The Human Test
As a Self-Professed Eternal Optimist, Quarantine Has Put Me on the Other Side of Sunshine
Our bodies are 90% water. I’m a walking head of cabbage with anxiety. These past weeks have been an experiment for each of us. Some are passing with flying colors, waving their hands in the front row sharing how they’ve re-invented themselves, sharing their enjoyment of the solitude, and how they sleep like babies. It has taught me more of what I already know about myself: that I have to have human contact. I miss my people! I need socializing to quell stress.
My effervescence has waned. Now, I’m like Fun Bobby from Friends. Remember him? When he stopped the cocktails, he became one giant bore. I’ve been drained of my gregarious juice. Before quarantine, my gleeful self always saw the bright side, and when negativity floated in my arena, I could find ways to skirt around it, shove it to the side, learn from it, or at the very least have a cocktail and laugh it away.
I miss face-to-face conversations that don’t have the words ‘quarantine’, ‘social distancing’, or ‘pandemic’ in them. The Zoom sessions, though cathartic, are like taking an aspirin for a migraine. Or someone handing over a mini Reese’s peanut butter cup and running away with the bag. It’s. Simply. Not. Enough.
I miss dressing up. Hell, I miss dressing period. I was a clotheshorse before. I am a fossilized dowdy sweats wearer now.
Add contact. Instant human.
We are social beings who mirror emotions and movements of others. We rely on social awareness and social contact to function. As the saying ‘strength is in numbers’ suggests, it’s not just a powerful metaphor to ward off prey; we as humans are meant to thrive and survive and function better together than alone. We merge to succeed.
As someone who works well in organized chaos, functioning in the ‘eleventh hour’ mentality, this overload of so much free time is stifling. It’s nearly impossible to create a semblance of a quarantine routine. My foot is nailed to floor. The walks and runs that keep me balanced are lonely. They underscore my need for proximity closer than six feet and my impatience of going on the same damn one every day!
“It’s hard to be optimistic when you have a misty optic.” Vance Havner
Even the introverts are feeling the sting. They had options before of going where other introverts go or finding solitude in small settings. They were selectively social, and content. Sadly they now have to hear from their extroverted friends who are desperately searching for calming anecdotes to get them through this newly found isolation. Note: They don’t want to talk to us poor saps. We were annoying on a good day. We’re ingratiating now.
Don’t read the News.
We’ve become Google doctors (yeh, I’m one) who regurgitate daily statistics on illness, testing, and death rates as if it gives us a superpower.
If I knew that ingesting say, a raw almond, would kill me, I would not eat it. Yet, I take a daily beating with the onslaught of deadly news. I’m searching down a deep rabbit hole and getting lost, feeling scared and sick. What would I tell my three-year-old self? Step away. That will bite you.
This isn’t a break that we’ve been given to regroup and in ‘X’ amount of time we’ll awaken from our cocoon into a new world, recharged. Truth is most of us are terrified of what the New World is going to look like. It’s clouding where we are standing right now.
Breathe. This too shall pass.
The eternal optimist in me will continue peeking through searching for that silver lining, that morsel of good news so I can say “YAY! There it is! We’re all going to be just fine!” One day the world will right itself. The other options living in this virus-drenched world are far worse. My spinning mind will quiet and we will all be together clinking our glasses rather than hold them up to a screen. I will be reunited with my people in my jeans and boots and my dowdy sweats will be a tired memory.