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“You needed it”
The coronavirus, or COVID-19, seemingly took my life and turned it right side up. All the things I didn’t like are no longer excuses as to why I can’t get what I want done. In a way, it has leveled the playing field for anyone who has ever experienced FOMO or felt like they had it all. Most importantly, in more ways than one, its tipped the scale on justice and equality and made those whose social status teeters on the outermost edges of disenfranchisement….even worse. As fortunate as I am, this outlining of my personal coronavirus story is just to get another grade on another assignment before I graduate (cue cynical but very foreseeable reality themed statement) into a recession. It in no way paints a picture of the literal nightmare some are experiencing because of fake news and shortage of medical supplies.
Every day has blurred together. There are no more weekdays, there are just short weekends and the long weekend that takes place Monday through Friday. I sleep peacefully for 12 hours a day and do nothing. Quarantine, for me, has been a heaven-sent (hence my aforementioned disclaimer citing my privilege in this situation). I worked entirely too much leading up to this pandemic, 50 hours a week to be exact. That’s right, I worked at my restaurant job in West Austin serving tables for 35 hours a week all the while putting in 15 hours a week for my unpaid internship and tackling assignments for a 16-hour semester load of studies. “Why do you work so much?” is the number one question I get from people when they find out how much work I put in and the answer is because I was raised by workaholics who grew up in a society where it’s ideal to measure your self-worth by how “hardworking” you are and where it puts you socioeconomically. It’s not their fault, but I believe when bad things go on in a certain way for too long things have a way of resetting themselves, usually set off by the tiniest disruption….and usually way past their due. Understandably upset at the loss of something important to me, about the impending, at the time, pandemic and my loss of sources of income, these very people, my mommy, and daddy, assured me I had indeed been doing all that I could do leading up to this and that this would be the best time for me to rest.
To reiterate, it’s not my serving job by itself that utterly obliterated any amount of energy I had leftover from my internship and university assignment workload, for actual fun, its the culmination of all of them together and the reality that I could be doing all of this to the best of my ability and still not land a job after graduation (given the uncertainty of the near future and the future that loomed pre-coronavirus). The post-grad blues is what some call it, the anxiety that comes with that very possible part of my journey and so many others is a job in itself and definitely added to my previous exhaustion. Getting up for five months straight, three days a week to drive to Austin, pay $200 a month in parking for an unpaid internship that didn’t ultimately get to see a happy ending? Grievous. Having to read, what I interpreted as, painstakingly unempathetic emails from most of my professors stated, yes, they know my internship is over but they still expect to see me in class right after? Distressing. Truly, before the world got turned upside down, in the days leading up to a government-appointed lockdown, I wasn’t exactly having the time of my life.
There are no daunting expectations to meet, I get to be by my lonesome, relatively, there’s no accountability to tend to, but instead, all the time in the world to practice gratitude, learn how to cook and therefore eat quality food, fine-tune my spirituality and put myself first for once. The only downside to self-isolation for me has been waking up at a decent time to be present for class meetings and assignment deadlines. I’m an honest woman, honest to myself and to others and, quite frankly, I figure if that’s the only downside to the coronavirus then I’m doing just fine. I’m no longer anxious about the future, because, come what may, I won’t be alone in whatever struggle it brings. In addition to that, I get relief knowing that people who haven’t experienced anxiety before this pandemic will either experience it and learn true empathy or see it firsthand from someone they love and that they’re self-isolating with and learn it.
I needed the world to pause. I needed my world to pause. The first because a part of me is experiencing the phenom outlined in this well thought out read up on what I just explained and the latter because I would have worked myself until I had a breakdown. This is good…better yet, great.
Eating During the Coronavirus Pandemic
The outbreak of the coronavirus, all over the world, has greatly affected eating as a whole. Some are without food as a direct impact of being without work, others aren’t “eating out” at restaurants, meaning they aren’t dining inside a food establishment over a short period of time and there are those that are cooking at home.
I originally wanted to name my piece “Fooding During A Pandemic”.
According to Urban Dictionary, “fooding” is: “”A process which includes, but not limited to, any of these actions:1. Finding something to eat.
2. Finding a place to eat.
3. Picking something to eat.
4. Picking a place to eat.
5. Preparing food
6. Ordering food.
7. Waiting for food
8. Eating the food
9. Cleaning up
10. Leaving the place”
For SEO purposes, I’ve settled with “Eating During the Coronavirus Pandemic”.
Floor signs in a store separate shoppers from getting too close in proximity to each other while waiting in the checkout line.
Grocery store chain posts signs to remind shoppers how to practice safe social distancing. Methods include keeping distance from other shoppers and employees, wearing face masks and shopping alone instead of groups.
The local produce shop, who usually takes cash only, opts for credit card use amidst the pandemic.
A very rare home cooked meal. I cooked ground lamb and made lettuce wraps with it. I roasted some cashews, made emote I’d usually buy at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (canceled due to COVID-19) and some juicy maple syrup brussel sprouts.
For someone who eats out every night, I’ve learned to cook for myself while in quarantine. This is a vegan curry ramen I learned to make in the winter, but this time I made it according to the instructions and not free handing it like I would had I been in my usual day-to-day rush. Now, all I have is time.
An aunt of mine organized a Friday night Zoom call for the women in our family, namely her nieces and close girl cousins. We drank and ate dinner together, talked about horrible blind dates and laughed until we cried…virtually.
All of the streets are empty and by the look of it, San Marcos has become a ghost town. The only movement on these streets, besides in the grocery checkout line and drive-thrus, has been traffic lights changing from green, to yellow, to red and back again.
Chick-Fil-A’s drive-thru signs encourage the same credit payments the local produce shop encouraged. Cash has been said to be a carrier of the virus and businesses are looking to reduce infection for both themselves and their customers.
A sign notifying guests that there will be no eating inside of the dining room. This is the case for all eating places, everything has to be taken back to your home.
Aquarena Springs Drive, which is normally bustling with evening traffic, is desolate. The only thing in the distance is the sunset, the only outdoor form of entertainment that can’t get you fined.
Eating has become a more sacred activity in my life. I usually skip meals, in fact, I still skip meals. It’s more important because I’m more aware of what I’m eating and more thankful that I can still eat at all. With my busy schedule I’d just eat anything that seemed healthy, regardless of it being from a fast food place or not, and now I can formulate recipes and cook wholesome meals for myself and (virtually) congregate with loved ones over it. This is something I’ve always held dear and being in quarantine has afforded me the time to do so.