I haven’t minded sheltering in place at home, I really haven’t. In my little 500-sq-ft domain I have just about everything I need; communication devices with the outside world -hooray for the internet and cell phones! – and my favorite hobbies are right here within arms’ reach. I am able to work from home, a fact for which I am immeasurably grateful. I’m sure that gives my family a measure of relief to know I don’t have to put myself at risk and yet still afford to stay home. I try not to so much as stick my nose out the door out of consideration for those who DO have to leave their homes to work on site.
I no longer trust the public hive mind so when I do eventually grocery shop, I’ll have a list, stick to it and get the hell out of the store as quickly as I can. I’m pretty sure the staff will appreciate a customer who doesn’t hang around anymore than he has to. If I didn’t need to get quarters to do my laundry in my apartment complex’s laundry room, I would order delivery but alas, I need those quarters. I can only hope the store will have some to exchange for my paper currency because banks for the most part, are closed. I live in a grocery and banking desert in my part of Denver.
I used to go out once in a while to play Team Trivia; used to go to the library or the movies or the zoo or a Rockies game or a play or attend rallies for causes I support. I don’t plan to do any of that for the foreseeable future. God alone knows how long ‘foreseeable’ really is, none of us humans can foresee jack right now. But I don’t NEED to see a baseball game or go to a concert or a play. I don’t like crowds, never did. Crowds are an inevitable by-product of an event and it’s just something you have to put up with, except now there’s no choice. Eventually when circumstances allow us to have choices, I may not want to go out anyway.
What would I like to do when I get the chance? I’d love to go visit my children.
I get to see how my granddaughter is growing because my daughter uses a very clever app and uploads daily photos of the baby’s progress. But I would love to go see them in person, to personally hug them, to admire that sweet little face and listen to her baby giggles, and witness my daughter’s precious foray into the wonderful state of parenthood I have had the privilege to enjoy all these years. I would love to go see my sons back East and enjoy their company, see for myself that they are doing well, and hug everyone like I can’t get enough hugs. In truth, I can’t get enough hugs, never have been able to. I love my progeny so dearly, I must admit to little panic attacks for their safety every now and then, ever since the day they were born. I suppose all loving parents are like that. For parents like me it’s not simply for 18 years until the children are declared adults. They will always be my babies no matter how old we get.
But I’ll be reluctant to go see anyone in person for a very long time for fear that I will unwittingly pick up COVID-19 along the way and expose them (and me) to it. Maybe this summer it will be safe to go for a brief span of time. MAYBE but I just don’t trust anything right now, and I would sooner literally die than to risk exposing my loved ones. Maybe a year from now. I just don’t know.
So I’ll stay home. I write a science fiction romance series. I draw comic strips. I knit. I sew. I weave. I cook for one. I play a couple of favorite video games. I sing along with tunes on YouTube. I work out on my rowing machine in the living room. I update my blog. I phone my loved ones to hear their voices, to reassure myself of their well-being. I dance because no one is watching so what the hell, why not. I may go out on a stroll as long as I don’t touch anything and avoid passing by people on the same sidewalk. I allow myself to be a little paranoid because a pandemic pretty much demands it in order to remain safe.
For the sake of my equally-sheltering-in-place neighbors I will not learn to play the violin I have tucked away on a shelf.
People experienced relative adjustments to their way of life one hundred years ago during the last deadly pandemic. They adjusted again ninety years ago during the Great Depression, and then eighty years ago at the onslaught of World War II. Society evolves with adjustments to changes. This is the new normal.