I didn’t check to see how many people died yesterday

In November I wrote that I was constantly Doomscrolling. I was obsessed with looking at numbers, trends, maps, risk levels. I said I didn’t check the weather outside, because I didn’t go outside anyway.

I know the pandemic isn’t over. I know that just because I have received my first vaccine I still need to mask up, follow social distancing. But I can’t help but feel that a weight has been lifted from my mind. It’s not quite hope I’m feeling, but an absence of constant dread. When I look back at this Pandemic Diary Project, what I think about most are the posts I didn’t write, when I was too overwhelmed to put anything together.

  • Early in the Pandemic, I really struggled with my chronic migraines. I had a migraine that would not go away, and I ended up in the emergency room because no other doctor would see me including my doctor or the urgent care. The ER staff was amazing, but it was frustrating that no one else would see me.
  • Later, one of my friends had an uncle die from Covid-19. At a time when the pandemic seemed to be something that was happening to other people, it was my first connection to someone who died of the disease.
  • When my own uncle got the disease, I couldn’t bring myself to write about it. He is fine now, but it very easily could have gone the other way with his other conditions.
  • When my aunt died of cancer, I was angry that she spent time in pain and alone in the hospital because of limited visiting. I still feel like I don’t have closure because my family couldn’t gather and grieve.

The Semester of Living Dangerously has helped me through all of this. Even when I couldn’t write myself, it helped to know that other people were feeling the same things. The entries of others people captured my feelings even when I couldn’t write them myself.



The act of consuming an endless procession of negative online news.

I’m told in the original mass observation project, someone recorded the barometric pressure and weather everyday. I don’t check the weather anymore, it is so rare that I leave the house. But what I have checked everyday is the New York Times tracker of new cases. Everyday, ten times a day, it has become an obsession.

Currently, we are planning how to bring students safely back to campus in February. For two consecutive semesters, we have emptied campus and sent all of our students home. It is hard to imagine how returning to campus will be possible when you compare what the national picture looked like when we sent students home in the Spring or Fall semesters when we sent students home in the fall.

Today I went to Panera to pick up takeout orders. The mall parking lot was full, and people were going about their everyday lives. Although the infection today is at a similar level to March, the attitudes of everyone around is so different. There are masks hanging from rear view mirrors, hand sanitizer in the cup rests, but we go out when we need to now. We’ve become accustomed to a certain level of danger.

Fire and Ice

In Rochester, NY a Zamboni caught on fire. Someone aptly pointed out that it was a nice metaphor for 2020, an ice machine that is burning. One of my friends was there for their kids’ ice hockey practice, and they said the driver stayed in the driver’s seat and drove the thing back to the bay where they were able to put out the fire.

Dude literally drove a Zamboni on fire to safety. I think it’s a feeling that everyone has right now. Working with instructors at my college, I just hear so much about complaints and how people aren’t doing enough. Everyone is pointing fingers. Students aren’t doing enough work, faculty aren’t doing enough to engage with students… Meanwhile, every single person feels like that Zamboni driver trying to survive this year.

We all need to cut each other a little slack- students, faculty and administration.