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Collected Item: “Eating in Front of a Mirror”

Give your story a title.

Eating in Front of a Mirror

What sort of object is this: text story, photograph, video, audio interview, screenshot, drawing, meme, etc.?

text story

Tell us a story; share your experience. Describe what the object or story you've uploaded says about the pandemic, and/or why what you've submitted is important to you.

Pre-Covid I already lived an isolated life, both physically and due to pervasive anxiety. I would spend weeks pushing myself, go inside the store, talk to three people at yoga, text four people, a million little social tasks that I did to keep my human animal happy. I live in a rural area, work part time at a library, and survive in a sort of genteel poverty. About every three months I'd drive to visit an old friend. Beyond customers at the library and polite friendships with coworkers, that was the only social interaction I really had.
Stage one of the pandemic and my workplace closed, we were furloughed. Still paid. And after a single massive shopping trip at the end of March I just stayed home. Really stayed home. I was lucky, I'm already an introvert, have a home on acreage, pets. It wasn't great, but I was comforted knowing so many people were quietly going through the same thing.
Then George Floyd was killed and I was called back to work a week later. This was the worst time so far. The building was closed and yet staffed, so we sat surrounded by clorox while people banged on the windows and cursed us. The pointlessness of it, we were only there so our employer could qualify for the PPP money. The anxiety of each coworker potentially being ill. And then, in the lull of work, the many many political opinions of all my white coworkers. I stayed silent, the lone POC, but I can assure you, I now detest them all. This phase ended when my boss got covid an ill-advised vacation to the Gulf.
Coming back from our isolation I entered phase 3 of my pandemic. I now hate all my coworkers and view them as existential threats. Due both to their extremely foolish behaviors and their racism. They attend 200 guest count weddings, take discounted flights, and attend funerals. I try to work around them, taking vacation days to avoid them directly after they return. I have moved my desk out of the shared office and directly into the main room of the building. We are fully open again. Masks are not required. It is possible to drive around my small town and see not a single sign of the pandemic. The local diner which has flouted all the mild restrictions since April still has their sign out front, "Our Fried Chicken is to Die For!" I've started to feel mildly insane for still isolating, for still wearing a mask. But I'm also used to having the sole dissenting opinion in the room. For now my plan is to just not get sick, there's no plan if I do get it. I just go home and spend another weekend eating in front of a mirror, and sleeping with a hot water bottle to try and quiet my lonely human animal.

Use one-word hashtags (separated by commas) to describe your story. For example: Where did it originate? How does this object make you feel? How does this object relate to the pandemic?

rural, oklahoma, single, lonely, small town,

Who originally created this object? (If you created this object, such as photo, then your name goes here.)

B. Moore

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