The Hoof is a satire column created to find the humor in the daily life of Cal Poly students. If you’re looking for news, this is not it. If you’re looking for sports, this is kind of it, because we’re having a ball. Ha. Puns.

Rebecca Caraway is a journalism junior and Mustang News opinion columnist. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mustang News. 

You Find Out You Test Positive

You get a call that says UNKNOWN from San Luis Obispo county. You don’t have to answer it to know what they are going to say. You tried to ignore the slight tickle in the back of your throat but now your fears are being confirmed. You tested positive for COVID-19. 

Now, even though you tested positive, you have to walk all the way from your on-campus residence to the health center to get re-tested because the saliva test you did at the University Union isn’t FDA approved. 

You go to the health center, wait in line outside, and when you finally get inside, you sit next to other people as you fill out your information on a computer. 

No one can answer your questions. They are either busy on the phone, talking to someone else or simply don’t have the answers you need. 

Then they send you outside until someone calls your name, where you will receive  a nose swab to give yourself the test. 

No one will tell you where you go to isolate or what your exposed roommates should be doing. They just send you back to your apartment, with your roommates, and wish you good luck. 

You tell your roommate to move their stuff to the other bathroom so you don’t expose them further. In your roommate group chat you make arrangements to use the kitchen, promising to wear a mask and sanitize everything when you’re done. 

Two Hours After Testing Positive

You finally get a call from the Health Center confirming your results. Despite the CDC’s new five-day isolation guidelines, you are instructed to stay in isolation for 10 days, because you won’t be given a green pass, even if you’re asymptomatic. The only way to leave is if you test negative after your fifth day in isolation. 

“If you feel like you’re dying, you probably are, so call 911,” the guy on the phone says to you. Thanks, great bedside manner. He ends the call by wishing you good luck.

Six and Half Hours After Testing Positive

After waiting in your room you get an email containing your isolation instructions and location. You pack all the stuff you can think of and head down to the Cerro Vista community center. A girl walks outside, lays your room key on a bench a few feet away from you and says, “Good luck.” 

You get to your new home to discover you’re isolating in a four-bedroom apartment with five other girls and you’re sharing your room. So not only do you have to put your life on hold, do school online, monitor your symptoms, try not to go crazy, but now you have to do all of this in the same bedroom as a complete stranger. 

You and this new stranger will get comfortable rather quickly, as you have to share one desk and one wardrobe, and you constantly feel like you’re on top of each other. 

The Next Day

You try to heat up breakfast in the oven only to discover that your school threw you into the apartment with no way to cook any of the food you brought with you, so you feel hungry, abandoned and sick. You don’t get to eat until noon when your isolation meals arrive.

Meals are delivered straight to your door every day between 12-1 p.m. Each day you have to fill out a survey requesting what meals you would like for the next day. You don’t get to choose the kind of food you want, but instead if you want breakfast, lunch and/or dinner, and you have to pay for all of these meals out of pocket or with your dining points. 

Breakfast is $8, lunch is $10 and dinner is $12. This means that unless you brought groceries, you will have to pay $30 for the next ten days which comes out to $300 for your whole isolation.  Even if you did bring your own groceries, there is no way you cook because your oven and stovetop are broken and the kitchen comes with no plates, pans, bowls, cutlery or anything else required for cooking. 

If you’re lucky, maybe your roommates will be nice enough to bring you some of the dishes you all share to use during your isolation. You could DoorDash food, but you aren’t allowed to leave your apartment to go meet the driver. 

After six hours of waiting to hear back from housing about the oven and stove, you are finally able to fix it. You’re relieved to have one thing go right. At least now you can make something out of the few groceries you remembered and the one pan your roommate brought. 

The isolation page on the Cal Poly website promises a dining meal kit for when you get to your isolation apartment. This meal kit is supposed to include “a microwaveable mac n’ cheese cup, tomato basil soup, granola bars, fruit cups, crackers, a bottle of water and a cutlery kit.” Instead, this meal kit came with a cup of ramen, popcorn, bags of nuts, fruit snacks, crackers and cheez-its. While this isn’t the worst thing you could have gotten, it is a disappointment when you were told you could get mac and cheese and soup. 

In isolation, your days feel long and slow. You lack the motivation to do the little school work you have, but try to do the bare minimum to not fall behind. Sometimes you just stand by the window and watch the outside world move on without you. You monitor your symptoms and take the vitamins your mom gave you when she moved you in. 

You keep realizing how much you forgot to pack but you feel too bad to ask your roommate to do another trip to drop stuff off. Every day you get an email asking if you need anything — if you do, don’t count on getting it or anyone responding. 

You keep reminding yourself that this is only ten days. Soon you’ll be back in your own apartment, going downtown with your roommates and going back to work. It’s just ten days. Good luck.

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