Storyteller: Alex Mason
In March of 2020, Karah (43) had went about her day in her normal fashion; coffee, early morning NCIS, and a few swipes through Facebook before she went off to work. When she arrived at the diner/restaurant she worked at in Beaverton, the overall mood was tense. Moments later, she was told that she would be sent home within the coming days and that she would be without a job for some time. She describes the week of the shutdown at her work as a “madhouse.” She had seen how it affected others, especially people that lived off the measly paychecks or tips from a small-town eatery. Karah knew that coworkers were afraid of the trying times, but had hope that she would return when the shutdown was lifted.
During Karah’s time while locked indoors, she got to take a deeper look into her kids’ education, and how it was handled during the initial year of the pandemic. Her oldest daughter was a senior during that time, and her youngest was in middle school. She disliked how the seniors at the high school did not get to do the familiar festivities as a time before and wished that it would’ve been the complete high school experience for her oldest. On the other hand, the form of online learning benefited her youngest daughter and aided in the normal “I don’t want to go to school” escapades.
Life felt like it was coming back together for Karah when she received the call to come back to work. She had noticed the change in how food was prepared, how the accommodations became separated, the loss of workers in the kitchen, even the ways co-workers acted at work. It wasn’t normal, but it was the closest thing to it. Amid all that happened from March onward, she still took a strong perspective away from going back to work after an unwanted extended vacation. She became insightful on how fear can drive people to uproot themselves and quit their jobs with only a promise of a check. Karah saw how businesses and the economy would suffer from the unemployment caused by the pandemic. She felt strong in knowing that she was contributing and not letting an illness define her life and shape how she acted in return.
Karah gained many things during the pandemic; grit, determination, and awareness are all but few of the ideals she applied to her life, striving to live another day and let nothing stand in her path. She had the extra time to examine the parts of life that mattered from a new scope. Karah believes that we need to carefully process the information we’re given, and never jump to conclusions about the things we hear. She sees a new world emerging from the pandemic as centuries past. This quote by Edgar Allen Poe defines the reality she’s lived with since the beginning of the pandemic. “Believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you see.”