Unseen personalities emerge in isolation: snarky comments, weepy days, temper tantrums, anxiety attacks, impatient outbursts, sleepless nights, fearful fits, cabin fever, and the list goes on.
Will those traits remain after we reenter the world of hugs and co-mingling?
How long will we be hesitant to have a drink with friends, visit someone’s home, share a face to face encounter?
I’ve been surprised by the reactions of some friends as they adjust (or is it maladjust?) to the social restrictions to Covid-19.
Some folks lock themselves in their homes, avoiding any physical contact, ordering food to be delivered, waving to passersby through their secure windows or doors, determined not to breathe another’s possible contaminants. N-95 masks seldom needed since they are sequestered and sealed off.
Others are wary but demand some interaction with neighbors and friends not limited to ZOOM meetings. They share a drink on open air patios, or picnic under trees in parks. They may even take walks with a friend, carefully maintaining a safe distance and donning those life-saving masks.
I encounter those who walk the streets, eat in restaurants sans face coverings and seem unconcerned about this disease that has killed more than 200,000 people in the United States alone.
What makes people react in these different ways when all are presented with the same set of facts?
I seem to fall somewhere in the middle of these patterns. I do not go out with covering my nose and mouth with a WHO recommended mask. I walk my dogs for an hour each day, glad to be out in the fresh air. I will trek to the local tienda down the street for minor things such as milk or eggs, and I open my door to very few people unless they are bringing food.
Meanwhile I talk with friends over the phone, through emails or on ZOOM meetings, and after 6 months I seem to be faring pretty well, especially since some might call me an extrovert.
Certainly, I have down days, but I had those before the virus began its rampage, maybe not as many, but still ‘the blues’ would creep into my days unsolicited.
Those folks who seem to throw caution to the wind are either braver than this soul, or they believe they have impenetrable immune systems that will keep them healthy and their lungs operating without stress.
I’m not eager to test the odds of beating this nasty virus if it decides my body is a good place to reside. This makes me nervous to be near anyone who isn’t also a bit reluctant to trust the airways aren’t spraying invisible droplets of virus from someone walking around with Covid.
I would like to think this too shall pass and soon, but I may be in for a long hitch with masks hanging around my face. So, to answer my question how long will it be before we either adjust to a new normal of hiding out or the virus has run its course and we can return to neighborly get togethers and eating at an indoor restaurant?
I have no idea what that time period will be, but for most of us, not soon enough.