I’ve been a SAHW(riter) for a few years. I’m also an introvert who’s made a regular practice of avoiding groups whenever possible. Aside from the unpleasant necessity of distancing from my husband (he travels & interacts in close-ish quarters with others) and avoiding people now not because I don’t want to be around them but because they’re all potential contaminants, my movements haven’t felt notably restricted. But even with little change in that regard, there have been some differences since self-isolation / social distancing began that I’m really enjoying.
While I don’t enjoy that my husband is forced against his will to be home more because his hours have been drastically cut, I do enjoy that I get to see more of him, though from a distance of at least three feet, but preferably six. (Last week, we played UNO from opposite far ends of the dining room table.) I also like that his being home means he can take over dog duties and I can have full days dedicated to writing. DAYS! FULL! I used to have to run away to a hotel for two days to get in a writing zone. (Using credit card points. So, like, twice a year.)
I used to go to the grocery store every day. I’d shop just for that night’s dinner because it takes too much time to shop in bulk. (Believe it or not, with #writinggoals, a dog, and two cats – and no kids – a day can still be quite busy and not allow time for an hour-long visit to the grocery store.) It takes even more time to find space for all that bulk, to figure out what to freeze, and to worry that the peppers won’t get used before they get squishy.
Now, though, in order to limit trips to the grocery store, we buy massive amounts of food. Instead of having to put things away every single day, there’s just one day of doing it. One! With a week or more to go until the next time! And when we look in the fridge or the cabinets, food is just…there. Like magic. (But we do have to make sure we eat that pepper.)
Buying in bulk means meal planning in order to be efficient in our spending as well as methodical in the navigation of the store so we can get in and out as untouched and un-breathed-on as possible.
As a result, there’s now a rotating meal calendar composed of post-it notes on our refrigerator, and most of the meals are new and wonderful things we’ve never made before. Last night, for example, we had our first homemade quesadillas, and they were phenomenal. The night before that, we tried my friend’s Shoyu chicken recipe and will have it again and again and again and
My husband loves cooking, so he’s the one cooking. Left alone, I’ll buy a lot of the pre-made grocery store dinners, or I’ll eat spaghetti three nights in a row. Chili fries. Chili fries are also a favorite do-it-myself. (I’m capable of cooking, I just don’t enjoy it. I am not a member of the Foodie Club.) But now I have a chef! A good-looking and interesting one, at that. Someday I might even get to kiss him.
I finally stopped biting my nails, and my hand hygiene has improved by many percentage points.
The need to bury horrifying COVID-related news and stats and social media rage and political angles and doom and all other mood-darkening material led me to explore 1. classical music, which wipes the dirt of this particular world and time away, and 2. Spotify, FINALLY, to enjoy their extensive classical music selection (the likes of which could not be found on Pandora, which I was simply too lazy to leave).
For obvious reasons, I feel like I’m supposed to say I’m relieved to be childfree during something like this.
I think it would only make sense to say it if I’d wanted children and couldn’t have them and was, through this COVID scare, given one reason, at least, to be happy it hadn’t worked out. (“At least I wouldn’t have to worry about them on top of everything else.”)
But as someone who’s never wanted and never had them, “glad I’m childfree” is a given every day, in every situation, and a pandemic doesn’t heighten my appreciation. The best I could probably say is, “Ayup, this would probably be harder if I had kids.” (But I could say the same thing about how hard it must be to be an extrovert right now.)
What are your good social isolation discoveries or circumstances?
*Granted: This is an unnerving time. Horror stories are happening to way too many people. Days are too long for too many, and it will be a relief when all of this is over. The above list doesn’t discount any of that, or anyone else’s less-than-pleasant experience.
Kristen Tsetsi is the author of the novel The Age of the Child, in which “Tsetsi asks provocative questions: first, what would happen if all forms of contraception were illegal? And then, what if those of us who want to be parents had to get a license to do it?” – Elizabeth Marro, author of Casualties