Even when I was three years old, I knew the value of stink eye. I hate having my picture taken, and I loathed it even then. I also knew the value of staying on an escape vehicle when my sadistic sisters were nearby.
I still remember that pant suit. Grandma made it, and it would have been great had it been made of a soft, light knit instead of a very thick, almost cardboard like, scratchy, hot, hot, hot polyester. I had total body heat rash at the end of that day. It was August and about a hundred degrees outside. I wonder whose bright idea it was to take pictures that day (there are a ton more of them, especially of my obnoxious older sisters) because it wasn’t my idea. Avoiding getting my ass kicked- and not sweating to death outside or fleeing flying, stinging insect life- was my idea.
I can still remember the way that old time polyester chafed. The early 1970s are a fashion graveyard for a reason. I remember the shoes too- little black patent Mary Janes with the oh so slick plastic soles, worn with white lace socks with elastic so tight it would cut off the circulation. Try to run…and land square on your face. Both sisters were wearing identical get-ups (isn’t it just adorable to dress your children identically, so it’s harder to identify the ass-kicker from the ass-kickee) but they could run better in those shoes than I could. Then again, anyone can run better in any shoes than I could have when I was three. The physical therapy didn’t start until I was four, when my parents finally were resigned to the fact that my motor skills were not going to improve without some kind of intervention.
In this current crisis I freely admit that I don’t miss crowds. I don’t miss working in a fishbowl where God and everybody is constantly in my grill. I am thankful as hell that I can work from home. I am enjoying the quiet and the autonomy. I am still getting things done, although we don’t have the volume we would normally right now.
I would like to think that there will be lessons learned from the stay at home orders, especially regarding personal autonomy, space and work-life balance (things I have never had much of) but I am a cynical person. I am sure the gropers and huggers are going to expect me to be physically present as soon as possible and they will be right back in my face as soon as they are confident I won’t give them a disease.
As an introvert and a person that isn’t really keen on group groping and huggy-kissy-feely stuff it’s kind of a relief, not having to worry about eye contact and body language and all the other things that vex me about navigating out in the world. The only people I need to be around right now are people who know me and care about me and for who I don’t need to run the scripts. I can blissfully let my guard down.
I will probably have the opposite problem than most other people will have. It will be hard for me to go back to the constant scrutiny and constant presence of others. My stress level has actually gone down knowing that I am not as much under the microscope and I don’t have to do nearly as much scripting. I don’t know how I am going to adjust back when I have to go back to all of that again.
I like my ivory tower very much, thank you.
I think for the first time in a long time I’ve actually had some time to decompress. I have time to read, study, pray, and just be a bit of a vegetable. The last time I physically had time away from work was in 2009 when I had my hysterectomy, and even then I had to deal with Jerry and his drinking and tirades, and his constant demands for me to go shop, cook and clean against medical advice. So that wasn’t much of a hiatus either. Begging the Costco employees to load the dog food into the car for me because I wasn’t allowed to lift more than ten pounds, also isn’t my idea of a good time.
By the providence of God I’ve managed to remain somewhat free of respiratory funks this year which is bizarre because almost everyone else around me got that really nasty bug that was circulating, but “tested negative for flu” back in January. Yes it makes me think. I’m usually the first one to get any kind of respiratory funk- especially upper respiratory and sinus infections- even though I get the flu and pneumonia shots. It makes me think that the Plaquenil I’ve been on for the past six or seven years for arthritis might be doing more than just mitigating my arthritis flares. Just a thought.