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Write On, Colorado

From cleaning a skeleton to Rubik’s cube, coronavirus offers time for new experiences

Colorado authors, thinkers and readers share their thoughts on living through historic times as the state fights the progress of coronavirus

Mostly, all this COVID stuff just reminds me of 8th grade, when I was sick enough that I just did online school and never left the house. 

Thankfully this experience is less depressing and I’m not a tired sad sack, so I guess I’m faring a lot better than that — though it’s all relative, considering that there were extenuating factors that kept me specifically from doing literally anything. 

It’s much better to be able to go outside and enjoy it, even if it’s cold and snowing, as it was earlier this spring — which as an Arizonan always baffles me. Or even just dedicate that time to other free-time things (which I was unable to do when I was sick and incapable of getting out of bed). 

I’ve been dedicating myself to a lot of projects, I guess. Everything has become something of a beautiful mess considering that I’ve made the bad decision of starting too many projects at once. Some of them are nice, and some less so.

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I can’t say I enjoy the sawdust on my table that I’m too lazy to sweep up in earnest, and thus I deal with the sneezing and that awful sandy, gritty texture. Similarly, accidentally setting off and then resetting the Rube Goldberg machine in the cold, dark basement was another challenge, though it’s at least one that was fun to watch while it made a noisy mess of itself. 

At least it was fun as long as everything worked properly. Less fun when the Jenga tower doesn’t noisily slam the dominoes and set off the next step, but what can you do? Half the fun is setting that stuff up, anyway, even if it also leaves you ready to pull your hair out. 

Perhaps the worst of the bunch is the skeleton. It’s not in my closet, it’s in my garage, and I’m not entirely sure what it is, aside from “maybe a fox or a coyote,” according to myself and my dad. I mean the conclusion is pretty much, “it ate meat.” 

And then something ate all its meat, and I accidentally stepped on it while looking at pronghorn, and then I took it home with me. Cleaning it was simultaneously rewarding and awful, considering that soaking bones in water means that they start to smell quite bad (like wet dog and dead rats) and the water itself is the deadliest broth of maggot eggs, fur, and tendon bits. 

The conclusion one might make is that I must hate myself. Why else would I commit an hour to sitting and scrubbing a wet skeleton, peeling off tendons like wet rubber bands taped to soggy bones? 

Or set up a gigantic Rube Goldberg machine that had an extremely low success rate, or leave all these projects strewn about? (And this doesn’t even really touch on the numerous other things I’ve done). 

“What is the point of a puzzle, anyway, when you know the picture at the end?” 

I heard that the other day on NPR, from someone who didn’t understand the point of doing the puzzle in the first place. Sometimes the reward is the result. I cannot say the time dedicated to that skeleton was time I enjoyed. But that’s an extreme example. 

Many of the things I find joy in during this time are just things that take up time, in general. 

I think time wasting is just the epitome of humanity. We choose something we enjoy (whether that be me making machines with family, or playing games, or choosing a new skill to learn, or so on) and then we just hammer away.

And once we’re done, we just move on to the next because all we want, from talking to people to undertaking new skills and new projects, is some kind of fresh experience that takes our time, and yields something we can share with others through verbalization or demonstration. Considering the way time stretches ahead of us given all the quarantining, I think there’s a good amount of time to experience a lot of things.

Currently, I’m working on mastering the Rubik’s cube. 


Haylee Fustich is a student who lives in Parker.

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