Quarantine story: Antonio “Moose” Octaviano, food aficionado

Antonio “Moose” Octaviano dressed in gameday attire – courtesy of Antonio Octaviano ’20

It’s 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and the morning sunlight begins to peek through the blinds, slowly illuminating the mostly dark room. Antonio groans as he rolls over in his bed, blinking his eyes open. Antonio Octaviano, better known as “Moose,” checks his phone. Once he sees the time, he falls right back into his slumber, not returning to consciousness for another three hours. It isn’t until the scent of the cooking food rising from downstairs in the kitchen creeps into his room when he wills himself from under his covers.

     “Usually my mom cooks, but if not, I’ll gladly cook for myself,” he says about his breakfast routine. “I love cooking; my favorite thing I make is a breakfast sandwich with eggs and bacon and all that.”

Moose is a certified food lover and enthusiast, and most of his daily schedule revolves around his next meal.

     After finishing breakfast, Moose and his father head over to Costco, grabbing all the essentials for the next couple weeks. Passing by the chips aisle, he makes sure to grab his favorite snack, Cheez-it Snaps,

“They’re so fire, bro. You have to try them. That and Oreos, Oh my God, man. Only double stuffed or more, though.”

Once they finish shopping, they get back into the grey Honda Pilot and turn out the parking lot.  If he’s lucky, on the drive home his father will make the left turn into his favorite fast food spot: Chick-fil-A. If he’s even luckier, his father will pass the parking lot, and tell Moose that he is grilling tonight.

“I love my Tatay’s grilling, man. It’s my favorite.”

His parents’ cooking infuses Filipino heritage, and it is Moose’s favorite way to connect to his roots. Aside from the delicious food, he also loves grilling because it allows him some quality time with his family.

“Me and my sister will help my dad out while he grills, and then we’ll all sit around the dining room table and eat together.” 

     All the food Moose eats gives him the energy and nutrients to support his active life. He has been swimming competitively since he was a child and is continuing his swimming career at the University of Minnesota, so he has made sure to stay in shape during quarantine. With gyms and the pool closed, he’s been coming up with his own ways to exercise.

“I’ve been jumping rope, and doing stairs and all that. I have a backpack with books and weights inside of it that feels like at least 40 pounds, so I’ve been curling it and putting on my back and doing step-ups and all that.”

Antonio officially signs with University of Minnesota on Nation Letter of Intent Signing Day – Dr. Grady Nance

     With his body wearied from exercising, he heads upstairs to his room and relaxes until it’s time to eat again. He grabs the dark silver MacBook Pro off the old desk by his bed and loads up YouTube, checking his subscription box for his favorite vlog. 

     “Usually I’d go out and spend time with the boys, but now I can’t really do that,” he says. “But I’ve still been keeping in touch with all the boys through FaceTime.”

Opening the contacts app, at the top of the list sits one of his best friends, Dylan DiNubile.

“Before corona we’d hang out like every weekend.”

When he and Dylan usually hung out, they’d spend hours “jamming” on the guitar together, writing new songs with each other. 

     “I feel like we’re most in sync when we jam together,” Dylan says. “I love hanging out with Moose all the time, but my favorite moments are definitely playing guitar with him.”

Playing and listening to music is also an integral part of Moose’s life. 

“I’m always looking for new music, and if I’m really vibing with it, I’ll try to learn it on guitar.”

Moose picked up the guitar only about a year ago, but he’s already made huge progress, and playing become a part of his daily routine.

“I don’t really know the names of the notes or anything,” Moose says. “I just learned the hand positions, and I look up my favorite songs and get the hang of them.”

His informal, go-with-the-flow style of playing guitar isn’t much different from anything else he does.

Moose and Dylan record a duet over FaceTime – Antonio Octaviano ’20

     After a long night, he yawns as the tiredness begins to force his eyes shut. He says goodnight to his friends and hangs up the phone, places the guitar back on its stand in the corner of the room, and plugs his laptop back into the charger and back on his desk. Diving back onto his bed, he checks his phone. 4:00 a.m. He grunts and falls asleep.

Author: Lleyton Winslow '20

Lleyton Winslow '20 is a student in the journalism seminar and a writer and editor for the school's literary magazine Pegasus. Winslow is also a member of the Black Student Union, the Diversity Alliance, and the track team.