A Few Days in Quarantine

Another shot of a deserted NYC. Photo by Naima Ryan.


After just one week of quarantine, I’m bored out of my mind and missing the take-outs and burgers at Denny’s. I find it strange how just one week of isolation makes you dream back to the times when a virus wasn’t infecting the world and the tiny annoyances that you now crave just to feel some emotion other than boredom. I cleaned my room more than I ever have and redecorated far too many times. I keep making my way to the fridge, not because of hunger, but because there isn’t anything else to do and munching on some crackers or making myself a sandwich passes time by even if it’s for a couple of minutes. I’m really wishing I appreciated the “normal” life I had before—the universe seems to keep teaching me to stop taking these for granted.


Remote learning has started and even in quarantine I’m struggling to make it out of bed and try not to look grumpy in front of my peers. All that’s on the news is this stupid pandemic. For once, I’d rather hear about Kim Kardashian’s new scandal or the latest celebrity tea of who’s dating who. I mean what kind of world is this? I’m not even receiving any Harry Styles content! The news is now covered in sob stories and numbers that just keep getting higher by the hour, followed by my mother’s gasp and daily saying of “wow, things are getting really bad.” Yeah, we know, mother. The house is cold and now the pleasure of being the only child isn’t such a pleasure anymore. If I had six dogs I definitely wouldn’t be complaining in quarantine, I promise. I guess the good side of quarantine is not having to stare at the disgusting school food they dared to serve us. 


14.9K confirmed COVID-19 cases in New York City today. I think it’s pretty clear to say that we are absolutely f*cked. Excuse my language. The possibility of going back to school on the hopeful date of April 20th seems like a joke and every time a new number of cases gets announced, I feel more helpless. What a senior year. It feels like so much is being ripped away from me, so many experiences and opportunities. The thought of not having a graduation breaks me a little more each day and I feel more thankful for the experiences I do have. On the brighter side, the planet has been doing a whole lot better. I guess this is punishment for all of us for all the things we have put it through all these years and it’s finally taking a well deserved rest. 


The past two days have been nothing but me spending hours reading books that have been sitting on my shelf for the past three to five years. An interesting and experimental read I’ve been enjoying so far is House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. It’s a real rollercoaster and a difficult read, definitely something I want to reread in my 30s. Some of the pages are printed backwards so you have to turn the book to a mirror and read it that way. Truthfully, I’ve never felt more stupid reading this book. At times it has me reading the book upside down or horizontally. I haven’t appreciated reading like this in a long time and it serves as a good distraction from all the other crappy things going on outside. It seems really unlikely that schools will be reopening in April and just our luck that the U.S is the top infected country at this moment. Not only that, but New York has half of the cases in this country. 


If I’m being completely honest, I don’t know how much longer I can take it. I keep having dreams of my life at school, like are you kidding me? Dreaming of being at school? Now, we’ve crossed the line. More annoying, why can’t people just stay INSIDE? The annoyances that come from being at home is seeing others playing with their lives outside during a time like this. We’re at 53.3K confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the state and let me just tell you, holy cow. That number is just absolutely insane. It’s so upsetting to see all of these people getting infected and even more frustrating to see the lack of resources that are being given to hospitals and medical professionals. It’s hard to imagine life being like this, but we’ve made it. We’re living through something that is going to make history and an event that will be talked about for years to come. The dangers of our medical teams getting sick are getting higher and higher and if that happens, what will we have left? Never mind prom and graduation, will I be able to go to college in September? Are people close to me going to get sick and die? Morbid, I know, but I can’t help myself from thinking about these big picture things. Life absolutely sucks. I don’t think I would be able to handle it if they told us we won’t be going back. 

– by Johanna Paulino ’20