The Thing(s) About Quarantine. May 3, 2020

Hello. It’s been a long minute since my last blog entry. I’ll spare you the justifications. Suffice to say, I gots to get back in the swing of things.

Now that we’re here together, I’d like very much to say something truly insightful and inspiring about these crazy, reckless times. Especially now that many of us are venturing out of isolation and back into The Great Outside. But first, I must acknowledge:

  1. I’m late to the Armchair Quarterback SemiFinals.
  2. You’ve almost certainly already found at least 2 resources that fit your worldview on C-19 and all the attached everythings.
  3. I’m bumbling and fumbling around like most of the populace and certainly no expert on insight and/or inspiration.

So instead of speculating or throwing up Covid statistics and documentation and so on and so forth and such like, I just want to mention a thing painful. It’s a thing made more painful for me BECAUSE of what’s going on in the realm of public health and personal responsibilities.

It is likewise a thing certainly not applicable only to me, despite how crucially personal it feels.

But that’s one of the things about Quarantine, isn’t it? More than ever before I think we’re all feeling like what’s happening to us is felt most keenly only by our individual selves. Even those of us fortunate enough to not be living “alone” in this situation. I have Husband, Doggo and 2 precious CatBabies. I’m so fortunate! I have distraction and company! And that’s the thing that’s on my mind.

Those of us who’ve been sharing “lockdown” in close proximity to other humans are finding out the merit of our combined mettle. Obviously, for some this isn’t an experiment. For some, family dynamics are consistent. Paradigms are set and behaviors–good, bad or otherwise–are fairly reliable. Some people are all too aware of what happens when they must spend a sustained amount of time living with the people in their confinement circle. I imagine we’ve all had at least a couple people on our minds. Youngsters who we suspect (or know) don’t have the most compassionate or healthy home lives. Same for spouses or partners. How are those folks holding themselves together without the daily escape of school/work/whatever? How are they steering themselves through intensified dysfunction or abuse?

And for some, this lack of casual freedom to come and go plus the necessary sustained nearness may be the first time we’ve noticed certain affectations in our cohabiters. Without the relief of regular separations, personality quirks can become less endearing and more just fucking annoying. Like Ellen Degeneres said, “You can always tell when the relationship is over. Little things start grating on your nerves.’Would you please stop that! That breathing in and out…!’”

This widespread medical calamity is giving many of us a critical glimpse into our partners and our own capacity for patience. Also for empathy, courtesy and humor. If we somehow didn’t recognize these things before, we are certainly given the opportunity in this Era of Coronvirus to see up close and in detail how we each embrace disappointment, fear, ambiguity and all manners of hygiene (emotional and physical).

So which group is better suited to Life Now? Is it more challenging to KNOW the slights of hand required for navigating interpersonal maladjustments? Or is it more constructive to have those broken wires thrust into the same harsh florescent cafeteria lighting as our pubescent middle school hells without any cushion or psychological preparation?

Is the Devil Known any more navigable than the Devil Unsuspected?

For me, I know it’s a rough time to not get along with a person I hold closest to my heart. It’s entirely inconvenient to have a fracture in the foundation when the foundation is supposed to be the thing that keeps us sane in the midst of personal/local/state/national/global insecurities. And I know I’m not the only person in this pickle. And for those whom physical health survives 2020 and beyond, how do any of our interpersonal relationships survive?

Currently, it feels like we survive because we don’t have the option to not. We tread lightly part of the time, and wear the big clunky boots of brutal honesty another part. My current working theory is, hard conversations suck. But for all the pain they bring, they also bring the opportunity for growth. And if that means tears I can embrace that, too. Wiping tears is another exciting activity to get me/you/us through our days in this new societal “norm”. Truth is hard to say and harder to hear, but it’s much easier to keep track of than lies. Keep your marches on government buildings and haranguing of grocery store stockers who’ve run out of toilet paper and rubbing alcohol. I’m committed to making gut skewering honesty my new exercise.

After all. We can only spend so many hours a day sanitizing our cell phones.

Penny Lane Cat is more than comfortable with social distancing. She regularly keeps herself to herself.
Dear Prudence Cat is certain we were supposed be home waiting on her 24/7 all along.
Maude Dog just wants to love, be loved and dig up baby bunnies and ribbon snakes. Part terrier, part chupacabra, part Lorax.

Be well, everyone. And try to keep laughing.