PODCAST: Isolation of pandemic life, struggles of an essential worker shared with The Listening Machine

A year and a half of quarantine has changed the way we interact, but for many essential workers there’s been too little change

A poster for The Listening Machine

A poster for The Listening Machine taped to a light pole in Ocean Beach asks San Diegans to leave a voicemail about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Jakob McWhinney/City Times Media

Jakob McWhinney, Multimedia Journalist

The Listening Machine, a call-in show that asks San Diegans for their thoughts on the big issues that face us, has released its second episode.

This first season of the show, produced by Jakob McWhinney, asked San Diegans to talk about their experiences living through the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The Listening Machine
The Listening Machine is a call-in show of sorts asking San Diegans questions about the big issues they face every day.

In this episode, a caller described the struggle of recovering social skills she felt she lost and reviving her social life after a year and a half of pandemic-induced isolation. 

“I know that’s going to be a difficult one to conquer,” she said, “but one that I will because I think people really need the social contacts. And the Zoom and everything else, the cell phones, do not take the place of social contacts and physical contacts.”

Another caller spoke about his life as an essential worker during the COVID-19 pandemic and the toll so many unknowns took on his emotional and psychological health.

Despite the safety precautions, he felt exposed at work, like he had to wash away the contaminants at the end of every day. 

“We did all the steps — we had the masks, and the sanitizers, and the gloves and all that sort of stuff, and nobody even knew if it would protect us,” he said. 

In the bonus segment, a woman talks about the difficulty of staying distant from her family, like grandchildren, and bemoans another 21st-century pandemic – spam and scam phone calls.

The third and final episode of The Listening Machine’s series on the COVID-19 pandemic will focus on vaccines. If you live in San Diego and want to talk about your thoughts and experiences, leave a message at (619) 736-8976 or visit TheListeningMachine.com.

The Listening Machine and CT Sound are both part of City Times Media, award-winning, student-produced digital news, TV news, magazine, radio/podcast and indie film, all on one platform at San Diego City College. CTM offers hands-on experience for students using new and emerging technologies in state-of-the-art facilities.

Episodes will also be shared on CT Sound’s weekly radio show The Knight Life, which airs Mondays at 5 p.m. on KSDS 88.3 HD-2.