I’m Nineteen, Quarantined, and Really Angry

Yesterday, my family went out to eat for the first time in months. We went to a local pod of food carts with outdoor seating, and we went thirty minutes before closing in hopes that it would be as distanced and empty as possible. To our surprise, we pulled in to see crowds of unmasked people crammed shoulder to shoulder at tables; they laughed and ate, seemingly without a care in the world. Six months ago, this would have been a normal scene, but now it makes me feel upset, uncomfortable, and frankly pissed off.

Quarantine restrictions may be lifting, but too many people are still dying, unemployed, and unable to leave their homes. People are becoming normalized to this way of life, yet -when we accept this reality as “normal”- we excuse ourselves to act dangerously: we are not living in an extremely normal time and we must act accordingly.

I want to go back to living life. My best friend and I love the song “Good Old Days” by Macklemore: we always listen to it on full volume while driving home after a night of shenanigans (of course, driving too fast, with the windows rolled down). The song is about being young, growing up, and experiencing “reckless nights you won’t regret.”

It’s been several months since we’ve gotten the chance to listen to that song.

Since quarantine started, there’s been no crazy adventures beyond a socially distanced walk or picnic (anything more “reckless” would certainly lead to ample “regret”). It’s frustrating to go outside and see people not wearing masks, and see them going to restaurants, nail salons, movie theaters, and other places that you certainly should not be going to in the middle of a pandemic. It’s these actions fueling a second wave that will hit this country hard and keep us inside and in fear.

A second wave of Coronavirus is looming, and people aren’t trying hard enough to avoid that tragic reality.  I am locked inside dreaming about the ways I can spend my youth while I watch people’s indifference. I am locked inside worrying about how I’m possibly going to find a job after graduating while I watch people’s ignorance. Many of us are locked inside doing our part while watching the other part of society let us down.

It seems selfish to be angry about missing out on youth when people are dying. I feel a great deal of shame writing this article: I think, “I’m healthy and safe right now. What do I possibly have to be upset about?” The more I think about it, however, the more I realize I am doing everything I can while other people’s selfishness is robbing me of a precious time in my life– that should certainly warrant some anger!  If you social distance, wash your hands, wear a mask in public, and take other relevant precautions, you have a right (and an obligation) to be angry at those who do not care– their carelessness will extend this tragic period and the time required to get back to our normal lives.

Please, please continue taking the coronavirus seriously and following the proper protocol. We all want to get our lives back as fast as possible, so act accordingly.

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