“Lock-down Diaries” is a series featuring different members of The Citizen newsroom as they go about their day while under the shelter-in-place directive.

Isis Piccillo
April 7-8, 2020
Berkeley, Calif.

 

I drew a picture of my room rearranged to accommodate a makeshift desk. I feel lucky to have the privilege of my own room while staying with my family in our Berkeley home. (Courtesy of Isis Piccillo)

April 7, 2020

4:00 p.m.

I’m rearranging my room to try and make a work space. I’m living at home with my dad (a retired high school teacher), my mom (a third-grade teacher), and my brother (a USC senior back home because of the virus). I’ve realized that sharing a table with my mom as she conducts calls with her students is just not a long-term option. She has an excellent projecting voice that echoes through the house.

6:04 p.m.

I scramble to find the Zoom link for our district Board of Trustees meeting. Somehow I thought it started at 7 p.m.–thankfully I was texting the faculty union president at the time. The meetings never start on time anyway.

I help my mom, a third-grade teacher, learn to navigate Zoom and Google classroom. Although not very technologically savvy myself, I’ve become the resident expert by default. (Photo courtesy of Isis Piccillo)

6:55 p.m.

My family got take-out Indian food, but my mom kindly brought a plate into my room. While she peers over my shoulder, I point out some of the major players in the Zoom meeting. Some participants have tape or paper covering their mouths that spell-out “CENSORED.” Union members are protesting the unilateral change to the listservs that restricted access, and the union president brings up the amended unfair labor practice charges against the district. The document is 22 pages long–I didn’t get through it before the meeting started.

7:29 p.m.

“Shut the f*** up!” The meeting is interrupted by a Zoombomber. The audio seems to show Tim Karas as the speaker, but he’s the president of College of Alameda, and the voice sounds nothing like his.

Everyone seems to take it in stride, and the meeting goes on.

9:52 p.m.

The meeting is still going. I’m lying on the floor listening, after spending half the meeting cleaning my room. I keep panicking that my audio is on, and I’ve taped over my camera.

Screen capture of the Peralta College Community District Board of Trustees meeting on April 7 took place remote on the Zoom platform. Faculty union members protested the recent restriction of access to the faculty, administration, and staff (FAS) listserv.

11:02 p.m.

My stomach is tight, and I’m feeling anxious. I’m always on edge when I live-tweet, so I decided to stop less than an hour through the meeting. The newsroom is stressed, and the tension leaks into our group chats and class meetings. My friend sends me cute pictures of cats and a gif of Baymax from Big Hero 6. How long has it been since I hugged one of my friends?

 

April 8

7:30 a.m.

My alarm goes off. I’m trying to exercise every day in the morning.

8:45 a.m.

I’m back from my run. I saw a round table that said “Free!” on it and was tempted to drag it home, but there’s no room for it. I balance my phone precariously against my shoe and take a video of myself practicing handstands. One of my coping mechanisms for this shelter-in-place-with-no-end-in-sight is setting “viral goals.” So far my goals are increased flexibility, a handstand, and getting back in shape for soccer! Theoretically, I also want to journal daily, but so far that’s been a no-go.

I practice my handstand outside on a yoga mat in the backyard of my family’s Berkeley home. One of my shelter-in-place goals is to hold a handstand without use of the wall. (Isis Piccillo/The Citizen)

12:00 p.m.

I’m massaging a color-tint conditioner into my hair as I’m on a call. I got my whole head colored rose gold back in early March for my birthday and the roots are already prominent. But the color makes me happy, and I still see plenty of people on Zoom and FaceTime! Also it smells good.

I sit with my violet color-tint conditioner for about twenty minutes in my bedroom while on a call. Ironically, the brand of conditioner is called “Viral.” (Isis Piccillo/The Citizen)

12:34 p.m.

I scarf down lunch (leftover Indian food) while trying to make sure everyone in the news production class can get into the Zoom meeting–and also remembers that we have class.

3:29 p.m.

Exhausted and lying on the floor while calling a staff writer–she’s patiently waiting for one of her pieces to be published and for edits on another article. I have another class at 6:15 p.m., and I still haven’t done my homework, but know I won’t make it without a nap. I slide into bed and work on taking deep breaths until my thoughts slow down, and I can briefly slip into sleep.