Lesser-known grievances of the COVID pandemic

We all know the pandemic can be cruel, but who could have predicted our grilled cheeses would be affected?

~Travis Rocha, Lifestyle Editor~

This pandemic has changed all of our lives, and I’d wager to say very few of us would attest to it being for the better. We’ve had friends and family who have fallen ill, internships cancelled, study abroad plans ruined, relationships strained, and even rapper 6ix9ine was released early from prison to troll the internet once more. It hasn’t been an easy last few months, but at least we’ve all gone through it together. Now, we’re back on campus at Christopher Newport. Though, of course, we haven’t truly returned as all of us have had to acclimate to a new campus life. The party animal in all of us has disappeared as large gatherings have been banned and the apparent joy that a dimly lit, packed frat house basement brings has vanished from existence. We’ve all been wrestling with these losses, but there are plenty of other grievances being had as well.

Fans of the Regattas grilled cheese were hit hard. What was once a classic, golden brown, perfectly assembled Christopher Newport delicacy has now been reduced to a soggy shell of its former self. Often over or undercooked, the anonymity that the aluminum foil packaging provides has created a blind guessing game in pursuit of a quality grilled cheese sandwich. Even when that trademark golden hue reveals itself from beneath the foil, the heat’s condensation has already long since soiled the sandwich’s prime deliciousness. It’s certainly not the fault of the wonderful workers who tirelessly produce endless sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs. Given the circumstances and safety restrictions, quantity and accessibility run supreme to quality and sacrifices have had to be made. Sure, we all may love the ease of grabbing a warmed grilled cheese straight off the heating rack, but I ask you, at what cost?

Headphone users are also facing unforeseen challenges in the wake of this pandemic. My fellow music-obsessed peers will agree that walking is best paired with some tunes. Since my freshman year, you’d be hard pressed to ever find me alone on campus without a pair of headphones plugged in. It’s taken years of practice, but I was finally near to perfecting the art of discerning whether or not someone is trying to talk to me when I can’t hear anything because my headphones are in. At Christopher Newport, everyone says hi to everyone. So, it’s pretty difficult to walk to a class without at least having one conversation. This means headphone users must always remain vigilant, as to not accidentally ignore someone who’s trying to talk to you. Well, vigilance or not, all of my training has gone out the window. With the addition of masks, speech is muddled and lips aren’t visible. It’s much more difficult to tell when someone is trying to talk to you. Even when you can tell, headphone wires get tangled in the mask’s strings half the time as you try to pull them out. It’s a big mess and no one suffers more than the dejected acquaintance who asked “What’s up?” to the headphone user, but was never heard.

Another victim in the splash-zone of COVID has been my own self-esteem. I honestly don’t think there is a more unpleasant part of my day than when I suddenly become too aware of my breath and its taste and smell keeps reflecting back into my face as a result of the mask. I’ve always done my best to upkeep good dental hygiene, and I feel that I do, but when lunch’s french fries and grilled cheese combo (yes, even though the grilled cheeses aren’t good, I still eat them) comes asserting itself through my breathing cavities I can’t help but think that I could’ve done more to prevent this self-inflicted atrocity. How can I confidently flirt with my peers if my mouth and nose are locked in seemingly closed-circulation with the remnants of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Let me tell you, it’s impossible.

Perhaps these are just my personal problems and many of you will never know these troubles. Even if they are, I’m sure everyone has a list of COVID grievances specific to them. In fact, even if we weren’t currently in the midst of a pandemic, we’d all still have our daily list of gripes and grievances from throughout the day. So, while COVID may have changed a lot in our lives, I take solace in my suspicion that we’d probably be complaining about something either way.

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