Sunday, May 02, 2021

notes on re-entry

In my close-to-fully vaxed state, I've been thinking about what it means to be out in the world again--I guess I mean REALLY in it.  Since last July, I have been somewhat but always with a carefully guarded veil of caution. As rates fell last summer, I did dine-in at a suitably-distanced restaurant for my Dad's birthday. One breezy outdoor night of drinks out in the burbs in the fall.  I went into like a half-dozen stores all year--occasional stops in CVS to use the ATM, a quick stop at 7-11,  Binny's to buy booze, the Dollar Tree when I was in Rockford at Christmas (I hated stores pre-covid, so this was not a sacrifice). Mostly, I tried to avoid other even slightly risky things because I was already kind of at risk doing things that were required--commuting and working. 

This is probably no real indication of my actual risk, but moreso my generally high level baseline anxiety.  At work, we are only a department of three with 1-2 student workers, but we have a bit of room to stay out of each other's way. Outside of the bus, no one usually was even within 6 feet of me except for like a second in passing. This felt reasonably safe, though my blood would still run cold when we got contact-tracing e-mails about cases in the library (mostly patrons I had no contact with) but at least once, one of our student staff. I watched the campus and city counters like a hawk.  My building is a shit show of ever-partying Loyola-ans, so this was also troubling in shared spaces like elevators and the lobby. November was particularly wrought, and I avoided a family Thanksgiving in the interested of planning a visit at Christmas when I could quarantine beforehand a bit. I saw my family a bit less, but not drastically so...

Things I've missed?  Thrifting.  Movies. Cocktails in places that are not my apartment. I hate meetings in general, but I hate zoom ones more than real ones, especially when I'm leading them. Conversely, I like zoom poetry readings slightly more for reasons I've mentioned before. I didn't get outside much last the time it seemed ok to be out, they'd actually closed the beaches, so the lakefront areas like parks were uncomfortably full.  I also felt like I had to be ever-vigilant and couldn't relax, so really, what was the point? This summer looks a bit more rife for summertime pursuits.

At the same time, I may be crazy since I like the world a little less populated with people and outings I have to say no to for whatever reason.  The tyranny of extroverts and extrovert pursuits. Without the danger an death toll, a little isolation is good for me, and were circumstances different, highly enjoyable, The task now to retain my solitude as the world opens up as much as I need it and still be free for roaming. 

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