By Kellen Calhoun
On my way to the grocery, an eerie feeling comes over me as I look out at a ghost town that used to be so alive. My car seemed to be the only one on the road. The streets used to be so packed, especially on a Saturday like today. When I arrived at Meijer the parking lot was partially full. It was odd because I did not see one other person on the road. As I exited the vehicle, people were leaving the store carrying carts filled to the brim with groceries. The most common among them was toilet paper. Of all the things people could buy in preparation for a pandemic, why loads of toilet paper? I did not see many people carrying soap, hand sanitizer, or other types of disinfectants. This really bothered me for some reason, because I did not understand the obsession with toilet paper. Along with the toilet paper, everyone was wearing a medical mask and gloves. In the store, I feared to cough or sneeze because others would look at me like a criminal. I thought all of this was a little excessive. As I walked down the cereal aisle, I heard an employee on the loudspeaker say, “It is important that we follow the specific guidelines of social distancing to prevent further dispersal of COVID-19.” I thought to myself,
“This is a bunch of bullcrap.”
“Why is everyone acting so crazy?”
“Isn’t this just like the flu?
“It’s not that bad, everyone needs to calm down.”
At this time, I had little knowledge of the severity of this situation and the countless lives that would be lost over the next few weeks.
This all started two weeks ago, while I was at home for spring break. I had an amazing spring break planned out. It was much needed after a tough semester so far. My plans consisted of going to the Arnold Classics expo in Columbus, a rodeo with my little cousin, a trip to Florida with my family and girlfriend, and a UFC fight night in Columbus. I remember being so excited about these two weeks off. I could not wait to get home.
On my drive home, I got a phone call from my friend Zac who told me that the Arnold expo was canceled due to the virus. At first, I thought he was joking but ten minutes later my sister called with the same news. Undoubtedly, I was upset because I had been looking forward to that expo for the whole year. Luckily, I had several other fun activities planned for the rest of my spring break, or so I thought.
A few days later, the Governor of Ohio Mike DeWine mandated a stay at home order which canceled all of the major sporting events, closed schools, and stopped all nonessential business. I remember thinking, “Can anything else possibly go wrong?” My spring break was ruined, with no Florida trip, no UFC fight, and no rodeo. It was the first time in eleven years that the UFC was coming to Ohio. I was so excited to watch from the floor seats I got. It was going to be a once in a lifetime experience for me. Additionally, I had to deal with the shift to online school during one of the most difficult semesters of my college education. Switching to online school has proven to be very onerous. Adjusting my schedule has been the toughest part of this entire ordeal. It is hard to keep on top of all my assignments. I struggled to keep up with my work when I was at school. Now it’s just hectic. Furthermore, the amount of distractions in my house is unreal. My family is super loud in general, but now that we are all stuck at home the house is like a circus. The TV is usually blaring, my sisters are either yelling at each other or cranking their music, my mother asks me to do chores 24/7, and I have the urge to pick up my Xbox controller instead of my laptop.
For instance, a few days ago I was writing an essay, but I could not focus to save my life. My mom was blending a smoothie and the boisterous grinding noise engulfed me, completely capturing my brain, disabling any logical thought. I immediately tried to escape to my room, but the noise followed me. It was bouncing off all the walls in my house and not allowing me to escape its grasp. When the noise concluded I was blessed with a few productive minutes of silence before the garbage truck came by and it created a chain reaction of unending commotion. These noises penetrated any useful thought I could come up with. After about five more minutes, I threw in the towel, I couldn’t take it anymore. Instantly, I picked up my Xbox controller. Shortly after my mom asked me,
“Why are you playing Xbox? Don’t you have homework to do or something?”
I thought to myself, “You have to be kidding me, you have some nerve asking me that!” Although I responded with, “I’m taking a short break.” I have this battle every day and it never gets any easier. Anxiously, I wait for the end of the semester to get here or this stay at home order to end so I do not have to deal with it anymore.
Desperately, my friends and I look forward to being able to do things like go out to eat, watch movies, go to the gym, and watch sports. Boredom is the only feeling I know anymore. My life at home consists of homework, eating, lifting, video games, and sleep. Day after day it is the same thing. I cannot wait until everything goes back to normal. This virus has been so disruptive to everyone’s lives. It has probably affected my mother the most because she is so used to going places all the time. Now that she can’t, we are expected to ride bikes, play cards, and participate in other family activities. Another month locked in my house with it all will drive me crazy, although I understand the most important action is saving lives. I just want it to be over so we can get back to doing things we enjoy, and I can keep my sanity.
The coronavirus pandemic has made life difficult every day. From the implementation of online school to closing all nonessential businesses, our everyday lives have changed. People fear to leave their homes and we are stuck in our houses without much contact with others. Staying at home has proven to be difficult. Focusing on school work and not conceding to distractions has been my biggest issue throughout this whole ordeal. I hope that this pandemic concludes soon and all the measures we have taken preserves as many lives as possible.