commentary / Meandering

Meandering Monday about Living in Isolation

This is not working.

We all have stories we weave about ourselves – what we want other people to see and know about us (and to remind ourselves either of who we ARE, or who we WANT TO BE.)

Most of my life, I’ve considered myself a loner (maybe a lone wolf, although wolves are more social than I envisioned myself – my persona – years ago.) I pretty much got along with just interacting with people because I had to, and – except with my Significant One – very superficially. I played a lot of games, and that was my main source of contact with people.

My Significant One often had to run interference for me with NORMAL people, explaining to them that they didn’t need to be intimidated by me – that when I looked at them oddly, it was just me and my dry sense of humor, not a real judgment on them, and that really, I’m not some growly wolf, but more like a pussycat (and that is not the best choice when trying to reassure people about your nature. Sure, we all think of them as cute, but do you realize how devious and murderous cats felines really are?)

Over time, I have maintained my persona – it’s just something I’m comfortable with, although I’ve shifted over the years to wanting more to do with PEOPLE than I used to.

In the early days of space programs (and The Twilight Zone), I remember tests run on astronauts, putting them in “isolation tanks” to see how well they could deal with the lack of stimulation anticipated in space – including human contact. You had to be SPECIAL, have the RIGHT STUFF, to be able to cope with being alone. I think there was a time in my life that I could have done that quite easily.

Not so much, now, although I believe I would still have an easier time of than most people would.

This living in isolation is not working.

I’m not even alone – I have my Significant One with me, and we have both pretty much been isolated here I our box since the end of February – that’s NINE MONTHS of less than a handful of expeditions to doctor appointments for her (she is very high risk for Covid), and weekly foraging trips for me (I’m IMMORTAL, as we all know, but I can’t risk bringing the disease home to her.) (And when we are out, we only see eyes above the masks. They may be the windows of the soul, but it’s amazing how much I need to see mouth and eyes together t get any sort of read on people. Eyes by themselves just look scared to me…)

From within this box, we are not completely cut off from the rest of humanity – we have technology, and it provides entertainment (entirely too much about being isolated, mind you), news (although the veracity of that seems to be questionable – there seems to be entirely too much NARRATIVE out there, and not enough FACTS or TRUTH, with a disturbing mix of riots and hopelessness designed to keep us home), and occasional contact with people we know (beefed up at the start by Zoom meetings with my day job, which have of course diminished considerably.)

And yet, here together, we both have problems with feeling ALONE.

I feel so sorry for people who are REALLY isolated. We have a friend older even than us who’s in a senior living facility – one of the many fortresses where the staff are trying to protect our most vulnerable from exposure to the disease, so instead, they kept from exposure to just about everything else. They can’t have visitors, they can’t go out, and often they can’t even leave their rooms. And none of them grew up with the technology that’s so second-nature to our younger generations.

I know how crazy I’m getting, and I can deal better than most. The mental health and well-being of the world is at stake.

Humans were not designed to be so alone, and the defeating of this virus is not the only factor in this human equation. Surviving it can’t be done in isolation.

Just saying…

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