Day 12, 13 of the Apocalypse–sorry, I mean Quarantine–no, not that, because I don’t think we were actually sick with the ‘rona and now we will never know—Day 12… Day 13, actually of semi Self-Isolation—because can you really call it self-isolation if there are five of you isolating together?-Day 13 of semi-self-isolation, and OMFG, am I ever sick of people…
I like to argue that Jung and Freud were wrong about everything, and when I argue this with people, they usually throw Freud under the bus but defend Jung. The blond Nazi sympathizer from Bern—granted, they don’t usually use those precise words—had some penetrating insights. Synchronicity, for example. I demolish that one in two sentences.
Introverts and extroverts! they rally, certain they will be triumphant.
Sometimes, I argue that this division too is artificial—if not precisely a figment of Jung’s fecund mind, at the very least a gross oversimplification of what is a continuum not a Box A or Box B, 1 or 0 kinda switch.
But at Day 13 of the Apocalypse—er, Self-Isolation—I can tell you this: my love of parties, coffee shops, and sheesha lounges notwithstanding, I am so an introvert and I am sick to death of all you people.
(One probably should not use the “sick to death” metaphor during a global pandemic, hey? Note to self made for future posts.)
I’m not talking about my family—yet. (Although at Day 30, I plan to self-isolated myself in a hotel for a day, if hotels are still open… oh god, they won’t be, will they? I will pitch a tent in the backyard. Note to self, order a tent online while non-essential delivery services are still a thing. To all the mothers, active parents isolated with their fams: imagine, a day without having to talk to anyone or to tend to their moods or needs, OMFG, yes, yes, yes, bring it on…)
(There was a moment, a couple of days ago, when, as I neurotically pondered whether the tickle in my throat was a psychosomatic sore throat again or a genuine manifestation of covid19, I did have the thought that if the worst happened and I ended up in a hospital on a ventilator at least nobody would talk to me or ask me to feed them or explain shit to them, and if the price of that would eventually be death, fine, I’d take it.)
(But I digress. That really is another post.)
I’m not sick of my family yet (most of the time). What I mean is—I’m having more interactions with my various professional colleagues via Zoom and Microsoft Teams and the other wonders to technology and the internet than I did before the crisis. My students, whom I loved to see once or twice a week, are now constantly in my inbox or on my phone. People I haven’t heard from in months or years–everyone wants to reconnect and set up a Google Hangout, a Discord Channel, stream this that or the other, hold a Netflix party.
My Apocalypse requires more silence.
I unplug from Facebook and Twitter earlier in the week. My friends freak out. “Everything ok?” Well, no. Global pandemic, accompanied by a world economic crisis, my 68 year-old mother a fucking frontline worker in all this, much stress and anxiety, sick kid at home and all doctors’ appointments by phone for the foreseeable future—I need to process all of this in silence, away from your noise and memes.
Typical introvert response?
I don’ t know.
Online interactions with people have always exhausted me. I might even enjoy them in the moment—afterwards, my mind and heart feel the way my body might feel after scarfing down a bag of Doritos. They don’t sate my need for real people. And I’d like to make explicit here: I do, really, like in the flesh people. My friends, my lovers, my students.
In small, digestible doses.
Face to face.
Six feet away is doable.
On screen, on phone 24/7?
I’ve never liked it; I fucking hate it now.
Day 13 of the Apo—um Isolation. My first “team” meeting starts at 11. Another at 5. Another at 7. In-between, phone calls and texts with students. And children, dogs, partner, supper, chores, an attempt to carve out silence, space for my work.
I hope it’s a warm, sunny day, so I can sit on the balcony for a while.
I have a few introvert friends who are currently in solo self-isolation. They are not happy, they are getting lonely.
I have one uber-extroverted love who, after four days, was screaming into a cup.
I do realize that this weird-ass, so not-normal situation is different for the people who are physically totally alone than it is for those of us who are with our families.
I would, on the balance, much rather have this problem I’m living than that one. I may be an introvert—but I am also a social mammal.
Falling asleep to the sound and smell other beings is soothing, biologically necessary.
I do hope it’s a sunny day today and that I can sit on my balcony, alone.
For a while.