This weekend it will have been two months since quarantine kicked in, which means it’s been two months since I’ve made any sort of physical contact with another human. No handshakes, no hugs, no accidental bumps, no brushing past.
I connect with people virtually – over email, Google Classroom comments, Zoom meetings, by phone. I chat with the cashier at the grocery store when I go every other week or so.
But there has been no real in-person interaction for eight weeks; and honestly? I thought it would be harder.
People keep talking about how hard this is, how much anxiety they have, how they can’t wait for it to be over. I get it. I can see how this could be really hard for people. But it just isn’t for me.
I’m still working, but I don’t have to get up at 5:40 AM. I see the sun; I go for walks; I don’t have to choose between going to the bathroom, copying that worksheet for next period, and eating lunch. I haven’t had to tell anyone to put away their cell phones in eight weeks.
I miss the actual interactions with students. As my mythology class covered a much-reduced version of my unit on Norse mythology, I was sad that I couldn’t be there to get into the meat of the stories, to make sure the emotions landed, and to see their reactions to how Loki beats the Master Builder.
But boy is it nice not having any classroom management issues.
Aside from work, I’m getting projects done. I’ve been doing a lot of sewing, I’m learning sashiko embroidery, I read a lot, I play Animal Crossing (thanks again, Ben, for the early Christmas present so I can play with my siblings!), and I even cleaned my freezer today. I’m getting stuff done, so I don’t feel that loss of purpose that summer sometimes drapes over me.
I do think a big part of why this is so easy is that I really like my home. I like the decorations, the art and ceramics and textiles that reminder me of my travels. I have plenty of books, mostly-reliable internet, and enough space that I don’t feel cramped. I am so, so, so grateful that I don’t have roommates. I am glad for a lot of the home improvements I’ve done over the past two years. Having nice window shades, a good couch, and two cats to talk to make this better.
But it’s more than that. Anthony Bourdain said, “There’s a guy inside me who wants to lay in bed, smoke weed all day, and watch cartoons and old movies. My whole life is a series of stratagems to avoid and outwit that guy.”
Boy, do I get that. Different vices, yes, but I spend so much energy during “normal” times making myself go out and interact with people. Now I’m being told that not only should I stay home and stay away from people, but that doing so is socially responsible.
Basically, this quarantine is enabling a lot of the proclivities I have tried really hard to overcome in the past. And that’s why when my friends check in on me, when they ask how I’m doing being stuck home alone for so long, I respond truthfully that I’m a lot more worried about how I’ll be when this thing is over.
When I checked in with Joshua once, he informed me that he had been practicing his whole life for this stay at home gig. More than content to just interact online with others.