It’s now been over half of a year since we started our version of isolation. Ours is more strict than most because of all of my auto-immune issues so that means half a year with no going anywhere other than our house, our car, and Nowhere Bookshop once a week when no one else is there. We are very, very lucky that we have the ability to work and take classes from home and that we can have groceries delivered and that no one can see the bald-spots on the back of Victor’s head from where I continually slip up trying to learn to use clippers.
It’s not all bad. We three have been our only company with no breaks for 6 months and we still love each other slightly more than we want to strangle each other. Hailey learned to bake and joined an online D&D group and started writing and coding video games. Victor works too much and meets online with fellow japanese sword collectors to study and learn. We forget that Hailey is on a zoom class in the next room and laugh too loud as we yell inappropriate things at each other until Hailey comes out to make us behave. We make dumb jokes and search for shows to watch together and fight about the best way to load the dishwasher and wonder if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It’s both, I think.
And as for me? I read.
I work too. Not as much as I should because my head is everywhere and my ADD meds give me anxiety and I still haven’t conquered this stir-crazy cabin fever. You’d think that I would. I am an introvert. I love being home. I’m equally anxious for and anxious about a time when there is a vaccine and we can return to normal. I wonder if this is curing my agoraphobia or exacerbating it. I wonder if my friends and family are doing as well as they say they are. I wonder if I am as well.
But I’m lucky. For many reasons but also because I have an escape. I spend hours every day outside, reading. It has to be outside. I can escape from the house and feel the sun and forget that everything is strange. I sit in the swing in the backyard or the rocking chair on the porch or I put Dorothy Barker on a leash and go walk her as I read.
This was dangerous at first. You can’t watch for unmasked joggers if your head is in a book so instead I slowly pace my driveway as I read and Dorothy Barker pulls me from one side of the lawn to the other.
This morning a women and her small children walked by and the boy excited said, “Look! It’s the reading girl!”
It took a second to realize he was talking about me. I’ve become a small landmark in this strange time. I wondered if he thinks I’ve been cursed to read forever….some strange witch’s spell that makes me forever trapped in this too-small world. It’s not a curse though. I look down into other worlds. I visit with friends who only exist in books. I travel and delight and cry. I get to not be me…or be a better me. So maybe it’s a curse. But it’s also a blessing.
I try to remind myself that this six months has been the same. Some curse. More blessing. It makes it easier.
I hope you find it the same.