Sunday, May 13, 2007

The sky is falling

missingpoints classic
15 June 2004

For a people who take showers a lot (a minimum of two a day for most folks), we Pinoys have this irrational fear of rain. Every time there's a light drizzle expect to see umbrellas and jackets sprouting everywhere as if we'd slowly melt upon exposure to water.Never mind the heat and humidity, the important thing is that our heads don't get wet.

I find it amusing to see big burly men running for cover with a "panyo" or face towel covering their heads (to heck with the rest of the body). C'mon, do they actually believe that they'd get sick over a few drops of water? Acid rain notwithstanding, a little H2O from the sky never hurt anyone.

Of course, if we were cat-like in our disdain for water it would be understandable. But we're not. Spanish friars even forbade us to bathe during Good Friday (some of your grandparents may still be doing this) as a sacrifice. We like water when it comes from the balde, but not when it falls from the sky.

The logic escapes me. A student or an office worker carrying a folder of important documents would shield himself with it when caught in the rain when it should be the other way around. Skin is waterproof, most file folders and papers aren't. Yet you have people willing to wet things they've worked on for days just to keep their heads dry. Funny thing is it seldom works. They still end up wet.

I've discovered this early so I take my time when it rains. Unless it's a really short distance, no amount of running or shielding short of an umbrella can really keep you dry. It's either I wait or I walk as running wouldn't do much. In fact, on muggy days like yesterday, you'll just end up sweating if you run for cover. Basa ka na nga ng ulan, basa ka pa ng pawis.

I'm willing to tolerate people who do the above mentioned pointlessness, though. After all, it's their term paper / notebook / contract / resume they're wetting. What I can't stand are those people who insist on rolling down those plastic curtains on jeepneys at the slightest sign of rain. Leave me out of it, please. Not everyone is hydrophobic.

In fact it's more dangerous that way. No one gets sick because a few drops of water hit them but we can catch diseases if we breathe each other's air. Doctors I've spoken to have told me that rain as cause of colds and flu is a myth. The reason why these diseases spread during the rainy season is because we spend so much time in enclosed spaces where germs can easily be transmitted.

So huddling at waiting sheds and closing up jeepneys may actually do more harm than good. That is, if the goal is to stay healthy. But if the idea is to keep the water out (lord knows why), then whip out your file folders. It's rainy season, the sky is falling.

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