“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.

Ryan Barba
Saturday, April 11, 2020 – Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020
Oakland, Calif

 

Saturday, April 11, 2020

8:40 a.m.
My alarm goes off, it wakes me up, to my surprise, as I was up late the previous night speaking to my mentor for over multiple hours.

9:13 a.m.
In my bed surfing the web on my iPhone, I am greeted by my cat Keira. She lies down besides me as I get lost doing some unnecessary t-shirt shopping. After several minutes of clicking on links and various searches, I make a purchase. It’s a graphic t-shirt of “The Starchild,” KISS Frontman Paul Stanley. I grit my teeth knowing that I just added another piece into what has become a hoard of over 100.

I later check my inbox and notice an email from my Oakland Voices Coordinator regarding my most recent article submission to the internship. Given that the story is about how my life has been affected in Oakland due to COVID-19, I have to include a photo about some of the things that I mentioned in the article. Being a community college student and an essential part-time worker, a photo of me at Laney or at work appeared to be the most obvious. Since I don’t like to take pictures, I know that this is going to be a hard find.

Classmate Son Le, math instructor Tracy Camp,  and myself during a class potluck at Laney College on May 15, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Barba)

10:23 a.m.
Now out of bed, I take my medication and morning vitamins then call my best friend. We talk about what time we are going to meet up that day. Our church is hosting an Easter celebration in abidance with social distancing. I mention to him that I would be bringing him some gifts in which he responded that he would be presenting me with my belated birthday presents.

10:44 a.m.
I take an under-thirty-minute shower. Although I had rock music playing in the background as a timer, my hair requires the usage of multiple conditioners so I ended up losing track of time.

11:38 a.m.
In my bedroom, I continue the search for photos of me at Laney. On my new iPhone I stumble upon an image of my Laney best friend and I at the Laney estuary for our geography class. The picture was taken on March 11, the last day of in-person instruction this semester. To my surprise that was the first image that the two of us have ever taken together. Despite the rare find, I go to my prior iPhone seeking an image for more variety.

12:27 p.m.
The search between two phones is over. To my surprise, I found 5 in total. The one at the estuary and four from a class potluck in spring semester 2019. The new finds were multiple shots of myself, a classmate, and math instructor Tracy Camp. The image brings back fond memories of my two semesters with her as my math teacher.

A belated birthday gift consisting of three purple pens and three Starbucks gift cards rest upon my bedroom dresser in Oakland, CA, Saturday, April 11. 2020 (The Citizen/Ryan Barba)

12:58 p.m.
A family member tries to convince me to not go to the Easter gathering because they are afraid I’ll be exposed to COVID-19. I appreciate their concern but have faith that I will be going to a safe setting. Not wanting me to take the car, they agree to give me a ride.

1:10 p.m.
On the drive over, I email two Laney pictures to my coordinator.

1:18 p.m.
I arrive at the gathering 18 minutes late. To my surprise it is exactly as my pastor said it would be. We are outside in the parking lot, standing six feet apart from each other, no tables, no chairs, just cars and an empty parking lot.

Lunch is cold Hawaiian BBQ.

After service I catch up with my best friend who I hadn’t seen in weeks. We talked about professional wrestling, school and our current job situations. He gives me my presents: three Starbucks gift cards and three purple pens.

After catching up with other church members, my best friend and I agree to meet with two at Lake Merritt.

2:22 p.m.
The four of us are together near the bridge across from the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center. We discuss life and talk about random things such as creative writing, alcohol, and COVID-19.

3:34 p.m.
My best friend and I part ways with them and walk to our favorite coffee shop on Broadway. After a nearly thirty-minute walk we arrive to disappointment — they’re closed.

The cloudy gray sky looms over the socially empty estuary at Laney College April 11. 2020 (The Citizen/Ryan Barba)

4:40 p.m.
On our way to his house we pass by an empty Chinatown and silent Laney College. I attempt to replicate a photo that I took near the Laney estuary.

5:21 p.m.
At his house he opened the gifts that I brought for him. We hung out for over an hour before I decided to head home.

6:46 p.m.
At home, not having the desire to make something healthy, I choose to eat some leftover Burger King (a crispy chicken sandwich and small order of fries). Although not the healthiest option, it does it’s job in settling my hunger.

8:20 p.m.
I go for a walk in an attempt to burn off what I ate. As it was cold, gloomy, and past traditional dinner time, I did not cross paths with many people on the sidewalks.

A street light illuminates an empty sidewalk as the lights of Oakland and San Francisco glimmer into the night in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, April 11. 2020 (The Citizen/Ryan Barba)

9:08 p.m.
I decided to do some creative writing and write scenes for a script that a friend wanted me to collaborate with him on. It is refreshing to go back to my native form of writing and to help him expand his universe a little.

11:45 p.m.
I’m preparing to apply to transfer to a four-year university in fall of this year, so I started researching the cities that I might be moving to. I found the process to be stressful and draining as I contemplate the possibilities of living in or out of the Bay Area.

 

Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020

2:21 a.m.
I go to bed excited for Easter.

8:53 a.m.
I wake up before my alarm, energized. After searching the web for a few minutes, I check my email to find a humbling message. To my surprise, I was selected to be the recipient of the Torri Minton Scholarship from the Peralta Scholarship Committee. Shocked that I was selected for anything, I praised the Lord and shared the news with my mentor. What a way to start Easter Sunday!