Quarantining could be mushy oats, or it could be so much more

It's all about comparison. Anne Frank shows the way of hopefulness in times of great despair.

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Photo supplied by Danielle

However bland my oats may taste, I continue to spice up my quarantined life by cooking up new mug Mac and Cheese creations, being a Spanish language “Quarantutor,” and celebrating my birthday, as a dancing queen, young and sweet, only 17.

Mushy, soupy, cereal.

My light brown oats stare back at me from their confinement inside the blue porcelain bowl. A hazy ring of steam forms around the bottom of the bowl on the crystal clear glass table. Normally, I prepare my oatmeal with creamy milk, but since the Quarantine began, milk is a scarce commodity. Now, my poor oats struggle to stay afloat in the sad concoction that I created using only water.

On top of the cereal lay the last few specks of cinnamon from the spice jar, representing my last glimmer of hope that school would reopen this year. I took a small, apprehensive bite of the nearly flavorless oatmeal. The news suddenly flashes that school is canceled for the rest of the year; the cinnamon is now gone. The oats plead for more cinnamon, sugar, anything sweet. But alas, the cupboard is bare. The decision has been made.

There is no going back. I feel helpless and hopeless, as I watch my oats begin to sink deeper into the pool of water, until they are completely submerged. 

Finished with my oatmeal, a picture of myself dressed up as Anne Frank for my fifth grade reading project caught my eye. Being only ten years old at the time, I remember trying to imagine what it would be like to live my life in the way that Anne Frank did. She confided her deepest thoughts in her diary, while she spent two years hiding in a secret annex, isolated from the outside world, in an attempt to escape the mortal dangers of the Holocaust.

When comparing her life to mine, it makes it easier to be thankful for what I still have: a bedroom with a ceiling twice as high as the one in Anne’s annex, a safe neighborhood, and the ability to sit outside in the sunshine. However, being confined to my house while we fight an invisible deadly virus is a bitter pill to swallow. I am frightened by visions of the horrid virus, Covid-19, looming over my head like a dark, stormy cloud. 

Although Anne Frank didn’t know it at the time, she would soon become famous for preserving history by writing in her diary. In my bedroom, I discovered an unused diary hidden beneath a huge pile of laundry with the words “My Travels” written in silver cursive on the cover.

With a bright red pen, I crossed out “My Travels,” and replaced it with words I deemed more appropriate: “My Quarantine.” I poured my frustrated thoughts on the first page as fast as my heart could rapidly beat. After scribbling down my feelings, I realized that I was not left with frustration, but instead with motivation. I thought about the characteristics that made Anne Frank special and unique during the Holocaust; she was brave and resourceful.

Next to my diary, I spotted my Bat Mitzvah box, and took out a black head covering with purple hearts embossed on it, called a Keepah in Hebrew. I poked two small holes in the sides, tied a neon pink rubber band to each hole, and then knotted them together in the back. Voilá! My first homemade mask was complete. I placed the new creation over my face, and for the first time in five weeks and twenty one days, I felt as though I accomplished something great!

With many lonely Kippahs lurking around the house, and a plethora of rubber bands at my disposal, I rapidly began hole punching, tying, and knotting, trying to create the perfect Kippah Mask. I began drawing cheerful designs on the plain, white satin Kippahs to add a special touch. I distributed Kippah Masks to my family and friends, until we were able to acquire more protective masks.

While eating my oatmeal every morning, I jot down purposeful activities to do while I’m isolated from the world.

However bland my oats may taste, I continue to spice up my quarantined life by cooking up new mug Mac and Cheese creations, being a Spanish language “Quarantutor,” and celebrating my birthday, as a dancing queen, young and sweet, only 17.