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Opinion and Editorial

No amount of tech is helping me right now

Alvin R. Cabral 
Filed on September 12, 2020

I'm grumbling about botched deliveries; being an expat away from home and family, it's these opportunities that allow me to 'be there' with them for the most special occasions

In Skyfall, Q and James Bond had a cute little banter in their very first meeting: The Quartermaster says "age is no guarantee of efficiency"; 007 promptly cuts him off with "and youth is no guarantee of innovation".

Let's see how they'd rephrase themselves in these times. 

Truth be told, I'm very ticked off - not a good backdrop for a journalist trying to write a column - as I pen this down. The third trimester of the year has always been very important to me: Birthdays of my mum, wife, myself, and son, in that order; Christmas and New Year, of course; and, most importantly, my annual leave. Add the gradual dropping of the temperature here in the desert and you'll understand why I'd 'kill' to ensure everything goes smoothly, perfectly if I may say so. 

Not this time. Even my vaunted killer instincts have abandoned me and my SWAT-like manoeuvres have gone MIA.

Here's the background: My built-in annual gift deliveries have all been rejected because of, apparently, restrictions. I've checked all apps, and while there are shops that indeed still deliver to our area, those I've always ordered from - and this is the most irritating part - don't. 

The most amusing part is that one of those shops is, figuratively, just a stone's throw away from our home; to put it in terms Filipinos would understand, it's only a five-minute jeepney ride (15 during rush hour, a minimum of 30 if the traffic gods decide to abandon you).

I spent days rummaging through all the apps that would've helped me. In one case, I was able to successfully place an order, only to receive an e-mail saying they couldn't do it; I was given the option to hold on to the order until they could be able to deliver it or cancel it altogether. On another, they said they ran out of the item, after debiting my account. 

And in one last patience-testing exchange, the order process went perfectly all the way to checkout. until a message suddenly flashed: "Sorry, we don't deliver to this location". Why, oh why, then, was our location there before I ordered in the first place? 

Coincidence? Bad luck? Coronavirus. (Karma, maybe, for defying some of my doctor's orders. Tee-hee.) 

Never before have I experienced having my hands proverbially tied. Innovation had made things simpler; makes you wonder why, despite all the advancements, we seem always destined to hit a figurative dead end.

It's hard to gauge or even quantify the scale of this mess we're in, let alone identify which area is the worst hit, despite all the scary figures we see updated on a daily basis. Human nature dictates that we won't believe something until it actually happens to us. Or at least to one you know; I personally know someone who lost a beloved to this virus. 

Fine. I'm still grumbling about those botched deliveries; being an expat away from home and family, it's these opportunities that allow me to 'be there' with them for the most special occasions. But, inasmuch as there will always be those better than you, there will also be those faring worse. I know it's a painful dichotomy, but it's reality. 

And now, for some reason, I feel guilty about that grumbling, given that in my case, well, they're just gifts. Could've been worse.

Which leads me back to the conversation above. Covid is in its youth, yet has already aged finely. And how efficiently innovative it is slithering among us without a clear cure in sight. I even don't clearly remember how, in the first place, I was able to think of that scene and relate it to this rant.

Chance? Good luck? Coronavirus.

I guess desperation does lead to ideas, not just to transforming your face into that expressionless-face emoji (seriously, that should be renamed to irritated or annoyed, because that's how I looked exactly) over a spoiled birthday celebration. 

And let this also be an advanced public apology to my wife, who's celebrating hers at the end of the month, in the very likely event no amount of tech will help me make her day. But, hey, it isn't my fault, is it?


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