Tomorrow, instead of going to my favorite café for breakfast, I’ll go to some sad drive-through. The café is closed, so I have to eat alone in my office.
Then I’ll drive to a mostly empty campus. I’ll have to waste a buttload of time trying to return a book that I borrowed from another college back in February. They haven’t reopened and are charging fines while making it impossible to return anything.
I’ll sweat through two lectures under a face shield and strain my hearing to decipher what students are saying under their masks.
In my office, I will scroll through many emails from the administration and pretend not to see political slogans that I find insulting in the signatures. I’ll miss our discussion board that was shut down because it “doesn’t serve the needs of social justice.” I’ll delete a bunch of messages urging me to attend indoctrination sessions where I will be told that my existence is evil.
Instead of talking to my parents in person because they are normally here this time of year, I’ll call on the phone. Instead of taking my kid to the dance lesson, the kids’ gym or the museum, I’ll take her home. At home, I’ll explain to my husband why we can’t put up a political sign without fearing for our safety.
All day long, I’ll silence, censor and edit myself. I’ll pretend not to hear questions, not to notice statements, not to have opinions, and not to have a voice. I’m pretty much at a limit of how much literal and metaphoric muzzling I can take, and it’s only a little over a month before we collectively decide whether we enthusiastically embrace a lot more muzzling.