Monday, June 23, 2008

The Storm Passes

The power went out early the previous morning, at around four or so. The first indication I had that something was wrong involved the UPS device that protected our beloved computer from random power surges -- it started sounding off every five minutes, so I had to crawl out of bed like some legless zombie and shut the thing off.

At that point, I noticed that the wind was howling outside, shaking the windows as though it wanted to get in. That, and it was completely lightless inside the house. I realized that the storm signals were inaccurate again, that Manila was in the middle of some grade-A monsoon monstrosity once more, and I wondered how it was going to affect my Sunday.

I woke up to reports that a ferry had capsized somewhere in the south, taking a lot of people down with it; my brother had received a report from his insurance company (which thoughtfully updates its managers with information like this). None of the stations seemed to be broadcasting, predictably because no one was crazy enough to go out in such weather, and when we switched on the TV under generator-power, we found that none of the channels were up, either.

With no news, no power, and no ability to head outside the house and navigate amidst swaths of fallen branches, we gravitated to the only thing that remained: boredom. That, and each member of my family decided to sleep for about twenty hours today.

It wasn't the most productive of days, of course, and I would have preferred to at least go out and see if any place was open. But I had to face facts and realize that people still remembered the huge typhoon a couple of years ago, the one that stranded half the population and made us think twice about how we treated the local hurricane news. We may be a country that is extremely used to storms and monsoons and stuff like this, but we're also rational people. And sometimes when nature decides that she doesn't like you, the best decision often involves just riding out her anger.

It's Monday tomorrow, and I have quite a few expectations about the aftermath. There'll be quite a few rescue operations in the works, for example. The local politicians will first regroup, and then when it turns out that none of them have been harmed as much as the innocent people, they'll get to their so-called humanitarian efforts and public haranguing. There'll be the usual blame-throwing: the weather bureau will probably be questioned on how the typhoon hit us instead of passing right beside us, and the local governors will be investigated on how the storm drains still haven't been cleaned properly. And of course, a few hundred street cleaners will pull on their uniforms and prepare for the longest day of their year.

In short, life goes on. A typhoon tends to make for only the briefest of lulls in our lives; we might see it as a Sunday that was completely spoiled for us, or a Sunday where we were able to get some much-needed shut-eye. But at the end of such a day, we put on our regular clothes and realize that it's time to return to normality.

Life goes on.

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