I’m practically a hermit. Single. Introverted. Basically a loner (I have a few friends). Family lives in other states. My home is my castle and neither my neighbors or my friends have been inside it.
Yeah. I have to admit it. This containment and social distancing thing isn’t bothering me at all.
Now, I can’t hunker down in my one-bedroom apartment for a full fourteen days or longer like I want to because I have a job. I’m an essential worker. By “essential” I mean I don’t have a job that I can do from home, there isn’t really enough work for me to do on a nearly empty campus for the next two months or more, but the university won’t let me stay at home doing nothing for the next two months with full pay. So, I have to go to work every day.
But, that’s not a problem. I still have my job, which is a blessing. My boss’s boss met with my department this morning to discuss the immediate future of the “essential staff”. My coworkers and I thought there was a fifty-fifty chance we would be laid off, or have our work hours cut back from 40 hours to 30. So, I was relieved when he said the university was committed to ensuring we kept our jobs with full pay. Uncertainty about policy and the policymakers’ priorities (around the world) has been one of the biggest stressors these last two, three weeks.
Of course, I was hoping they would shut the joint down and send us home for a couple of months – with pay, of course. I would have practically danced off the grounds. My local Costco has been cleaned out (shame), so I would have headed for the nearest Walmart, hoping to scrounge a few nice things that hadn’t been grabbed by the latest mob of last-minute pandemic shoppers. Maybe another large jar of peanut butter to go with the box of unsalted crackers I bought last week. Maybe another bag of bagels. Maybe some more extra-strength cold and flu medicine. Then, I would have gone straight home and locked myself inside, away from neighbors who don’t want to be anywhere near me, for a couple of months, at least, and I would have been thrilled.
Solitude. Blessed extended solitude for the next couple, few months with no need to leave the bubble except to check for mail, while the world hopefully begins recovering from its first fully global pandemic.
Not to be, unfortunately, but I can’t honestly say I’m saddened by the new “suggested” restrictions (that everyone is following). Almost nobody is stopping in halls or even outside to interact with me. No one is trying to get on the elevator with me, or anyone else. No one sat next to me on the bus, or in the seat in front of or behind me. The campus is deserted. My work phone is silent.
I have never felt this comfortable, peaceful, and alone away from my apartment.
This is a sad, frustrating, difficult, and possibly painful time for more social people, for the outgoing ones who are already fighting cabin fever, for the ones who are energized by other people.
But, it’s an introvert’s paradise.