt was there too, it didn’t leave.

In fact, when I checked Facebook to see how friends were doing—and they were doing bad (one, who chained her car to a post and wrapped her Mac in plastic, was saved by her boyfriend, who had to swim 6 feet of water to get to her, and another lost two loved ones)—I felt even guiltier that I was just at home checking Facebook (What is up with all these guilty feelings, anyway???). In fact, it didn’t take long before I logged out of FB. I personally couldn’t just post a status message on how I enjoyed finally watching “Milk” or how I was stuffing myself silly with Pik-Nik, when others were posting how to help, or how their relatives and friends needed rescue.

Days have passed after Ondoy, and so many people still haven’t recovered. The worse thing is that there’s another storm—a stronger one—scheduled to arrive this afternoon. So it’s really, really scary.

While it’s frustrating how we all could have done a better job avoiding certain effects of calamities, what’s commendable is how the whole chapter is bringing out the hero, the Good Samaritan, and the benevolent in us.

Pepeng might be stronger than Ondoy, but after it, we will all definitely be stronger people, more united and good-hearted than ever too.