Nothing feels normal as I walk into work. I’m one of the Faculty Assistants for the Structural Engineering Department at UCSD. My office is on the same floor as the grad students and faculty. On a normal day this place vibrates. A bees nest of bustling engineers with ideas and needs.
As a Faculty Assistant and certified people-pleaser, I’m the person students and faculty know. The safe landing place for their questions, concerns and sometimes demands.
Nothing feels normal as I step into work. A bees nest dowsed in clorex. Pockets of hushed activity. Should Professor E cancel her trip in April? Joe Grad Student worries that the labs will close.
I wash my hands for the 16th time and wait for my own answers.
Around 1pm the general malais of ‘UNKNOWN’ breaks open: My boss sends me the Temporary Remote Work contract. Starting tomorrow and at least until the end of March.
Instantly I felt the ground rise to meet my feet again. All I needed was a black and white answer amidst the chaos.
I understand my anxiety a little more as I pack up my notebooks and special mousepad. My anxiety is like a latch-key kid binging on cheese crackers after school. Grasping at salt and re-runs in the absence of structure.
By the time I arrive home San Diego issues a notice that all bars and gyms close. Dining-in at restaurants is no longer an option. By the time I tuck into bed UCSD sends out a report: two confirmed cases on campus.
With love and washed hands,