Written by Brenden Berrios
Copyedited by Stephanie Cobb

It’s 8:29 a.m. on Day 192 of quarantine and after snoozing my alarm for the fourth time, I roll out of my bed and into my desk chair just in time for my first lecture of the day. As my classmates join the call, I take a peek at my schedule, hoping I have something interesting lined up for the day, but alas, it appears today will be as monotonous as yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. With exasperation, I look to the heavens and say a silent prayer for something, anything interesting to happen today.

8:30 arrives and my professor begins to lecture. 

“Hello everyone. Today we will be discussing momentum, different types of collisions, and the impulse-momentum theorem. Similar to the conservation of energy, momentum can also remain constant dur-“

“You can tell him I don’t go to Mid unless I plan to f**k some s**t up, ya know what I’m saying? This guy’s out here tryna be all woke with his fancy Dr. Fauci statistics, but I’m just tryna to have a good time! If I get it, I get it, so what?”

My prayers have been answered! I burst out laughing, assuming this is some kind of satirical prank. I quickly check the Zoom chat and a tidal wave of “Mute your microphone!” and “You’re not muted!” flood in. My professor is sputtering, trying to interject between the student’s words, but now he’s on a rant, making it clear we have front-row seats to the inside of his mind, not his tight five.

“I get that some people are at risk but I don’t see why that has to affect MY college experience. This is MY time to live MY life and I’m gonna let some folks who get colds too often change that? F**K NO! We’ll pre-game at my place and walk to Bricks from there.”

I feel like a zoologist doing field work in a remote corner of the world that has stumbled upon a rare species in its natural habitat. I imagine myself writing in my notes:

  • Animal appears to be proto-human.
  • Ape-like in appearance and demeanor.
  • Intellectually underdeveloped based on way he puts foot in mouth.

As the student pauses to listen to his fellow mouth-breather’s response, the professor is finally able to get his attention. He realizes his mistake and, with a quick, detached “My bad,” finally mutes himself. The class continues and finishes on schedule and as we all leave the call, I feel rejuvenated. Not only did I need those laughs, but I feel a newfound resolve to keep up my own social distancing practices. The situation today is far from ideal, and there’s little we all want more than for things to go back to the way they used to be, but we must remember that our actions don’t exist in a vacuum. Rather, we are all potential vectors, able to communicate this disease to loved ones, roommates, and strangers. Trying times like these require selflessness if we want these times to end, so I ask all who read this to not be like the student in this story, but instead, be better.