J.A.A., 53, a truck dispatcher in Menifee, CA

The year 2020 was going really well for me at my job, but not really by the month of February. I first noticed in February in China that a virus started spreading around, but never thought that was going to be in the US; it seemed to spread so fast and it spread so quickly.

Everything changed for me. At work, I really find that this virus is really hurting everybody. We all used to work 12 hours a day for a 5 day week, so 60 hours in total, which was 20 hours in overtime. Now we have to work only 40 hours a week, and wear masks everywhere. We are given 1 warning for being caught without a mask at work; the second time they catch us, they will suspend us.

I was promoted from a truck driver to a truck dispatcher in 2017, so my wages allow me to continue having a steady income with this new 40-hour work week. However, for my coworkers, I can’t say the same. Fellow truck drivers are really stressed since most of their steady income came from 20 hours of overtime we all worked. But now with limits to 40 hours a week, it’s just not enough.

For me, it allows me to be home more. I’ve been able to work on my house more with my wife (we always do little projects, right now we are painting the cabinets, last week we built a gazebo); usually I could only work on these things on Saturdays when I had time all to myself, but now I have more time during the week, so I guess that’s one good thing to take out from all of this. We always do anything to make the house nicer and raise equity.

Global wise, it’s sad that a lot of people are dying. But personally I believe the government did this on purpose so a lot of the oldest generation could get sick and die. Or maybe to reset things and a lot of nations could start over. Or perhaps Trump did this to be re-elected? I’m not really sure. But it’s scary that the news is saying that this virus is staying here and a new virus could back stronger this fall 2020. Is the government doing this on purpose?

[submitted on 5/18/2020]

Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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