The Smell of Quarantine

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The Smell of Quarantine

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During the early days of the pandemic, I flew from my duty station at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune to attend an eight week school. While most of the country was shutting down, the military was forced to find solutions to mitigate risk of infection while still maintaining readiness. The solution to this was isolating service members for two weeks prior to training, protecting potentially infected service members from each other while giving time to monitor for potential symptoms. Looking back at my experience being restricted to a room for two weeks, what stands out to me is not how I stayed occupied, the food that was provided, or how I communicated with family, but the smell of the particular hand soap I had in that room with me. Through meticulously using it to clean and wash my hands, the scent filled my room, and I became more annoyed with that smell than I was being restricted to a room. The smell of that soap slowly became my memory associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic. Looking back at that time, five months later, the smell of that soap still standouts as my COVID-19 memory, and I don’t think I’ll be buying that soap in the future.

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This item was submitted on October 11, 2020 by Luke Josey using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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