Through The Looking Glass

conversation, social distancing, humor, Modern PhilosopherAs a proud, lifetime member of Introverts Club (the first rule of Introverts Club is that there are NEVER any meetings!), I don’t mind a little alone time.

To be honest, I’m not that impressed by the world around me, so I’m okay on my own.

As a writer, however, I miss a good conversation.  My characters are always very chatty because I believe in the power of communication, and real life intelligent conversations will often inspire my writing.

So while I like to be alone, I need someone around for bantering.  At least until I can teach my cats to talk.

The stay at home order and social distancing rules have deprived me of the witty banter I need not only to feel human, but also to help my writing.

Today, I finally found a way to remedy this issue.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been keeping touch with friends online, but typed conversation isn’t the same as going face to face.  I like to read body language and facial expressions because those are the specifics that I can add to my stories to make my characters come alive and seem more real.

As I was finishing up this morning’s run, I looped back around The House on the Hill on my way down to the river.  My neighbor, with whom I always have lively conversations, happened to be cleaning her windows at that moment.

conversation, social distancing, humor, Modern PhilosopherShe was inside her house, but her windows opened out to be cleaned, which allowed us to hold a conversation with proper social distancing while I stood in the street.

We chatted for a good ten minutes, catching up on things since we hadn’t even seen each other over the past month.

It was great to get someone else’s perspective on the crazy times in which we’re living, but do it in real time conversation, rather than in text messages that might not get answered for hours.

My neighbor has an essential job, so I was eager to hear how she felt about being out in the world, and doing everyday things.  I admitted that I was anxious about once mundane things like going to the supermarket, or passing people on the street during my runs.

She definitely eased my mind about what it was like in the outside world interacting with people on a daily basis.  Her feedback and observations did much more for my health than that morning’s run did.

As I thanked her for the chat, and set out to finish my run, I told her that this was my first face to face conversation with anyone in a month.

conversation, social distancing, humor, Modern PhilosopherWhich gave me a brilliant idea to pave the way for a second conversation.  My friend was planning to drop off the mask she made for me, so I asked her that if she would be willing to hang out and talk if I could set up something with proper social distancing.

She was all for it, so I made it happen.  I put down the screen in the front window and set up a chair on the front porch outside the window.  When my friend arrived, she sat in the chair outside the open window, I sat on my couch in the living room (a good ten feet away), and we talked.  Like normal people.

My friend is a medical professional, so I grilled her with questions about COVID 19 and my plethora of anxieties and phobias about it.

It really helped to get input from someone on the front lines of the Coronavirus battle, who dealt with patients every day, and had to take precautions to keep herself safe.

I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know about the virus, and how slanted my perspective had become from watching the news.

I really am overwhelmed by the idea of going outside and being around people again because I’ve come to believe that doing so will lead to death.

Staying at home might keep me safe, but it’s also put me in a bubble where all the facts aren’t getting to me.  I just sit on the couch all day with my anxieties and no one to talk to about them.

Star Wars, conversation, social distancing, humor, Modern PhilosopherCheck out the cool mask she made me.

While I am worried that the stormtroopers tasked with protecting me won’t be able to hit their targets should I be attacked, I do feel like the Force is with me.

I feel much better about the state of the world outside of The House on the Hill.  I will continue to take all precautions when venturing outside my front door, but the paralyzing fear that had taken over has loosened its grip to the point that I can breathe again.

I’m so grateful for open windows and friends willing to talk to me through them…

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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8 Responses to Through The Looking Glass

  1. beth says:

    it’s nice to have face to face (at a safe distance) whenever and however it can happen.

  2. markbialczak says:

    You needed this appropriately distanced interaction with first-hand information and perspective, Austin. I’m glad you were able to interact with the neighbor.

  3. I recently found myself eavesdropping on my husband’s Zoom meetings. (He works at a hospital for wildlife, so conversations about feeding bear cubs is sort of fun to listen in on.) I realized that while I am doing a-ok with self-isolation — it plays to my introvert strengths — I still craved the comfortable banter of people together. But, just in small measure. I also realized that the best part of eavesdropping is that you can always sneak away and back into the quiet world without being rude.

    Good for you for finding safe ways to create a conversation again … your idea is brilliant and I am going to steal it. (I have talked to friends through glass “storm” doors. Much better than texting, but your idea is much better.)

  4. Epi B says:

    Oh no… I’m not sure humankind is prepared to hear what cats would have to say if they learned how to speak…

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