Letters to the Virus

I started writing to the coronavirus when quarantine began as a coping mechanism to organize my thoughts and feel some form of catharsis. I’m in no way underestimating the dire state of our world with my seemingly minute struggles, but they’re deep and honest, and maybe you share them too. Here’s an excerpt from a recent journal entry. 

Coronavirus,

It’s been a little while since we spoke. Not much has happened since my last journal entry, considering we’ve been quarantining for 9+ weeks with very little outside human contact. And I gotta say, you’ve done a number on me.

Some days are good and some days are bad. On my good days, or optimistic ones, I see a reason for this. In recent times, our world has become increasingly reliant on technology, and with that reliance comes numerous conversations about the implications of that dependency. Meaning, is it healthy to have such a dependent relationship with technology and social media? We had discussions about this many times in high school, about being attached to our phones, laptops, social media, video chat, etc., and losing our adeptness for human contact. The classic example was that no Prince Charming would ever ask us out on a date and bring us to a diner in person — we’d talk to people over apps, and even that seems to go down the drain. We always brushed those conversations off, thinking you don’t get it, technology is awesome, we see our friends enough, we’re fine. Now, things are different.

Now, we have no choice but to interact with technology — and technology alone. There’s no other option than to  refrain from seeing some of our closest friends and family members. And now more than ever, we crave that human contact. This is where I see the “bigger picture” of this virus: it has forced us to look deeply at what’s happened to the world, at our dependence on technology, so we can alter our values upon exiting this dystopian way of living. We’ll value that human contact more because we crave it so much now. I’m so excited for that day to come.

Some days are good. The sun shines, I run outside, endorphins release, my adrenaline is high, I feel productive, I learn new things, I cook dinner, I clean a bathroom, and I read a book. I exert positive energy and radiate productivity. And I feel good. 

But some days are bad. I’m not a big birthday person, but I idealized my 21st birthday as I idealize many other events in my life — with hype and excitement. I pictured margarita pitchers flowing on a table, bottomless nachos, a bunch of friends, deep laughter, good music, and overall fun times. That didn’t exactly happen. 

I couldn’t even hug my best friends when they gave me a present or when I saw them for the first time in weeks. I had to hear stories about their Zoom classes through the muffled block of a mask. I had to tiptoe around chairs so as to avoid breaking the six-feet rule. I’m in no way complaining about my birthday; I actually felt so loved this year and I felt a huge virtual hug from everyone around me. I’m commenting on the state of our interactions with those dearest to us, and how awful it is. And how I so badly want life to go back to normal.

Some days are bad. My sophomore year ended tonight. I know those statements sound contradictory, because usually people are excited about school ending, but it seems in college that as the years pass, the more sadness and nostalgia that ensues. I really struggled during my freshman year, and sophomore year was finally starting to live up to the hype of college, feeling comfortable with my friends and sharing memories, even just “the little things”. But today, I spent my day locked in my childhood bedroom completing endless remote finals. My final submission was followed by an anticlimactic viewing of a new show on Amazon Prime, when I imagine it being followed by a popping of a champagne bottle surrounded by friends. Again, I’m ideal, but really I just revel in those types of life experiences. And corona, you’re making us miss those. And it’s not fair. 

Some days are bad. The sun hides, the air is brisk, I wake up late, I feel sluggish, and I want to crawl in a hole and pretend I’m not witnessing the chaos happening in the world. My heart sinks from reminiscing about experiences from a few short months ago. FaceTime calls with my best friends end with me thinking I wonder when I’ll be able to see them again. My limited social interactions begin with my inclination to hug my best friends, followed by remembering the state we are living in.

Corona, I need you to end. I need you to stop making life feel like it’s paused, even though the earth is still orbiting and the sun still shines every morning. I need you to stop making me feel like I don’t have a purpose. I need you to stop casting a shadow over our lives.