Diatribe: Zoom University's Out, Scream, and Shout...Alone

Picture this. You’ve just finished bingeing Tiger King (thoughts on Carole Baskin?) after making up an excuse to get out of family game night. You’re texting one of your friends about it and trying to plan your next FaceTime hang out. 

Even with all this time on our hands, scheduling these talks has proved to be even harder than finals. The conversation starts out strong: catching up on what you’ve been up to, mentioning just how crazy it is that our life will probably be an APUSH DBQ in a couple of years, and how much you miss “normal” life. But, the conversation inevitably hits what I call the “pandemic pause”—when life has just become so uneventful, you have nothing to share.

With talking to friends being your only respite, your parents and family have slowly whittled away your patience, and seeing #GassonGrams just makes you miss BC even more. Social distancing isn’t fun, but you’re a responsible member of society who cares about the public health consequences of breaking it.

You open up Snapchat to check in on how others are dealing with the isolation, only to see Kyle’s story of a not-six-feet-apart hangout. People just hanging out, no masks, no distance, just basking in each others’ germ-infested breath. You want to swipe up and call out these Chads, but that would be such a Karen move. So you just have to sit in silence fuming, muttering, “this is why we can’t have nice things,” and, “we all need to do our part”.

For those that peaked in high school, this pandemic has been a Homecoming Tour celebrating the glory days, reliving the times that Brad dived on the pong table (so crazy!), and McKinley passed out at the pregame (legendary!). There’s no room for social distancing on their itinerary.

 For the rest of us, having to leave college and return to our childhood bedroom (at least the 1D Harry posters have aged well) was the last thing we wanted to do. We all have made sacrifices, and your hangouts have got to go. It’s up to us to keep our distance so that the most vulnerable members of society aren’t put at further risk. 

It’s possible to meet up, wear masks, and stay six feet apart. It’s not normal, but it's our new normal that we have to get on board with. Wearing a mask doesn’t actually protect you—it protects others from you. So when you don’t wear one, you’re not making a statement about liberty. You’re being selfish. 

This pandemic isn’t over just because you’re over it. Pretending it’s over comes from a place of privilege, and all of the workers society has deemed “essential” aren’t afforded that privilege. 

Here are a few of my humble suggestions of alternative ways to spend your time other than flouting CDC guidelines: 

  • Watch The Innocence Files—it’s the social justice docuseries everything Tiger King was not. 
  • Sew masks—trust me, it’s much easier than it looks. 
  • Tie-Dye/Bleach Dye your old clothes—this TikTok trend is #sustainable and a great way to upcycle.
  • Use Social Media for good—get connected with advocacy efforts, sign petitions, and bring attention to important issues. 
  • Get cooking—I would die for Claire from the BA test kitchen. Also, not a fan of the TikTok whipped coffee. 
  • Give yourself bangs—Be sure to document every step.
  • Do nothing at all.

Quarantine is hard, and it has only gotten more difficult the longer it has gone on, but I know we can make it through it. The Boomers love to call us lazy, but us Gen Zers have survived the Tide Pods challenge, experienced the fall of Vine, the rise of TikTok, the demise of old Disney Channel, and we’ve juggled second lives on Webkinz, Club Penguin, Minecraft, and now Animal Crossing. If anyone can tough it out through quarantine boredom, it’s us. 

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