Strange homemade recipes, lonely birthdays, and Houseparty. Enjoy the fifth round of journal entries from our very own staff, giving a closer look into the life of a self-isolated teenager.
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Like every week in quarantine thus far, this past week was a rollercoaster, both for my emotions and my sleep schedule. If my family is reading this, I’d like to publicly apologize for yesterday’s rampage, but discovering a quarantine-mask-tanline across my face was a little too much to handle.
But it hasn’t all been bad! Unable to go to bookstores or libraries, I’ve been reading all of the paperbacks shoved in my dad’s office. Steve Martin’s Born Standing Up was glorious, and I’m making my way through Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, but the book is so old and its elderly stank so overpowering that I can only make it through a few chapters at a time.
I also decided to make this past week an experiment, an adventure, and it panned out surprisingly well. I thought to myself, what if I was one of those freaks who dealt with their issues by working out… all the time? So I did! Wednesday through Sunday, I hyped myself up on a curious cocktail of hiking around Occidental College and doing Bikram yoga on my back porch, every day, for five days straight. I thought it would tire me out more and somewhat fix my sleep schedule… after all, it’s harder to avoid sleeping when you’re physically tired. But it turns out exercising only gave me more energy, and I started to develop the bad habit of “going to bed” at 11, waking up at midnight to do more yoga to make myself more tired, then texting with friends for a few hours, until finally falling into a stress-coma of action-packed dreams. My favorites are down below:
I’m in my father’s friend’s beach house… but also, somehow, English class. The entire volleyball team and a friend of a friend is there (shout out to Santi). Long story short, an old, shirtless man darts into the room and yells, “200 DOLLARS TO SHAVE MY NIPPLES!” and I, of course, being the business-savvy one in the room, immediately volunteer. Santi coaches me through shaving the man’s disgusting forest of chest hair, but I wake up before receiving my payment.
I had this dream the night directly after my DP Art Exhibition and directly before my final DP Spanish Oral Exam. This context is necessary because in my dream, I zoom call my art teacher (shout out to Ms. Murphy) and we conduct my exhibition review in coherent back-and-forth Spanish. I think I said “vale” about eight times.
The last one I can remember was just a generic, garden-variety zombie apocalypse-kind of dream. I’ve had dreams before about defending my house from monsters (they’re disturbingly violent, too), but this time I was running around in a Pacific Rim/Mad Max-style wasteland with a grocery cart, hunting for some kind of rare Greek vase. I don’t get it either.
In short, throughout this past week going to sleep became such an arduous process that I upped my workout time more and more, to the point where this past Saturday I walked from my house in Highland Park to the Pasadena Bridge and back. I listened only to Oh Hello: The P’dcast and the Euphoria soundtrack on loop to feed my angst.
I later calculated the walking distance to be somewhere around ten miles. The first five were actually excellent— getting fresh air is always wonderful, and my Fitbit practically had an orgasm— but the last half of my walk I felt drained and detached from the world. Perhaps it was also just the general experience of walking around in public that was exhausting:
Reasons Why Walking Around in Public During Quarantine Was Not Fun
I saw a cute guy on his run, and instead of smiling at him Like An Adult, I crossed the street because he wasn’t wearing a mask. What a waste. I’ll wait for you, Tulane-Sweatshirted Mystery Man.
As I was walking across the Pasadena bridge, I sang along to my Euphoria soundtrack, loudly, thinking none of the passing cars could hear me. However, I did not account for the biker that whizzed past just as my voice cracked and I screeched “TRASH” at the top of my lungs. Just to be clear: I was not calling the biker trash, I was calling my voice trash. Okay? Okay. Let’s move on.
I also had some fun shenanigans in the kitchen this week. Here are a few creations of my own:
Virgin Gatorade Mimosa
Exclusively for cleaning the house on Saturday mornings.
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: It’s a beverage.
You will need:
Half a thing of orange gatorade
Preheat the oven to 375.
Toss in some Totinos for later.
Forget about the Totinos until your mom yells at you for burning them two hours later.
Mix gatorade, sparkling water, lemonade, and orange juice in the drinking vessel of your choice. I chose a martini glass, but a mug or IV will also work.
It will taste fine. Just like when you mixed all the sodas together as a kid, it’s not so much about the taste as it is about the fun of mixing it together.
Pimped-Out Instant Ramen
This is an actual dish that I make, but the recipe isn’t set in stone. It’s more about finding ingredients in your fridge to up the stakes of the soup.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
You will need:
Top Ramen Noodles and Flavor Packet
2 cups water
Minced garlic (about a tablespoon, depending on what shape your digestive system is in)
Minced ginger (Fresh or pickled)
Hard-boiled egg (you can also poach it directly in the soup)
Sliced green onions
Cook noodles per Top Ramen’s instructions.
Add a little extra water/broth.
Add in everything else, and let simmer over low heat!
With all this free time, I’ve also been toying with ideas for creative projects and trying to devote more time to writing, even if so far that’s only been typing half-baked jokes on Evernote every once in a while. They’re nonsensical (One note just says “In quarantine, every day is Fruesday? Fruesdonk? Gesundheit.”) but I think having any kind of creative outlet always helps, however marginally.
Anyway, I think that’s about as much of an entry I can muster. In summary: some days were good, productive, full of vegetables and positivity, and other days I could only think about everything I’m losing as a senior. The word for the week is bittersweet, y’all, but it ended on a good note: face timing my best friends for several hours (see photos below).
Ciao for now,
The fact of the matter is, we're all stuck, stuck at home, stuck with our families and maybe we should be grateful, we should, but gratitude feels so foreign in the wake of this cataclysmic event. The fact of the matter is I'm a teenager; it’s my senior year and I’m about to turn eighteen in quarantine.
I'm going to be turning 18 on May 1, it's that big birthday that you're always thinking about, that means I'm an independent adult who still eats my dad’s food. Eighteen is that birthday that marks the beginning of everything. You're supposed to be mature and brave. You're supposed to go out and have an adventure. Your 18th birthday is supposed to be the biggest birthday of your life because it's the first time that you're actually going to be an adult.
Now I'm going to be sitting at home with my brother, my dad, a slice of cake with my grandma singing to me on the other end of the phone. Don’t get me wrong my family is great and I'm grateful that they're healthy, but you can only spend every waking moment of every day with the same people for so long before you secretly start planning Tom and Jerry-esque schemes to get them out of the house.
I’m not proud of it but I went as far as to lock my brother out for a solid ten minutes. I didn’t turn the lock or anything I just watched as he forgot to unhitch the snap lock and then I turned up the tv loud enough to bury the sound of him knocking and the dining of text messages. Think what you want but for a split second, it actually felt like my birthday.
I’ve also taken to jogging as a desperate last resort to get away from my family which is huge since I was more of a walk the lap while Mr. Pandulo urged us on, kind of girl back in my PE days.
Do you want to know what really sucks though? Toilet paper. I know you’ve probably heard this before but the last time I went to the store I thought this sweet elderly lady was going to knock me upside the head when she saw me turn into the toilet paper aisle. Everyone is clamoring for this golden goodness. For a while, the toilet paper situation was looking pretty dicey at my house until my dad realized he could see into the future. As a single father, he’s taken to extreme couponing and bargain hunting so everything was bought in bulk. At one point we had so much toilet paper and so many towels that we couldn’t fit it in the cleaning closet and ended up storing a mound of it in the garage, where it was quickly lost and forgotten. My dad vowed never to be so overzealous again and scorned his greatest gift, repressing it until this week when the toilet paper and towels resurfaced in the garage like a golden beam of hope in these Corona infested times. I’m not going to lie, my dad was strutting around the house, akin to a roster impossibly having laid a jumbo-sized egg.
If my life was a genre right now it’d probably be a mystery. Oscar and the case of why I’m feeling constantly irritated. Ok, maybe not constantly, but it much more potent than I’d like it. And whoever’s writing this story is really freaking good at it because the culprit is not obvious. It could be any little thing that’s seemingly innocent. There’s culprit number one: Game of Thrones. I mean I’m already kind of emotionally broken from this show but, of course, it has to be addicting because now I go to bed at 4 on a regular basis. It’s difficult to navigate a positive mental state when you’re nocturnal. I at least wouldn’t recommend.
Which brings me to culprit number 2. I haven’t really checked Schoology in… days… And yeah it sounds like something that would help with mental health, but it actually just makes more anxiety I guess. However, does that mean I’m gonna check? Obviously not. I’m not going to willingly see that Ms. Mendoza has uploaded yet another poem due in a day. I will admit it’s much easier to ignore it now that our grades can’t go down. But is that really true? I mean yes, but is it?
Or maybe it’s culprit number 3, the overbearing anxiety smoothie of self-isolation mixed with just a little bit of looming adulthood. I always said I wasn’t gonna let it affect my head, but I’m finding that it’s unavoidable. And not easy for me to address I guess. Even so, maybe I don’t need to. It’s okay to be acknowledged, but what this week taught me is that dwelling on it (really dwelling on it) just kinda traps you, doesn’t really help in the long run.
Thinking about it, there were amazing things that happened this week. Discovering Houseparty, practicing driving with my sister, finally having a movie night with my best friends. Seemingly boring, but, amazing. They keep you sane, and I’m beginning to think they’re a lot more important than I did 4 weeks ago.
Maybe the true culprit of my irritability is all of these combined. Maybe it’s none. I don’t really know. But maybe that’s okay.
Thanks for listening,
PS: Special thanks to Lola for absolutely killing it with the entries and making me laugh with each one of them