Ryan Anderson: Here's me

Listen to Ryan's sound clip, or read the transcript below:

(Game controller buttons clicking)

Here's me. Sitting in my bed, alive and healthy. Procrastinating schoolwork and playing video games. To be honest, I'm bored. Quarantine has been in effect for about a month now. It has been a lonely time for me, especially to know that those I love are so close but utterly unreachable at the same time.

I sit on my bed wasting hour away that I could be using to better myself, to learn more, take master classes or work out. But I don't. Sometimes I wish I cared more, that I was proactive or driven or motivated. But inevitably I find my way back to my bed. 

(Hospital waiting room sounds)

Here's a hospital. Here, just a room away from this waiting area, people are dying. There is pain and suffering on an unimaginable scale. A mere few feet away people are in fear for their lives. Doctors are worried about who might come through that door next, what they might have and how it might spread.

In this very room, there are a slew of people sitting with a chair gap between them, waiting for the news of their mom, their son, their girlfriend or husband... hoping beyond hope and praying to gods that they don't believe in that this is just a sick joke, that the virus isn't that bad and soon they'll be home. In this room are people who would give anything to be bored in a bed.

(Birds chirping, dogs barking)

Here's me. In a park. Alone. I jog on an empty field, chasing the disc I just threw. It wasn't a very good throw. I'm glad tha the field is, in fact, empty. I've been here for a few hours now. I've spent a long time working on my release; it's important to me. For the last little while, it's the only thing I've really been thinking about. I've come to the conclusion that this quarantine thing isn't that bad. I can still get outside and breathe, I just have to be extra careful. I haven't come close to another person in a long time.

Then my mind returns to my throw. I released that one a little bit low. Soon, even those thoughts fade, and my mind is filled with a blissful emptiness. 

(Heart rate monitor flatlining, man crying)

Here's a man who just watched his wife die on FaceTime. The love of his life for the past 23 years, and he was never able to hug her goodbye. As I have my simple thoughts in a field by myself, his world is shattered. They had been so happy. She was his rock and his joy, but one day a cough turned into something worse. He thinks about how he will tell his 13-year-old daughter that she will never see her mama again. His mind wanders through the grief.

It is an ocean of muck that he's sinking in. His mind leaves his current state and thinks about a time filled with no pain, a time when he and his wife walked their newborn through a field—the same field I'm throwing a disc in. He'd give anything to be in a field with nothing on his mind. 

Why? Why am I okay? Why haven't I gotten the call that my grandma is dying in the hospital? Why is everyone I love okay? When will it happen? Do I need to live in fear? Should I? Can I do anything to stop the fact that I will? What if it isn't the virus? What if I find out from a doctor visit that my overactive colon is really a tumor in my stomach? What if I get a call from my girlfriend saying that she has stage IV lung cancer? Will it happen? Why hasn't it yet?

The fear is constant, and the anxiety is growing. What if I only have a year left? Am I doing what I want? Is this where I want to be? Is getting a sound design degree from a school in the same town that I've been in forever how I want to end my life? What if there's nothing after this? I've got one chance. What happens if I mess it up?

by Ryan Anderson

May 20, 2020