An Ode to Corona

POV of a homeless millennial

I’m not going to lie, I like to consider myself an intellect, but I studied kinesiology and had to google what an ode was. I’m also very stubborn and I’m going to call this an ode even though that’s incorrect.

Oh, Corona, I stare you square in the eye as you have single-handedly taken everything I’ve worked for, and what do I do? I romanticize you because that’s what writers do. I have never considered myself a writer due to imposter syndrome, but as I open a dusty box in my 5×5 storage unit with all my worldly possessions; I see the 10 exploding journals lackadaisically thrown amongst other pieces of literature ranging from Hemingway, Kerouac, Mary Oliver, Whitman, and of course Brenden Leonard. I would say this pandemic has left me speechless, but I have accumulated more combinations of words that are now percolating out of my pores than ever before.

My mom always taught me to laugh in the face of chaos, to run with it, to have fun with the colors that it paints this life with. That’s exactly what I did at first, waking up on your twin size mattress from an after-work nap to an announcement on social media that your mountain has been closed. What do you do? You laugh! Okay, the 19/20 winter season is over and I’m now out of one of my two jobs. 2 hours you receive an email that you’ve been laid off from your second job? You laugh! 14 hours later, you receive notice that you are no longer welcome in employee housing and have 4 days to vacate? Now the laughter turns into nervous giggles.

The knot in my stomach forms worse than the knots I tie when I’m being tested during a ground school session; tight, and useless. I go full survival mode, leave emotions at the door, and get to work. The first order of business, find a place to live. Now I was blessed with the personality of a puppy and had more people offering me a place to stay than I could handle. My heart was overflowing with gratitude, humanity is beautiful…when not poisoned with the toxins of fear.

After 42 days in my new home and an absurd amount of tacos, I struggle with controlling what I can. I make my bed every day, I put on pants and my hygiene? Better than ever! I have this brief illusion that I’m doing alright; hell, I’m pretty good at this quarantine thing! Other than watching my savings account shrink to nothing, along with my waistline. I cultivate new good habits, like brushing my teeth before bed (this is a big deal ya’ll) and pick up some bad ones, like chain-smoking (sorry, mom).

But what happens when you kicked out of your temporary quarantine home? Well, you channel your inner raccoon. You find new places to sleep. Your beaten veteran surfers of the couch variety will tell you, it’s no easy task. When you accept the dog hair covered couch of a friend or family member you sign a nonverbal contract (the couch owner has no idea). The second your dirtbag crocs walk into their clean, now sanitized home, you have become what I call a Mouse Maid. What is a Mouse Maid you ask? Let me elaborate. You are a mouse, you put all of your belongings in a tiny corner out of the way, you move your blankets and pillow every morning when the first person wakes up, and clean up any evidence of your existence like a serial killer at a crime scene. Now as the Maid part, you clean, and I mean you CLEAN. You do your dishes, their dishes, you sweep, vacuum, dust, and maybe even start considering wiping down their baseboards because god damn they’ve gotten real nasty and you can’t NOT stare at that grime every time you’re on the toilet. You offer them food that you’re making, even though you’re about to make bean tacos or mac n cheese for the 56th day in a row and they don’t want any of your gross processed EBT food.

Now here’s the kicker, normally by abiding by this nonverbal contract you should be in the clear…oh but Corona, she likes to add another layer. Now you have to deal with the tension, the fear, the guilt. You’re endangering them, your existence is quite literally a hazard. Now you get to dance the beautiful flamenco on eggshells. Fart too loudly while everyone is working? You fucked up. Need an extra blanket at night? Hope you like being hypothermic.

“This is just such a weird time”, seems to be the new filler sentence you use when you call your second cousin just to talk because you’ve already called your grandma 7 times in the last 3 days. It is though. No one knows what is going on, and all we can do is just roll with the punches.

So although I’m coming up on weighing more than I have money in my bank account, I’m going to do what I can. I’m going to throw on my ripped jeans, chop my long blonde hair with kitchen scissors, light a smoke, turn up Led Zeppelin, and hit the road in search of the next couch. Maybe unemployment will get back to me…maybe it won’t, until then I’ll just remind myself that “…when everything goes wrong, that’s when adventure starts”.

-Shelby Lynn

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