Earlier this week I woke up with reddened, crust-filled eyes and strained to check my phone for the time. Class was in four minutes and counting down. Shit. But, online instruction brought slight comfort to this realization. I didn’t have to jump out of bed and start a chaotic race across campus or even worry about losing all the minutes that slip into the void the mirror of a public bathroom becomes when you’re agonizing over your reflection.
I rock back and forth in my childhood room rewatching every episode of Seinfeld. I furiously latch hook a rug to keep my hands busy. I’ve already knitted seventeen hats, rolled five beeswax candles, made a papier-mache dragon and assembled a tiny ship in a bottle. I’m starting to run out of things to occupy my sexual energy — before my hands will resort to frenzied masturbation instead of frenzied arts and crafts. This is one of the few times Anya Neeze is going to strongly advise you not to seek out physical sexual contact with anyone outside your home unless you own a full hazmat suit or medieval plague doctor costume.
In a world afflicted by plagues and devoid of autonomy, the ancient Israelites enslaved in Egypt longed for little more than fundamental safety and freedom from suffering. Today, whether you have lost your job, feel unsafe in your home or are eating Matzah of your own volition, your pain is also valid. What makes this Passover different from all other Passovers? For one, many seders have saved a seat for a special new guest (and no, I’m not talking about Elijah). This year, Zoom joined the party, enabling extended families to safely come together from across the street or across the globe.
The other day I was talking to my friend about the first week back in class, and her first words to me were, “It’s frustration station, man.” While it’s been good to see familiar faces again (albeit sometimes at strange angles with varying levels of resolution and out-of-sync audio), online class has not been an easy transition for many. I’ve heard pleas for advice on how to do work and stay motivated when your laptop is your source of both education and entertainment, and you could easily work from not just home, but a very comfy bed or couch. We’ve been on break for almost a month and are being dropped straight back into the middle of the semester. This ain’t easy. While I’m going to include some “tips and tricks” to feel a little less adrift, I think it’s also important to have an open conversation and to feel comfortable admitting that some of us, me included, are struggling.
Where is the category for four grown adults with very different tastes, opinions and life experiences? A category for four wildly different human beings united only by blood and state public health recommendations? There isn’t one. Get ready to be flying blind.