It was a nice day, probably one of the last for quite some time, and I was working on my laptop. I looked up and saw a group of four, maybe five, boys across the quad from where I was sitting. The first thought that came to my mind was fury. None of them were wearing masks nor did they appear to be taking the ordinary covid-19 precautions that seem to have become second-nature to me. It was disconcerting to watch them play, just play, on the quad during this time. I almost went over to them and said something but I didn’t. I don’t know what held me back, but I do know that something did. I didn’t chastise them or remind them of the precautions they should be taking because they made me take a moment to reflect. We’re seven months into a pandemic, the president and assorted others have gotten the virus, two hundred thousand plus people have died of covid and these guys are just playing spike ball on a quad.
Their actions made me reflect on all the joys of college that I may never see again. The joy of simply belonging to a group and feeling free to just hang. Today, life is so much more complicated. I rarely see anyone outside of a few friends and my boyfriend which is still many more than most are able to see, but less than I saw as a college student pre-covid. As I now go about my day, I must gear up and gear down whenever entering or exiting my apartment. Fear is a constant companion when I venture out of my home, but I continue to do so because I must. I cannot stay inside all day every day for the rest of my life but I can try to be as careful as humanly possible. But the sight of these boys made me just paused that fear and that worry for some strange reason.
Those boys, while not safe in the slightest, felt like a time capsule into another world, one far removed from the life that we all now live. But looking at them, I could envision a future where covid does not haunt our every move. Where we are able to play and be free amongst each other as we used to be. We will go back to some of the drudgery and work that we once loathed but we will also be able to reclaim that sense of careless joy that coronavirus has stolen away from our lives. One day, when this is in the rearview mirror, we may or may not treasure moments like these. I may think about this moment in ten years as one of reckless behavior, young men totally disregarding the rules of safe social behavior in the pursuit of momentary pleasure. Or I may just be able to treasure this moment as a testament to the joy that went unnoticed in so many of my days pre-covid.