The clock struck 1 p.m. on my first full day quarantining at the Best Western. I created a schedule on a whiteboard the previous night so I could make great use of these two weeks away from campus. The problem with making a schedule, though, is that you have to wake up in order to do the things you planned. It is 1 p.m. and I just woke up. That was not on the schedule.
I hear three knocks on my door and pull my covers down. I drag my feet across the carpet to open up the door when I feel a slight pinch on my foot. I pull my foot to my face in confusion. There, a toenail sits lodged in my arch. I pause, letting disgust overtake me.
I have not cut my nails. As I pluck the toenail out of my foot, I think back to the long strand of blonde hair I found in my shower the night before. These incidents begin to trouble me greatly.
I open the door to my room and pull the lunch placed hastily inside. I sit down at my desk and reach into the slightly wet plastic bag pulling the white, soggy cardboard lunch bins out and onto the table. I applaud myself for checking lunch off my schedule, but this is not what I had hoped for. As I looked back down at my food, I see them. Four ants slowly make their way toward my lunch.
In an instant, I take my napkin and splat! Splat! Splat! The fourth seeks cover underneath my lunch box. I lift the soggy cardboard into the air and smack the final ant with my napkin.
However, this high-octane movement comes at a cost. As mashed potatoes came splattering down onto the rug, I look up to find my soggy cardboard lunch box caving in on itself. I had pushed it too far.
By dinner time, the ants had found the mashed potatoes. By nighttime, I was in a different room.
Sunlight shines through the cracks in my blinds. I turn over attempting to hold on to my slipping dream of skiing with my dog and my dead great uncle for some reason. I’ve never even skied before. My tenth morning at the Best Western Plus has begun.
I have adopted a quarantine morning routine. I plop onto my uncomfortable, black office chair, pull back the curtains, and gaze out at the outside world. The four light posts, the white parking lines, the blue shed and the scattered trees all decorate the parking lot I gaze at every hour of the day. However, this particular morning, a patrol cruiser sits idly alone on my landscape.
“An intruder!,” I think to myself, realizing what my life had come to. I see this man, the supposed defender of law and order, holding a cream cheese covered bagel as he were Hamlet holding a skull. I cannot think of any reason a cop would park in my little lot. He must believe that he is alone. Maybe he wants solace from his uniformed duties. Perhaps he longs for the freedom to properly indulge in the glorified bread and cheese currently resting in his hands.
He brings the bagel to his mouth, and my own starts watering. And then, it happens. The bagel slips out of his hand.
My eyes widen as gravity takes effect. In vain, he attempts to catch his bagel as it falls towards his pants. Yet, it is hopeless. As he lifts the bagel back into the air, the majority of the cream cheese is missing. He tosses the bagel into a brown paper bag without ever being able to take a bite. I am three days into my second time quarantining at the Best Western. This time they gave me a room overlooking the pool. Or, more specifically, the pool tarp.
I spend a lot of time taking note of the rainwater trapped on that tarp. It freezes at night. If it was not for that dark green covering, the collected raindrops would be able to join their acquaintances in the pool. I hate that pool tarp. Other hotel rooms are in my line of sight at this window. I glance up and see a light on in a room on the fourth floor. There is a figure standing at their window. I initially think that they are also staring at the pool tarp, admiring its cruelty, but they are staring at me. We lock eyes. They wave. I close my blinds.
I do not come to the window seeking companionship.