Lessons from a dreadful ordeal


Photo courtesy of Cesar Preciado

Cesar Preciado and Cachito. Cesar is an immigrant student at Santa Rosa Junior College.

Cesar Preciado, Special to The Oak Leaf

My name is not important. I’m just another guy watching how our world has changed in just a couple of months. I don’t pay attention to what day of the week it is. I’ve been sheltering in place at home since March 20. I was shocked when the toilet paper ran out in all the stores,  but that was only the beginning of a series of events that this pandemic brought us. I’m an ESL 100 student at SRJC, looking to improve my English skills. I’m trying to keep my mind busy to avoid thinking about this horrible situation, but being at home all the time isn’t good at all. I’m deeply concerned about the long term ramifications of this pandemic such as economic problems, rising costs of products and services, or even worse, a recession.

However, beyond everything else, the limitation of physical interactions will have a profound and lasting impact on my behavior. Where I come from — Mexico — we are affectionate and interact with other people closely, either with hugs or kisses, or more commonly shaking hands; unfortunately, all that has changed since March 20, 2020. I feel isolated, unable to go to work, school or places that I like. I’m trapped in my own home. I miss interacting with classmates, co-workers, and friends; on top of that, I’m single just like too many folks out there, and that is why I am so pissed-off. How the heck are single people like me going to be able to start dating someone with all the restrictions, social distancing, and fear related to the virus? These circumstances torture me. I know that I’m being selfish and exaggerating my situation, especially compared to friends and family who have lost their jobs or others who have been forced to close their businesses, not to mention the people who have gotten sick or died. But the struggle is real!

I have to be thankful for the fact that I’m healthy, motivated, and eager to continue my education. In fact, I’m taking two classes this summer and another two classes in fall to keep cultivating my mind. I have faith in our community. It is possible to put our differences and peculiar interests aside for a moment to focus on our collective well-being.  We are in a standstill situation. Humankind has time to ruminate on the lessons that this virus has disclosed and exposed. My desire for all of us is that we prioritize what is important and make the necessary changes for our future.  Throughout this ordeal, my dog Cachito (little thing) has been my best friend and partner. He has given me a company, and now I know why people always say that the dog is man’s best friend.