In Pursuit Of…
Thoughts from a loner type
If I’m being honest, I’m in full blown panic mode. Today is better, but in recent weeks, I’ve experienced a growing internal hum that has made functioning and adulting difficult. Still. Today is better.
I am in no way saying this as a boast, but I was panicking before most. I had been reading the in-depth scientific and projection articles (trying my best to grasp it) well before they started making the rounds. I had been watching the numbers continuously tick upward and upward, refreshing the page far too regularly for it to be good for me.
I dragged my semi-willing partner (he wanted me to feel okay, I think) to the shops before the first presidential speech. We didn’t go crazy, like some. We bought a basket-full of dry long-lasting goods, some toiletries, and one packet of toilet paper. The intention was that IF shit got real, we would have supplies and hopefully not have to a) be part of the chaos or b) go to the shops again for a while. Shit got real! I saw countless updates of people buying overflowing trolleys full of everything. That was hectic. I was glad I wasn’t in a queue that seemed to go on for hundreds of metres, or part of the melee.
I guess I didn’t plan very well though, because we only bought that one basket of goodies, dry goods for the long long run, for the worst case scenario. So I ended up still having to go back to the shops to buy things I hadn’t thought of, like long-life milk and washing powder. And meds.
By the time the president’s second speech arrived, I was a ball of frantic stress, clutching for anything that could make the hum simmer down. But it was intensifying! It feels surreal. It feels like we’re in a movie. I can’t explain it but I “check out” of this situation every once in a while when I get distracted or wrapped up in work, and then it comes crashing back in a somewhat nausea-inducing reality check.
And yet, there are people who simply DO NOT GET IT EVEN A LITTLE BIT! I cannot even begin to fathom this. There are people who are talking about golf games and braais and kiddie play dates. It’s like they truly believe it won’t touch them or it doesn’t matter that much.
But let me not rant because I will not stop. The panic is deep in me and looking for a way to explode.
So, it’s a few days before lockdown, and we’ve all been asked to do our part and stay home. The lockdown is no laughing matter and I have a whole separate section of panic just about what’s going to happen regarding my salary. We are “working from home” but there will be less than usual to do as we are in the training industry, and there is certainly no training taking place right now. I can still liaise with clients and do quite a bit to be ready for action when the lockdown is lifted. And yet, who knows what the boss is thinking.
Isolation is coming. That’s what’s in-store for us. And as a loner, I can’t say it’s terrifying, and of course, I’m not alone, but despite being quite anti-social for large blocks of my life, it’s not welcome. We’ve had to cancel trips, plans, visits with friends and family, and truthfully, though there is a specific end-date in sight, we can’t really say with any certainty what waits for us beyond that date.
But we’ve got to stay at home. There is no “my time is more valuable” outlook that has any good outcome for the nation as a whole. Yes, you may be fine at the end of it all. But how many people will not be as a direct result of your actions?
There will be braais (solo or with your live-in family/friends), and there will be phone calls and video calls, but most importantly, there will be PLANS! Make all the great plans you’ve had to cancel or been meaning to put in place, and schedule them for some months from now, even if it’s just the framework, the idea. Send invitations to family and friends for get-togethers and dinners. Don’t plan for right after the lockdown ends. It won’t be over yet. Set your scheduling plans for after winter, maybe, or just set them as pending until there’s more certainty. In the meantime, while home, there are still many ways to be social. Catch up online with people who you haven’t spoken to in a while. Check-in with family that’s somewhere else in the world. Do Netflix online watch parties or take up chess and play with people all over the world.
Remember, you’re doing all this isolation stuff not just for yourself, but for your parents, for your kids’ teacher, for your gardener who has an elderly aunt, for your neighbour’s wife with asthma, for the 20-something friend of a friend who has an auto-immune disease, for your golf buddy’s favourite barista, for the guy in the office complex who always greets you but also has the worst bout of flu every year. Think about life’s countless connections, and how intrinsically we’re all linked, and then think about the knock-on effect of not caring about those connections.
I’m so very bleak about my cancelled trips. I’ve been planning them since last year. It’s bucket-list items getting cancelled. Yet here we are, and maybe a little grudgingly, we’re hopefully all saying #IWillStayHome.