I’m no hero. I put my pants on one leg a time just like everyone else. The only difference between me and you is that I’m essential to the proper functioning of planet earth. That responsibility would stress most people out. The weight of the world is literally on my shoulders, but luckily I’ve never skipped leg day. I stare death in the face every day now, but I don’t blink. My work cannot stop.
I get up every morning terrified of what I might encounter during the day. Terrified of the people I may see, but I still get out of bed. I wake up, make breakfast, pour a cup of coffee, and pretend like everything is going to be alright. I sanitize. Then I take a deep breath, and step outside.
My first challenge, walk to my car without coming into contact with anyone else. Talk about hell. On an average day I have to make sure to avoid at least three people (probably non-essentials) on my way to my car. It takes focus, preparation, reflexes, and courage. I dodge, dip, duck, dive, and dodge two or three people all the way to my car. Once I’ve finally made it inside I relax for a second, and then tremble at the thought of what lies ahead. Before putting my whip in gear, I sanitize.
Traffic. Sure there are less cars on the road because of the stay at home orders, but it still takes me at least 30 minutes to get to work. That’s disgusting, I’m an essential employee for Christ’s sake, I can’t afford to be wasting time, especially when I still have to stop at Starbucks for an Americano (the caffeine is a must for what lies ahead).
Once I’ve navigated through the 17 cars on the road, and survived the Starbucks drive-through (barely), I pull into work, and sanitize. From the outside it doesn’t look too bad.
I walk inside. I sanitize. I greet my fellow coworker or two as I walk past their offices, trying to stay 20 feet away, and then approach my office door. Terrified of the door handle I use an elbow to open it. My office. Looks okay, but is it? I grab a disinfectant wipe and wipe down my desk, keyboard, mouse, and anything else I see. I sanitize again, and sit in my chair. Only 8 more hours of this war zone. Throughout the day I write reports, respond to emails, edit spreadsheets, answer my phone, but most of all, I avoid my coworkers at all costs. I avoid them like the plague they probably are. Not easy. It’s a small office and two other people are here today. I try to never be in the same room as one of them. This is ground zero folks, this is the mayhem I deal with.
I carefully touch the microwave and the refrigerator handle at lunch time. I immediately wash my hands after. I carefully open the bathroom door. I shit in peace. I wash my hands after. My coworker hands me a piece of paper. I wash my hands after. I walk to the printer. I wash my hands after. 8 straight hours of this insanity. But I deal with it because I’m essential. My work cannot stop.
5:00 PM has struck. My work is done, but it cannot stop. I grab my stuff, turn off the lights in my office, close the door, and sanitize my hands after. I say goodbye to my one coworker who is still there. I try my best so stay far away, but we come within 15 feet of each other. I wash my hands after.
In my car, I prepare for the highway to hell back home. Traffic is worse now. At least 30 cars out. But I navigate carefully, making sure to stay 6 feet away from all other car. I’m hungry. Do I have food at home? Hopefully. I probably shouldn’t stop Starbucks again, the risk is too great. Fuck this virus. I sanitize again.
35 minutes later I’m home. I’m tired, sore, weary, scared, and still hungry. I park on the street like a non essential pigeon. Easily 40 yards to my door, and I see at least 4 people outside. I get out of my car, sanitize, and begin a brisk walk to my door.
BOOM! Someone else is leaving my building. Shit. I panic. Quickly I change directions and navigate to the back door (ass eating season). Luckily no one is there. I open it. I sanitize. I walk up the stairs to my door. I open it. I wash my hands.
I’m back inside. I’ve survived another day. I strip off my clothes, get in the shower, cry, masturbate, and try to forget the day. I try to forget the madness I saw.
At night I reluctantly prepare myself again for another day of chaos, because I am essential. My work cannot stop. I sanitize again.