Wisdom > Spoiler

I don’t go out because I don’t want to be the weakest link

Staying inside is challenging but absolutely necessary

Staying inside a small area for more than a month requires a lot of discipline and creativity. PHOTO BY VERNON B. SARNE

I’ve been holed up inside our office—I consciously made the decision to avoid staying in my populated condo—since the start of the community quarantine. Which means I have not stepped out for more than a month now. And I literally mean I have not gone out even to buy supplies. Our admin officer lives a couple of blocks from here, and she is kind enough to get me bread and some canned goods whenever she fetches her own groceries. There are also companies that send me stuff (God bless them), although I sincerely wish they would refrain from dispatching delivery personnel just for this purpose. The need to stay off the road cannot be overemphasized.

I’m 100% into this. I’m not doing this quarantine thing half-heartedly. I’m not staying put just because I’m following government orders. I’m doing this for myself and for everyone I care about. The coronavirus is threatening our very existence—this is not the time to be impatient or stubborn. And this is certainly not the time to line up for a stupid cup of overpriced coffee.

Now, quarantine life has not exactly been easy for me. It has completely fucked up my body clock, and it’s increasingly getting harder to amuse myself. I’m Matt Damon in The Martian, just without the spacesuit and the need to grow crops for food.

Our humble pantry setup in the office. We now know how priceless the rice cooker is. PHOTO BY VERNON B. SARNE

Prior to the lockdown, I had never ventured into cooking outside of rice and hard-boiled eggs. In just five weeks, I’ve had to forcibly eat culinary experiments I wouldn’t dare touch at any other time. I’m sure my body is not very healthy right now after having consumed an obscene amount of sodium from canned meat and instant noodles. Of course I occasionally find myself craving for real food, so I order via delivery apps. But these are very rare, and I make sure to pick a nearby restaurant so the delivery guy won’t even have to cross a highway just to feed me.

We are just thankful that we still have something to eat. No, not complaining at all. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

I also wash my clothes here, and I sleep on an incredibly thin futon that I expect to cause me back problems later on. I regret not having brought more clothing, and what few pairs of shorts I have with me I’ve already managed to permanently stain after cluelessly throwing them into the laundry together with dark-colored shirts.

This is not a glamorous existence, and it is okay. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

Don’t get me wrong: Our office is an awesome place to hang out in. We have books, Netflix, even video games. But that’s the operative term: “hang out.” Not live in for more than a month. Alone. You can only watch so much Korean drama, you know.

The author is just really grateful that a South Korean actress named Son Ye-jin exists. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

When I need to bathe myself in warm sunlight, I just go out to the totally empty balcony. All the other units in our building are closed.

The only place the author has stepped out to in the last month. We’re not even kidding. PHOTO BY VERNON B. SARNE

I admit that when the community quarantine was first announced, I looked forward to a nice little staycation period. I could use a break, after all. It was a blast the first week; I’ve been floating through time and space since then. It’s a challenge just keeping myself from saying something asinine on social media. It’s all mental, as many of my friends have confirmed.

But then, I’m not about to drive out just because I’m bored. The risk is too great. I’d be flushing a month of sacrifice down the drain if I went out for a spin just to entertain myself. I know countless people do this. I see them on Facebook. They go out on the pretext of getting supplies, and then post cute photos with cute captions. Guys, nothing about our situation right now is cute. It’s time we all understood the seriousness of the shithole we’re in. It’s time we acted like we were in a suspense thriller, not a romantic comedy.

Being alone within a confined space can make you lose your sense of time. You float. PHOTO BY VERNON B. SARNE

My sister recently contracted the coronavirus in a nursing home in New Jersey. I tell my 80-year-old aunt who lives in the area to never leave the house. I’d be livid if anyone dear to me got the virus just because some carefree person couldn’t stay inside. Being bored isn’t an excuse to go out. Cabin fever, my ass. Treat the outside world like fucking Chernobyl. This is not supposed to be easy. We’re not on a holiday vacation. People are dying from this. Stop whining just because you ran out of beer. This is not happy hour—it’s do or die.

I refuse to go out because I don’t want to be the reason our fight against the coronavirus fails. It’s not fair to all those who have done their part. You owe it to me and everyone else to do the same.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist for 26 years. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.