by Marc Helgeson | March 18, 2020 11:16 am
Day one of E-learning started off pretty normal for me. I woke up around nine and made myself a bigger-than-usual breakfast considering I had extra time to do so. I cooked four eggs, over-easy obviously, and also ate a bagel with cream cheese. I then signed in my attendance for seven classes, and did very little homework despite having assignments in nearly all seven classes. I went on my phone a lot. According to the screen time in my settings, I was actually on my phone for seven hours. That’s an entire school day spent staring at a screen. Yikes.
Like most high schools in America, colleges have also sent their students home for the next few weeks, or some even the rest of the semester. My sister, Jessica, a 19 year old currently enrolled at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, was sent home last week due to Covid-19, meaning the next three weeks we will be stuck with each other once again. Things were fine in the morning. She even brought me home a doughnut on her way home from voting. Then she got an email. She had just been informed that her school was closing for the rest of the semester, and she wouldn’t be moving back up to michigan again until next school year. This did not please her, considering her entire life is now in Michigan. Myself, being the annoying little brother I am, was sure to make her even more upset. Obviously I was successful, and she got quite mad.
By this point it was almost three in the afternoon, the same time the baseball team scheduled our third player-lead practice. We “practiced” for about two hours, taking a quick Infield and an extended batting practice during that time. I then returned home to an empty house despite both my parents’ cars as well as my sister’s in the driveway, but similar to most teenagers after any practice, I was too tired to care. I wandered into my room, fell on my bed and slept for a short while. I woke up and ate dinner, which was corn beef today in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, then meandered back into my room for an extended nap.
It was now two hours later, and I woke up realizing that I had made plans with some of my friends to do something later, considering we didn’t have to be at school the next morning. It was already eight-thirty by the time I drove over to my friends house, where two of my friends were already located, and we spent the next three plus hours just sitting in his basement watching TV and playing shuffleboard. Pretty low key night, but only up until that point.
I left his house craving chocolate, so I drove to the only place I could rely on being open at 11:30 on a Tuesday night, McDonald’s. I went through the drive through, and I ordered a chocolate sundae. It wasn’t great, but it filled my chocolate desires for the time being. After pulling over to eat my sundae, I once again hit the road to go home.
I reached the train tracks in downtown Riverside, and the tracks were blocked, and a train just began to drive away heading into the city. It’s nearly midnight at this point, and I really just want to go home. But as the guard rails are still going up, a woman, still carrying all of her belongings, begins to wave at my car, signaling for me to roll my window down.
I reluctantly rolled my window down, assuming she didn’t pose a threat to me, and maybe she needed help. She began by asking me if this was Riverside, to which I replied “Yes, we are currently in Riverside.” She followed that up by asking me if we were close to the mall. I wasn’t sure what mall she was talking about, until she said North Riverside Mall in an uncertain tone. I nodded and said that the mall was maybe two miles from here, the next town over. She asked if I knew how to get there, and I said I did, but i didn’t know the streets well enough to tell her exactly how to walk there. Then she asked me a question that i have yet to be posed with by a stranger asking for directions: “Could you drive me there?”
I panicked. I didn’t want to be rude, but there was no chance I could let this woman into my car. I’m a 16 year old, driving home past my curfew, on a Tuesday night. Once again, the woman never showed any aggressiveness towards me, or said anything rude or hostile. She seemed to be nice, but I still had to be cautious. She had multiple larger bags with her, making me suspect that those may be all of her belongings, and that she may be homeless. She proclaimed to me that she was finally happy, and something along the lines of that that’s all that matters. I then told her the easiest directions to get to the mall, and she said thank you. I responded saying good luck, assuming she was attempting to start over her life.
I was finally able to drive away, and I was just in utter disbelief. I don’t know why, but it was just so weird to me that something like that could happen to me. I arrived home and told my sister what had just occurred, since she was still awake watching Netflix.
She asked why I was home so late and I told her that I went to get a sundae, then had that interaction with the stranger. I also mentioned that I was super bored and sat in front of the house for a while and contemplated driving downtown for no good reason. She seemed interested, so I asked her if she wanted to. Out of my disbelief, she got out of bed, grabbed her coat and said let’s go.
I was excited. What 16 year old wouldn’t want to drive downtown at 12:30 in the morning with their sister? We tried to be very quiet when we walked downstairs, but Jessica was apparently too loud looking for yet another jacket (she ended up accidentally grabbing one of mine), and our mother woke up and said “Hello?” from our parents bedroom. My sister told her that we were just going to get frosties from Wendy’s, and that we would be back in no more than 20 minutes. She was too tired to say much, so she sort-of mumbled “okay.”
After this we both ran to the car, I drove off and we got on the highway. We talked a little bit, then blasted the radio and sang along with the music for a good 10 minutes. Once we finally got downtown and began to head towards the lake, I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket, and I heard my sister’s phone buzz as well. I looked at her and asked if mom had texted us. She said she was scared to check. I told her just check, if either of us get in trouble, it is going to be a lot worse for me.
She already has mandatory class every time, so she occupies a lot of her time with that, and almost all of her friends are somewhere in Michigan, leaving her with nothing to do all day.
Myself on the other hand, I had three weeks of no school coming up, and if I got grounded I would be stuck at home for at least two of those three weeks. I still told her that I would take the fall considering this was my idea, and I asked her to go.
The first text my mom sent us, without any context, was “You both lost car privileges,” followed up 30 seconds later by “Get home NOW.”
My sister finally responded, saying we just went downtown for a “quick look (of the city)” and that we had gotten lost.
My mom then sent “No driving for the rest of the week.”
I couldn’t read these, considering I was frantically trying to drive home as quickly as possible, but Jessica was sure to panic and let me know what my mother was saying, as well as how scared she was to get yelled at.
The final text my mom sent us, which I found quite funny, was “Enjoy your self-quarantine. That’s from Dad.”
It was hard not to laugh, despite my sister’s fears of getting in trouble, because I knew that I did this to myself, and couldn’t blame anyone else, so I wasn’t that upset. I also know that my mom has a history of caving in after punishing my sister and I.
We drove home questioning whether our parents would be awake at the kitchen table waiting for us, or if they had just decided to sleep and deal with this tomorrow. I knew they wouldn’t be awake, considering they both have to be awake by six tomorrow morning for work, and I was correct. We finally arrived home at 1:45 in the morning to a dark house. We entered through the back, locked the door behind us, and sprinted upstairs as fast as we could.
What an interesting day for me to get to write my day in the life of an E-learning student. A lot of this may not directly tie into E-learning, but none of this would have happened if it wasn’t for E-learning. I would never be allowed to go to my friends house at 8:30 on a typical school night, and I most definitely wouldn’t ask my sister to drive downtown if i had to wake up at 6:30 the next morning. E-learning gave me the opportunity to have all these unusual experiences, and while they may be the only ones I have during this extended break, I would still probably do it all again. Probably.
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