Jacob, Midland County

Storyteller: Samantha Grywalsky

Jacob, a twenty-one year old City of Midland maintenance employee and Domino’s pizza manager, has worked through the COVID-19 pandemic since day one. When the lockdowns were put into place in mid-March, 2020, Jacob’s day-to-day life did not change much; if anything, he worked more. What did change, however, was his income. Pizza delivery sales went through the roof, as no one wanted to leave the comfort of their own homes. Unfortunately, the tips did not. People stopped tipping in cash, and contactless delivery meant no awkward handoff and obligatory small talk. Apparently, it’s easier to stiff someone if you don’t have to look them in the eye. Jacob grew frustrated with this, and spent more time focusing on his municipal job. 

Jacob’s maintenance position is at a local independent living facility for the elderly. From unit renovation to electrical work to landscaping, he does it all; truly a jack-of-all-trades. He spends a good majority of his days inside elderly tenants’ apartments cleaning carpets or fixing kitchen sinks.

Thanks to COVID, he is required to wear a mask at all times, inside or outside. Thanks to the government, he is also required to wear safety glasses when operating any type of heavy machinery.

Jacob says his safety glasses are constantly foggy with his mask steaming them up, and it always seems to happen when he is operating a chainsaw.

Despite Jacob’s hatred of masks, he understands and complies. He agrees that the benefits outweigh the negatives. Jacob lives in a household with his girlfriend, mother, father, 17 year old sister and two dogs. Every single person works or attends school full time, leaving many opportunities for a house-wide outbreak. With the risks and so many possibilities of contagion, Jacob has doubled up on taking sanitary precautions in public and at home. He carries hand sanitizer on his person at all times and even has three different forms in his truck – wipes, spray, and liquid.

Jacob is desperate for the pandemic to be over, as he misses activities such as going to the movie theater, spending time at the bar with his friends, eating at restaurants, and having Sunday dinner with his elderly grandparents. Until then, Jacob has decided not to risk compromising the health of his family and coworkers. 

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