March 24, 2023

After two months on being on lockdown, I finally had my haircut last June 9 but not after falling in line with other long-haired males and females who were all too eager to have their hairs trimmed to a decent length. What a relief it felt to rid of the long hair that added to the burden of being isolated for so long. What a satisfying moment it was to interact with my barber who was as excited to see me as he was eager to cut hair once again. It was his trade and he was more than happy that he had a job waiting for him after the enhanced community quarantine.
Not all Filipinos are as fortunate as my barber. According to the news, more than seven million have become unemployed because of the lockdown with many more looming to lose their jobs. This is because the economy is in a recession. With mass gatherings prohibited, restaurants, shops, and other establishments have to operate on a limited basis.
Fifty percent capacity on all operations. For professionals, clients can only be entertained by appointment. That is what the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases demands while an area is on general community quarantine. Even public transportation, which, during normal days squeezes people beyond capacity, needs to downsize the accommodation of passengers.
Already, businessmen, service-oriented professionals, and other working men are feeling the pinch. It hurts like a deep cut from a razor-sharp knife. Yet, it gives everyone concerned no right to complain. In fact, these remain a pall of security among us despite the dread that confronts the future.
The pandemic has created a void in the life of every living soul. It affected everybody, rich or poor, male or female, young or old, single or married. Still, we are thankful that somehow, we can enjoy the simple things that we have taken for granted, like having a haircut. Indeed, God has not forsaken us.
Before the total lockdown was lifted, an informal survey was conducted on what people want to do after. The number one answer of those who responded is: “To visit a church or a place of adoration,” depending on their religious inclination. A far second is: “To report for work.” And, the third is: “To have a haircut.” I do not know whether the survey is accurate or whether those who responded to it were serious enough to merit an evaluation. However, if the outcome of the survey is true, the order of preference borne by the respondents’ answer says much about the character of our people. That majority wants to visit a church or a place of adoration is a testimony that we remain convinced about the importance of what religion plays in our lives, that spiritual enlightenment in times of need is more significant than material things. God, above all, is more important than anything else.
We have foregone many milestones that we normally celebrate. No graduation for our children, no birthday and baptismal parties for them, no meaningful gatherings. No beach, vacation, no nothing. Holy Week, Labor Day, Mother’s Day, Independence Day, and summer went by without much ado. But, who cares? What matters most is that we have gone through the worst part and we came out unscathed. Should we ask for more? If taking a haircut is as much a luxury as dining in a posh restaurant, thank your lucky stars for what you have.