Orcas Island High School students have now completed roughly six months of virtual learning. This means half a year of slowly forgetting what it was like to wear a backpack or walk between classes. Six months of prying your memory to remember what it was like to have classroom discussions with more than picture icons or the top eighth of your classmates. Most notably though, six months of online school means six months of psychoanalyzing the glimpses of fellow classmates and teacher’s homes that can be seen through the small squares of the Google Meet screen.
Unlike his fellow students, Thian Armenia, high school senior, tech-whiz, and future inventor of something revolutionary, has given the people in his classes no such pleasure. This is because Thian has decided to cloak his virtual learning set-up in complete darkness. When encountering Armenia in a Google Meet, you see no bed frames, house plants, or assorted family members passing through. Instead, you get a background of black paneling, an elaborate black mic set up, and of course Armenia himself in a black article of clothing. Some would speculate that behind the darkness Armenia is only hiding a messy room, but others would say that Armenia keeps his background black in order to prevent his classmates from getting too scared from his secret collection of antique dolls.
Either way, Armenia himself stated that he likes to keep the level of secrecy alive: “The other day a sophomore asked me if I lived in a cave and it was not like I was going to say no. I do really like bats. Come to think of it, it would be kind of cool if people thought I was a vampire. I would never get COVID because people would always stay at least six feet away out of fear of being bitten by me. You see, it is a win, win!” said Armenia. As he has not yet decided whether to pretend to be a vampire or not, there are still many theories about what could be happening behind Armenia’s black backdrop.
A freshman said: “I definitely think there is a portal to another world back there. I mean, Thian builds computers and drafts designs for flying motorcycles, he definitely would be the kind of person to hide an access point to a parallel universe. It is possible, though, that he is just trying to create a separation between his study and living space, but I really do think it is much more plausible for there to be an entrance to another universe back there.” Even if Thian is not in another universe some speculate that he is on the other side of the world. A junior speculated: “What if he is in Hawaii chilling under palm trees but just wants nobody to know?”
Additional responses received from people who were asked what Thian was hiding behind his black backdrop were: “Laundry”, “Mike Pence”, “The twelve pet cats nobody knew he had”, “American democracy”, and “An unmade bed”. When confronted with his classmate’s outlandish speculations, Armenia smiled and said: “That just makes me happy. It is what I am going for, I want to be a man of mystery. My classmates have decided to reveal their beds and their wall art through their Google Meet screens, which is fine. But wouldn’t you rather have people believe you live with Mike Pence and twelve cats than put your unmade bed on display?”