Fast forward to last week, on March third. I buy my plane tickets to visit my college best friend in Seattle (where there are already confirmed Coronavirus cases) for the first weekend of April. I am listening to NPR a lot in the car between schools. It's either election talk or virus talk. Everything is stressing me out and I am starting to get mad at how they are covering these events. It just seems establishment driven or fear mongering. I am not worried.
Now Coronavirus is something 5th-graders will laughingly scream at anything and for no reason. I walk into a "classroom" (the cafeterias, gyms, and corners of multipurpose rooms I teach in) and kids are just repeating the word "coronavirus" with no context. I ask them why they are saying Coronavirus over and over and they look at me and go "Coronavirus!" They are processing this information in their own way, filled with trying to find humor and not knowing how.
Later that day a student gets sick in class. I have another student escort him to the office with a trashcan, which he takes full advantage of as he walks down the hall. Even though I have less than a year of teaching experience in my job, this is not the first time that this has happened. At the end of class I remind kids to wash their hands. They all scream "Coronavirus! Coronavirus" in a care-free playful way. I roll my eyes. Yes, we had all started washing our hands way more, but I am telling them to wash their hands because of a child getting sick in class, not because of the Coronavirus. There are no cases in Michigan at this point, I am not worried.
I ask my buddy that I am traveling to Seattle with, Ezra, if we should look into buying travel insurance for our flight. We look into it, it doesn't seem like we will be able to because the virus was a "known event" and we bought the cheapo tickets.
I spend a lot of time out and about with friends and canvassing/making phone calls for the Michigan Presidential Primary on March 10th. Daylight savings happens and we lose an hour of sleep. Now I wake up while its still dark out. This always throws me off. On March 9th I make calls for the election to Seattle, where they vote by mail. I have some good talks. I am in good spirits, but feeling gloomy looking at the polls. I am a Bernie supporter and am hopeful for the chance for a real progressive in the White House. Biden is making me feel all depressed about the democratic party.
I get up early before school to go my polling place before the sun is up so I can wear my "I voted" sticker all day at work. I am slightly cautious feeling while voting, and take advantage of the provided hand sanitizer on my way in and out of the elementary school. I do not see anyone else wearing a sticker all day, but I know I am not the only one who already voted. When kids ask me who I voted for I steal my co-teachers answer and tell them I voted for them. Many students seem surprised that I voted. I ask these surprised few if their parents are voting. They either say no or that they do not know. Those that say no were all first generation families without citizenship.
I make calls to Michigan voters when I get home from school and have no productive conversations. I make dinner around 7:45 when I have given up on any call making a difference in my state and soon start getting all the news alerts of Biden winning everywhere. Michigan is called sooner than I would like. I am pretty bummed out, knowing this was probably our last hope for nomination.
My parents are supposed to visit this weekend. They live in my hometown, Poughkeepsie, NY where by brother, his wife, and their two kids also live. Now the college they work at, Vassar, is talking about transitioning to online learning after their spring break. They go back a forward but decide to cancel their trip to come see me. My mom runs the preschool that is connected to Vassar and they are about to have to figure out how to do emergency child care if Vassar shuts down. They decide they will come out in May instead and try and see my concert with my students.
I google hangout with my partner Max as we do every night that we are not together. He lives about 50 minutes from me in Ann Arbor. I stay there on the weekends and he comes out and stays with me once a week. We are both just kind of bummed out. I go to bed and put my phone on airplane mode so that I am not tempted to look at Seattle results when I inevitably roll over in the middle of the night.