“Hemmed in like a boar between arche(r)s”

Admittedly I should have checked Schoology last night so I could have started this journal earlier, but I feel like without the structure I’m used to my brain’s sort of forgot what I need to do in regards to school. Either way, I’ll start out today’s entry talking about yesterday, although the details will be blurry because of my awful memory. 

Yesterday, I woke up on the couch to my cat, Steinway, stepping off of my chest and just barely missing my face as he ran to chase my sister’s cat, Ghost. Ghost was, as usual, sprinting around the house in a way that would make you question the fact that he’s nearing 12 years old. Naturally, I grabbed my phone to check the time and to make sure no one died while I was asleep (In retrospect, although this is the way I usually joke, sort of morbid and dark, it’s uncomfortably topical with everything that’s been going on). It was around 0950 (maybe 0945, I can’t really remember). My brain goes into hyperdrive and I rush to grab my sister’s laptop and log into Zoom while simultaneously putting leftover pasta into the microwave for breakfast before my AP biology Zoom meeting starts. I’m able to sit down with my pasta and laptop with time to spare to respond to some messages from my boyfriend and AP biology group chat. This is the first time I’ve been faced with the reality of my situation. Two weeks of school closure means two more weeks without structure, two more weeks I won’t be able to see the people who hold me together, and two more weeks of me learning to manage school without school there to manage me. The break’s only just begun and I can already feel the madness and anxiety seeping into the updates my teachers leave on Schoology, the messages from my classmates and friends, my household, even me. I’m able to snap out of my existential crisis to listen to Ms. Richard and Ms. Wilson talk about Hardy-Weinberg for two hours. Once I’m able to exit the call, my brain is able to go back into “weekend” mode and I can pretend things are normal for the time being. I shower quickly, as I forgot the night before, and work on my homework until 1500. Come 1530, I’m opening the door to my boyfriend and we set out on a walk around my neighborhood. I’m surprised my parents let me go out at all, I asked over and over to make sure that they’re sure but I think they worry about what would happen to me if I’m forced to stay within our 1500ish square foot house. Concerns aside, we end up in the small park about half a mile from my house. There’s at least 5 SUVs parked in the parking lot, but the park is completely deserted save for a woman and her (adorable) dog. It’d be a scary sight if I wasn’t trying to distract myself, and the empty park means fewer people and gross (sorry) kids to worry about running around. We throw a few flannels onto the grass and lay down. Weird as it is to say, it’s nice to have small problems crop up throughout the day, they make it feel more real. Little things, like his mom changing when she wants to pick him up and the workers at Popeyes forgetting to give us honey for the biscuits. I could have done without the bigger things though… (like my parents unexpectedly meeting my boyfriend for the first time). By 1930 we’re back at my house and by 2130 his mom picks him up and I’m forced back into my “normal” life. Note the quotation marks. 

This morning I woke up on the couch around 0950 again, minus the cat and the Zoom meeting. I had a strange dream about basic leadership training (a three-day-long NJROTC “mini boot camp” that happens over spring break). My dream was (very loosely) set in Camp Pendleton, minus the barracks and galley and basically everything I interacted with at BLT last year. It was kind of a bittersweet dream, though, because BLT was canceled this year. I was really looking forward to going again and seeing all of the people I met last year, especially with my ten new ribbons, four new medals, and two promotions. I was looking forward to a lot of things that have been canceled because of the virus: the orienteering competition, PT practice, BLT, AMI, maybe even my birthday depending on how things go. It feels selfish to be worried about my birthday, especially considering I live in a house with two high-risk people (my 61-year-old father and 57-year-old mother with diabetes). I’m really not sure how I’m supposed to feel.

I heard my mom talking to my brother this morning. My brother’s work doubled his PTO and sent him home today. My mom, on the other hand, is only allowed to work from home one day a week, and she has to use her PTO even if she’s working. It’s striking to me, the difference between these situations. My brother is 23 and works at Home Depot, where he’s been for about two years. My mother started working at her job not long after she moved to California in 1991. It’s things like this that really put me in my place as a clueless high school student. I realize how different their jobs and positions are, but I can’t help but worry about my mother over my brother. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll be able to understand everything that’s been going on until it’s over. It’s only our third day off but I miss my friends, my boyfriend, my unit, my teachers, even just having people around. I miss the structure. Something about school being canceled makes this time away feel so much more significant. Winter break paled in comparison. I was only meant to be writing for 20 minutes but it’s been more than an hour. The first journal entry is always the longest though, I just needed to build a foundation I guess. Google Docs, I’ll see you tomorrow (probably for another hour knowing me).

I figured I’d just make my own playlist … on Spotify)

Song of the day: Lava Lamp – Cuco 

“Today doesn’t feel much like a Friday…”

Voice No. 1
Today doesn’t feel much like a Friday. These past days have been off and I’m sure anyone can agree to that. Today should have been a regular day at school. Talking to your friends about teenager stuff instead we are stuck at home dwelling on how we could have enjoyed high school more. Thinking about all the things we could have done differently if we knew it would get to this. Anyways my day is just starting. I went to sleep around 12am and woke up at 10am, ate breakfast and cleaned my room. Now I’m here staring at my laptop. Hopefully today the world can receive some good news. I think we all need a break. I have to go to work today and there are so many things that we are changing to take extra precautions. It’s sad to see what we have gotten to. Yet we still have loads of people cramped up in the building buying loads of wings. 

Voice No. 2:

Today I woke up at like 12, I didn’t really plan on waking up late. The only reason I woke up late is because I stayed up till like 3:30 playing with my homie. They’re moments that I treasure because we weren’t even playing at that point; we set our controllers down and we just talked about life. We’re both car enthusiasts so we started talking about making a car crew when we’re older and making stickers, hats, and jackets maybe. Once we got off I thought over the whole thing, once we go off into college there won’t be many nights like that anymore. When I woke up today I felt so lazy mainly because I had to do homework. On the brightside I only have one left to do.

Life in the Time of Corona: A Year We Could Keep Our Promises…

Voice No. 1:

I kind of lost track of time in the midst of our current situation, but I believe it’s my second week of being in quarantine and it seems to me that as we go deeper into the year of 2020 everything seems to just be getting worse. Yesterday I received the news that our annual senior prom was cancelled. Cancelled! Although I realize that in dealing with this pandemic they’re going to be things that are out of administration’s control I could still feel raging anger from the top of my wavy black hair all the way down to my feet’s ten toes. I mean come on now, administration really couldn’t postpone our prom? So they cancel our prom, but don’t cancel our senior portfolio/interviews. That just makes absolutely no sense to me and just thinking about the fact that they couldn’t postpone our prom but found a way to postpone our senior portfolio/interviews makes me want to throw a fit as if I was a privileged 6 year old spoiled kid. At the moment I’m currently questioning myself if my anger is justified or if I’m just being a selfish little…….you get the jist. I understand that there are people out in the world who have found themselves being affected by this pandemic in far worse ways and I don’t want to in any way compare my situation to anyone who might be dealing with the far worse scheme of things by expressing my anger. But, at the same time I don’t want to keep my emotions bottled up so I decided to write it down in this journal. In addition my siblings really tried to kick me out the other day. Could you believe it? These little kids are all younger than me and they really packed up some of my clothes and tried to get me to leave. I hope it was all in fun and games and that’s not how they actually feel. I guess one positive outcome from all the craziness is that with being home quarantined with my family it’s a big reminder to me that no matter what happens family’s always going to be there no matter what.

Voice No. 2:

Yesterday it was announced that our senior prom, the night that I have been looking forward to ever since I was in kindergarten, has been cancelled. I know that the world is facing bigger problems right now, Covid-19, and it may sound selfish but i think it’s safe to say that the senior class of 2020 is filled with anger. Why us? Why now? There must be something we can do. We deserve our prom after all this boredom and at home work. All we have left is to pray and hope things will return to its normal state sooner than later. Today is my first day off from work this week which means i have more time to do my school work YAY! (that was sarcasm) lol anyways hopefully people stop being selfish and stay at home today.

All Quiet on the Westcoast Front

We would like to live as we once lived, but history will not permit it.

John F. Kennedy

Life in the time of Covid-19: A Daily Journal

Two years ago, I was chosen by the National Endowment for the Humanities to spend a summer at Virginia Tech, the Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, and the National Archives, studying the Influenza Pandemic of 1918. The centenary of that awful period that followed what was then The Great War killed almost five percent of the world’s population. Yet as devastating as the Pandemic of 1918 was, relatively little has been written about it. It’s as if the global death knell, tolling continuously and ruinously from 1914 through 1918, had deafened the world to the last inhumanity the war, at least in part, produced: the worst plague in human history.

I had done some professional epidemiology; I studied public health as a grad student at UCLA. Plagues, pestilences, pandemics, these were all the source of my fascination and my fear because I understood how soon the next one would come, must come, even though is would do so while most of the world would be looking somewhere else. This is how pandemics occur. Once they jump from their animal hosts into the pets that we own or the food that we eat, they are among us. Although frightening, like all crises, they call us to bear witness as people as much as they rely on our bravery and our perseverance. These things cannot be stopped, they can only be ameliorated, or, in my case, they can at least pass without also going unrecorded.

I left the world of medicine and healthcare behind me in 2009 and found my vocation in teaching. My students and I are now within our strange bunkers, isolated from one another and waiting for the wave of fear, curiosity, and isolation to pass. I miss them and wanted to give them a place to put their voices. These following words are theirs:


It didn’t rain today, which was disappointing, but it should start up again soon. I like the rain, it brings me a sense of peace and calmness (if that’s even grammatically correct). I like the coolness that it brings to the air, and its unpredictability. When it rains, I like to just sit outside and watch the water fall from the sky. Watch as it falls with such ease and then momentous force. It’s almost like a dance or a game. Like it has a personality of its very own, not to be poetic or anything, but it’s true. One minute it’s storming down with such force and power I can hear its song from inside my house, and then it stops and just begins to sprinkle.

My sister came home last night from her friend’s house. I wish she would just go back already. She’s already being annoying, and I barely even saw her today. Which is how you know that she was being REALLY REALLY annoying. She thinks just because she made dinner that she’s all of THAT. But she really isn’t. She boiled pasta for crying out loud, and put some garlic flavoring in some butter and all of a sudden she’s a world class chef in my parents eyes. UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I can’t even be in the same room as her right now. Plus she wanted me to do the dishes so she told my parents that since she made dinner that I had to do the dishes and they were so preoccupied with themselves that they agreed with her. But I can’t say anything because that wouldn’t be “mature”. So I did the dishes and then she had the audacity to tell me, not ask, TELL me that I had to dry, and put them away as well. 

And then there’s the school situation. Don’t get me wrong I love school but I would rather do it at, you know, school. So that way I can solcialize and ask questions, and be involved. Plus every teacher thinks that their class is the most important so the work never stops coming. I have so many tests for AP World that I have lost count. And I have to do online, two hour lectures for AP Biology. Which don’t get me wrong are really constructive and helpful but I can get confused and lost at times which is really frustrating. Then there’s math. Algebra 2. The work I had on Monday, I had to do notes for literally two hours and then do homework after that. Needless to say I did not get to bio that day. Oh, and back to bio, there is SO MUCH WORK! Like my god. I have done two of my like 9 assignments so I am buried in work. And every time I take a break, that is when my mom just happens to come home from work. Which you know would be fine except that she accuses me of watching too much tv. I have done nothing but work today. I did school work, and then yard work with my dad, and that wasn’t even fun. It was not relieving to take a break from school to help him because every little mistake I made he just blew up.Like I accidentally shot him with the hose, and that turned into “WELL WHAT IF THAT WAS A GUN?! HUH?!” And then I was kicking a ball around with my biggest dog Charlie (he’s a black lab) and I kicked the ball to my dad and he kicked it so hard it hit the fence. The minute I accidentally do that it’s a catastrophe and I have just ruined his fence. Ended his world. Needless to say, he had a complete meltdown. UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!