Stepping Out

A few days ago I happened to encounter some friends at the library. We talked for a while, then they asked if I were going to a tea for a local artist. I said no, and added that I wasn’t yet comfortable being in group. One woman asked me if my reluctance was because of the virus or because I didn’t want to be around people.

I had to chuckle at her perspicacious comment. I was doing well trying to be sociable until the restriction on gatherings was put in place, and then suddenly, I was back in my milieu (being by myself). It’s one of the reasons that when a job opportunity arose, I took it — not only would it help with my bills, but it would keep me from being a total hermit in those hermitage times. I never felt uncomfortable, either with the women or with the prospect of getting sick, because we more or less formed our own little family group.

The truth is, though, now that things are opening up again, I really am hesitant to be around people. During the past year and a half, I never got sick. I had allergy flareups, but I never caught anything at all, no colds, no “regular” flu, no infections of any kind. I must admit, I did like that. A lot.

Still, the woman’s comment did make me rethink my ways. If I let the reluctance at being around people get any stronger, it could become a stranglehold. Though I didn’t go to that tea, I did attend a meeting of the local art guild, and when the opportunity arose to attend another get together, I waffled, but I did go.

It’s possible I’ll retreat into my lovely shell again (a reference to my house, of course), but I don’t know. I do know I enjoyed being around people again, so I might continue stepping out.

Unless I get sick, of course; then all bets are off.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Alone Again . . . Naturally

Because of a change in the situation of the woman I have been working for, I am on a hiatus from work. Whether this is a permanent furlough or just temporary, I don’t know, but for now, I’m back to being fairly isolated. I’m hoping the weather cooperates so the workers can come and finish some of the jobs they’ve started, such as digging the dirt away from the house and repairing the cracks in the foundation, because having them around the place makes me feel less isolated.

Even though it’s getting cold again, I am trying to take a walk every day, bundling up against the chill winds, so at least that helps me feel more a part of the world. I can also make an appointment to get more books from the library, and if I get desperate, I can watch the few hand-me-down DVDs I’ve collected. All those things make me feel less isolated, though they don’t really do anything to actually make me less isolated. I don’t suppose it matters, though, and won’t for a while longer. I do well on my own since I have hermit tendencies, though I’m not sure how healthy such isolation is in the long run.

After Jeff died, I made sure to keep active, to make friends, to be involved in various groups and to do new things because I was afraid of becoming stagnant. I redoubled those efforts once I moved because I knew what a challenge it would be making new friends, but all that effort went by the wayside with The Bob restrictions, so I have a hunch I am now at the stagnant stage. It’s possible that spending so much time alone is skewing my perceptions and that I have not yet become torpid, but it’s hard to tell because . . . well, because I am alone so much.

I suppose I could do what so many people are doing — get involved in activities with a small group of friends, but unfortunately, just because people have received the vaccine, it doesn’t mean they won’t still spread The Bob. After all, the vaccine is only 90% effective (and less so when it comes to new variants) while isolation is 100% effective.

And truly, does it really matter if I’ve become stagnant, especially if I don’t know the truth of the matter? And so what if I become the crazy cat lady sans cats? If I’m the only one around, who will know?

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

If People Lived Like Me

I went to the store today, not because I really needed anything, but because I had to drive my car. I did get a few essentials at the store, as well as a few non-essential (but healthy, or rather healthier) snacks, such as dried apricots and coconut chips.

The most difficult part about going shopping nowadays is to figure out what hat goes with a white surgical mask. I finally decided that a simple straw fedora with a black edging around the brim wouldn’t look too silly. I’m sure it wouldn’t matter if I didn’t wear a mask — none of the store employees would say anything, particularly since the check-out clerks are the only ones who wear them. And since a mask is for their protection, not mine — and since I know for a fact I don’t have The Bob (it’s impossible to catch something when you’re not around people) — it’s sort of silly, but then, wearing it for ten minutes a week isn’t going to kill me.

A friend stopped by last night with a gift of beets and he wore a mask, but by the time I opened the door barefaced, it was too late for me to run to get a mask. (Which, now that I think of it, came from him in the first place.)

Other than donning a mask for my infrequent forays out of my hermitage, my life really hasn’t changed much during the past couple of months, and I doubt it will change when everything is open again. I never did buy much more than essentials, anyway. Hardly ever went to a restaurant. Never went to a bar. Seldom went to any sort of gathering. Probably the only thing I’d do different is have someone over for tea.

I used to think the world would be a vastly different place if people lived like me, and now that they are (except for driving newer cars), it doesn’t seem any different. But then, it’s hard to know if things are different since I am among people so seldom.

I have liked driving to the local stores, though, rather than walking or going to a bigger store in a bigger town. (I take a short drive out into the country first because I don’t think it’s good to drive less than a mile, particularly since I only go out every five or six days.) Every time I drive around here, I get to have a conversation about my car, which is nice. And it’s good, I think, for people to associate me with the bug in case of roadside emergencies or some such.

So that was my day. How was yours?

PS: If you have a good recipe for fresh beets, let me know. Thank you!

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.