Be careful what you wish for.
Since the beginning of this quarantine, I have longed for the day when things could start to feel more normal again. Here in Illinois, the Governor has created a five-phase plan and we just merged into Phase IV a few days ago. That means that many things are beginning to open up.
Restaurants have some indoor dining. Retail establishments are open for business. Parks are open again and outdoor recreation is coming back. My gym re-opens tomorrow. Hotels are open for business.
All of this means that on my current vacation/staycation I have the option to actually get in my car and drive somewhere. I spent a good deal of time yesterday researching driveable destinations and found a number of excellent spots with nice boutique hotels, good restaurants, lovely natural scenery, and plenty of activities.
I spent hours scrolling through information, checking hotel rates, computing travel distance, thinking about what I might pack. Then I finally shut off my laptop, poured a glass of wine, and binged on Netflix for five hours.
The whole process was depressing.
Can I afford the cost of a three or four night hotel stay? Certainly. My car is newly-serviced. I can freeze everything perishable in my refrigerator so that nothing goes back. I have only one official calendar event – tonight – and after that nothing until I return to “work” in early July. So what’s wrong with me? Why am I depressed?
Although I am not a paranoid person, nor am I even remotely germaphobic, I find that I am suddenly afraid of my fellow human beings. As much as I desire – intensely desire – getting back to a more normal life again, I don’t trust people to be kind, compassionate, or even basically respectful. On my brief trip into the city on public transit the other day I witnessed at least 50% or more of the riders on the train refusing to wear masks and congregating together like nothing was wrong.
In my brief travels to/from shopping in the past week I have seen more and more people out and about – maskless – as if everything is magically back to normal just because the Governor arbitrarily said that we are “in a new phase.” I have read posts about people screaming shrilly about masks and other safety measure being violations of their civil rights – as if their minor invoncenience is more important the the life of other people.
So today I am deeply conflicted. I am so tired of sitting here in my apartment that it’s almost painful to be here now – knowing that I finally do have options for the first time in nearly 15 weeks. On the other hand, how can I feel relaxed and comfortable going on a brief vacation when people are proving every day that they are idiots and that they don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves?
I have entirely stopped checking my social media, except to check responses to my daily gratitude post and this daily quarantine blog. I have fallen victim to doomscrolling too often, and it has turned me into a fearful, cynical person. I don’t like this person I have become.
So for now, I will have to struggle with my two opposing desires. After my weekly live interview online tonight, I will pack up that equipment until next week. Tomorrow morning, when I wake up, I will have to make a definitive decision about how to spend the rest of my week.
Stay home? Travel? Curl up into a fetal position and weep?
It’s all up for grabs at this point. Following up on yesterday’s post about the power of naming fears, I have named one today. I am afraid of other people. So now the trick is – how do I overcome that?
It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.