By Virginia Jasmin Pasalo
EVERYONE needs a preoccupation these days, and not just the ones we normally do, but something new. A new skill for example, or a hobby. A few of my friends have gotten into exercise regularly, and others have taken this at a new level. For example, my friend Luz Maria Lopez, can now be considered as a fitness instructor, based on her rigorous exercise routine under a supervised fitness program. All her bouncing activities are posted on her Facebook account under the subheading “My Story” with a title, House of Pain, to which I generously give praise under comments.
“For the effort, it’s a yes!
“I did an hour of fitness, this was just one of the stuff today.”
“It is 1:13 a.m., I am blanked out on the topic for an article in my column.”
”You can write about losing options and desperate actions. I, myself, get depressive at times but doing exercise much is to blow away part of the day and get high level of energy. Write about worsening of our few options.”
The other friend, Melba Arribas, takes you to a dance in her home daily, bouncing with a chair, or just swinging her body to the music being played. Yesterday, I watched her do her exercise in the street where she had a serious conversation with a woman tending the farm.
Asan yung hullahoop ko? (Where is my hullahoop?)
Hindi ako nakikialam sa hullahoop mo. (I did not mess with your hullahoop.)
Melba dances not only for the exercise, but also “to spread love” and joy. Luz does it to keep fit. Both women inspire in the way they are taking stock of the “options” that are still open in the horizon, given the constraints and the opportunities under the pandemic. They maintain their sanity this way.
Seriously, no matter how I want to believe that walking, gardening and writing keeps my equilibrium under the stress of prolonged inertia, I do miss the interaction with people. My niece Jasmin Maramag expressed her observation.
“Everything is easy now since everything is online.”
“Not everything. You can sell goods online, but you need to grow food in farms. You can express desire and love online, but you need to copulate to birth a human being.”
There was an uneasy quiet as we both contemplate the long-term implications of inevitable transitions. What do we do now?
“I have this intense craving for bagnet.”
Among my nieces, Jam is the hedonist, she lives in the now. For now, she is focused on bagnet, a Filipino dish consisting of crispy pork belly seasoned with salt, garlic, black peppercorns, bay leaves, and other spices. She is right. Now is a most important word. Now is a most important act.
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