QUARANTINE TIMES: CAST AWAY
Updated: Jul 19
“Not knowing if what is in the media and on the news is true or not, can be very stressful. It’s really crazy to not know how and what to do to fill the gap of time that you have because of this pandemic, so one of the things I started doing is painting again.
I have not touched a painting project for many months-- most likely a year. I think of why I haven’t painted and it was because I didn’t have time. I would always be out working, or going to eat, hanging with friends or taking random drives. Feeling that I needed to do something productive and having ample time is what motivated me to grab that painting brush and began painting again.
A couple of weeks ago I decided to grab my car keys and go for a drive because I had been stuck indoors for two weeks straight. I felt my body and hands shaking while I was driving because neither my body nor mind has been exposed to this quick imposed isolation that has altered how I think of freedom.
Working from home is something that helps me stay distracted. I work for an academic program which means we work with students and parents. A parent reached out to me and was very worried about his children’s education and I was trying my best to be a source of positivity. I’ve been working from home for about a month and I found out a couple of days ago that a coworker’s dad tested positive for the coronavirus and my coworker went to get tested and she is most likely going to test positive.
Having the fear of infection constantly on my mind is also very stressful and overwhelming. I live with two older people whose names are Judy and Jack. Judy has told me several times that we are very fortunate to live in a big house because there are many people out there who don’t and at least we would be able to easily quarantine ourselves from each other.
On a Sunday morning at 10 am I figured I'd go to the store because we needed food and essential things. I went to Costco and then went to get gas for my car. When I got back Judy told me that her kids found out that I went to the store and the first thing they told Judy was ‘Don’t let her back in the house!’. They did not care about my wellbeing or even think there may be another side to the story. Instead fear made them look at me as a threat.
I understand that they are worried for their parents but we needed food and I felt it was safer for me to go rather than have Judy go out. Judy has been going out more times than me and I believe that is not safe. How is it that her kids don't say anything about that? I know my position in this house but the way I felt that moment was as if I was an animal being punished and told to stay outside. Judy didn’t think of how I felt after she told me what her kids had told her.
After that day I felt like an intruder, an outsider. Im no way would I ever jeopardize Jack’s or Judy’s health and in no way, would I do anything risky on purpose. Like most people, we are all trying to figure out how to handle things during this pandemic, without putting ourselves or anyone else in danger.
This pandemic is not something we were prepared for and just because you wash your hands every five seconds doesn’t mean you’re not going to get the virus.
The virus has changed all of us and turned our world upside down. While on the positive side it has shown that for most, family will always be there during a crisis like this, on the flip side the lesson I learned is that families will only protect their own.”
~~ Maria Pineda, interviewed by Yamilet Marquez (Class of '23)
YOUNG PEOPLE LIKE MARIA OFTEN FIND THEMSELVES IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS WITH FEW OTHER OPTIONS. YOUR CONTRIBUTION CAN HELP GIVE THEM A CHOICE TO REGAIN THEIR DIGNITY.