The new Mountain Dew Frostbite and the game Apex Legends on the Playstation 4 helps Frederick Community College student Sanders Jett-Folk get through the long nights of the coronavirus lockdown in Frederick. Photo by Sanders Jett-Folk

The Simple Pleasures of Isolation

Are we all living the same experiences right now in our social isolation? Or do we all experience these unprecedented events differently?

For me, this is a time of reflection. A time to step back, observe my place in the world, and consider what is important to focus on. It is also a time to indulge in hobbies and vices that provide comfort and joy in this lonely and turbulent time.

I am an essential worker. Three or four days a week, I serve people carryout at Ledo Pizza on Md. 26. I am fortunate to still be working and tips have been steady thanks to the generosity of the people of Frederick. At the same time, putting myself in close contact with so many people in a day while COVID-19 runs rampant is stressful. It is very possible I have already gotten it, and I just do not know yet. The same could be true tomorrow.

Regardless, I need to save money for a car and other expenses, so it’s a risk I will have to take, as is true with countless other Americans who have more to lose than I do. I have even had to take up extra shifts, as many of our high school age employees do not want to risk working during this difficult time. For that, I do not blame them. But I am gladly stepping up to fill in the gaps on the shift schedule.

At home, my life consists of a fairly routine schedule. I generally sleep from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Night is when I feel most awake, so that is when I choose to be awake. I wake up and eat before sitting down and fleshing out my homework for the day. Once that’s done, I take care of any chores I have to do around the house. With the whole family home, things like cleaning the kitchen take a bit more time.

After that, however, the rest of the day is mine. I have hundreds of vinyl records from many artists, so I spend a great deal of time listening to music. Anything from Metallica to Taylor Swift plays in my basement late at night, much to the disdain of my parents who are trying to sleep upstairs. But music is a blessing, and if I cannot go out and share it with the world, I shall share it with my own family.

A lot of my time is spent on my PlayStation 4 (sometimes while I play records), playing Apex Legends with some friends from around the country. We spend hours chatting about what little of our lives we still have while raking up wins along with plenty of losses.

Usually, I drink a Mountain Dew during these gaming sessions. Walmart released an exclusive Mountain Dew flavor called Frost Bite last month, so I have mostly been consuming my month’s supply of that.

I am lucky enough to get to drive my brother to work a few times a week. It gives me a chance to briefly get out of the house and see the world, although he works the night shift, so this is usually at night. Nevertheless, seeing fewer cars on the road shifts my view of reality a bit. It is empty but also peaceful.

So, when will this end? A few weeks? A few months? I simply can’t tell you. But what I do know is that right now, despite all the struggle in the world, this situation gives us all an opportunity to recharge and think of what comes next. We all need to help those of us who are struggling the most, so I urge you to donate to local food banks if you are fortunate enough to have some extra money. The world will look very different when we reach the other side of this pandemic, so we must stand strong together.

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