Zero hour

Por: José Antonio Michelena

I am told that wages and retirements will be multiplied by five, and until that happens, the services and products for sale will keep their prices, but the reality I am seeing tells me something else; unless you’re living in the future, day zero is here.

Really the process a long time ago that kicked off. In the last seven, eight months of this year, as products became scarce, prices were rising; to the extent that they sold out, appeared in other hands, at ever higher costs.

At this point, just with the Day of the Faithful Dead, November began with a gigantic question mark and our weak winter has not just arrived, whoever finds a wheelbarrow with an avocado must pay for it at 20, 25, 30 pesos; anyone who wants to eat cucumber must pay no less than six pesos per pound. And the same will happen to you with cassava, sweet potato, pumpkin, banana, or malanga. And not to say of the incapable pork, or the grains.

To top it all off, other products that had always kept their price, such as bread, have also experienced a rise, under other clothing. For example, the popularly called “fainting”, which previously cost three pesos the flute, now reappears with a slightly larger size, “with fruits”, at the price of seven pesos. And the little loave that was worth a weight, now it costs 2.50 because it has guava.

It seems to us that everything has come suddenly, but no, it has been a process, and the money goes hand in hand, almost without realizing it. Those of us who are not “high-end” (the vast majority), we can buy less and less, even what little is in the markets.

On the other hand, as happened three decades ago, our homes express the face of the crisis, as a perfect metaphor: one day we are melted by a tube of cold light, then another, and another, and we cannot replace them, and our houses are darker. And one day we break an appliance effect and we can’t replace it either. We ended up cooking in pots that we hardly used anymore, for which we need more cooking time and spent more fuel.

There’s an old lady passing through my house, who’s getting thinner, she’s become almost translucent. It pains me to see that lady who I don’t know how long she’ll have the strength to walk, to withstand the very tough challenge of existence. Before we exchanged some phrases, but already his words do not obey the present, but seem to spring from a past that must be kinder to him, perhaps he found there a comfort zone that was lost in time.

Three decades ago we were told of a possible zero option, a return to the primitive community that would make us leave the cities in search of livelihoods in the rural environment. Now we are waiting for day zero, when money, prices, finances, economy, cost of living, will undergo a drastic change.

Uncertainty, mental states, establish parallels between the two, choice and day, two entities that do not intersect, but thus travel close, at equal distance, and that common denominator, zero, is what prevails, which overrides and erases, at that point, any option.

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