Twelfth edition: June 27 – July 3
I thrive on rhythm and structure. Life hasn’t been that way in awhile. This week I began the second segment of summer classes. While all of my professors have been very good about sending out the course material and communicating via Blackboard, only one of my instructors have I met via Zoom. I think this summer and fall semester will be harder than the end of the winter semester. Having the connections already formed with professors and peers made the transition to online learning much more palatable. However, as this semester begins, we don’t have the advantage of knowing our teachers. I felt overwhelmed as my Apple Watch dinged 287 times (literally) within 24 hours notifying me that there was new content added to Blackboard. I should have turned notifications off. I knew that the summer courses are expedited since they are half the duration of fall and winter, but I didn’t truly prepare myself for the rigorous course load. I have exams in all of my classes beginning the second week of the courses. After I spent a lot of time developing a plan and becoming familiarized with the different modalities for the classes, I felt much more calm. I hope to eventually get to a place where I can be calm without creating a meticulous plan but until then, my overpriced agenda is one of my most prized possessions.
As Michigan begins to slowly reopen these past few weeks, I have seen some noticeable changes in the aisles of grocery stores. Where vacant shelves with item not available stickers formally sat, were now stacked toilet paper castles in their place. Multiple brands and 2-ply?! Suddenly I didn’t have to cross my fingers and hope Meijer had hand sanitizer stocked that day, I could just walk in and see full shelves with everything from the tiny travel sized bottles to the full gallon jugs, with some even being on sale. Now the long lines created for checkout according to 6-foot social distancing protocol were in the front of the store for the newly open bottle return. People were pulling in cart after cart full of 10-week old cans as early as 7 a.m. I could not imagine the smell of dirty cans that probably permeated in the crowded return room. One of the more troubling sights however was the noticeable absence of masks on many people’s faces. This despite rising confirmed cases throughout the country and by recommendation of the CDC seems unnecessarily reckless. Alongside the nation’s toilet paper supply, the availability of masks has increased and are not as difficult to get. It’s important to remember that as Michigan continues to open up things may feel more laxed, however there was a time that a trip to the grocery store was like embarking on a risky adventure and people planned with every precaution necessary to protect themselves. Just because the lockdown is gone doesn’t mean that COVID-19 is.
Corona, it has cost many Americans their lives and enraged numerous others over restrictions caused by it. See I myself have had a very odd reaction to it… It has caused me to go back in time with my viewing habits. Take, for instance, ”Avatar: the Last Airbender”… it gets a lot of views on Netflix… I’ve had younger friends say to me “OMG you need to watch it” and I’m like, dude, I watched it when it was still airing on Nickelodeon before streaming services or even DVR were a big thing. I even watched the abomination that was the movie! But one night I was sitting on my couch flipping through different shows on the streaming services and not finding anything that struck my fancy at the time. Well, finally I got to Netflix and what popped into my suggestions but a little show by the name of “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” So I decided to watch to see if it was as good as I remember. It wasn’t. It was even better! As a child the animation and fight scenes were cool, as an adult they were spectacular, especially in an era where shows like ”Teen Titans Go!” count as a cartoon. And the writing is just amazing, the way they’re able to pack themes like genocide, murder, imperialism, corruption, propaganda, child abuse and many others into a show marketed towards kids in a way children could understand is just astounding. It also helps that numerous actors lent their voices to the show from Mae Whitman, to Clancy Brown, to Mark Hamill and George Takei. Not to mention legendary voice actors such as Grey DeLisle, Tara Strong, and Phil LaMarr. This show literally has it all. Corona actually helped me rediscover something. Weird…
It’s been a very strange time this year, and it doesn’t seem to be changing. Usually around this time of the year my family celebrates birthdays. Both of my grandparents were born on the same day: July 4. With that being a holiday and their birthdays, we usually go up to our cabin every year to celebrate and watch fireworks. However, this year is different. While my grandparents will be going up the cabin, the rest of us won’t be. Although it is strange not being able to celebrate with them, I would rather not risk getting them sick due to the fact that I work retail. We won’t be watching any fireworks this year or eating any cake together, but we can do that stuff together next year. I would prefer to keep a distance than risk not celebrating another birthday with them.
This time of year usually brings a general sense of patriotism as Americans use the Fourth of July as an excuse to celebrate and indulge in the festivities that usually get bypassed in favor of putting in a few more hours at work or catching up on chores. People flock to grocery stores, campgrounds, parks, and parking lots in celebration of the holiday. Some people stock up on personal fireworks, and set them off on the designated days of July 3 through 5. 2020, though, is proving to be different than years past. I have heard and seen fireworks that seem to be coming from private citizens for several days now, and I don’t think people are just overly eager to get the party started. Various outlets have been reporting the use of fireworks as a form of protest. With the current cultural turmoil, I think there’s just too much outrage, disillusionment, and disappointment for patriotism and celebration to take root.