The present circumstances, causative of the widespread interruption to our personal lives’ subliminally familiar context, have led us to a focused inclination to take particular notice of the details of that former life. To be sure, quarantine at home, under threat of serious illness, even death, results in a significantly altered home atmosphere. Individuals are now, mandatorily homebound and cut off from their familiar, routine daily activities, school, work, and social engagements of every kind.
For us, a bizarre sense of the unreal, is being indulged in, at our second home, in upstate New York. We are comfortable in this recently acquired, desirable, forested environment; but, under the circumstances of mandated quarantine, seem to be living in a dream-like sense of unreality. The wood fire is beautifully alight in the fireplace, and some invisible, compliant robot, named “Alexa,” is, thoughtfully, providing beautiful music for our entertainment. We have several new books, awaiting perusal, the weather is temperate, the beloved first shoots of the coming primavera, are now peeking, unconcernedly, out of the newly softened ground, birds of many varieties are congregating at our multiple bird feeders, we have completed our Spring plantings, and we are busily engaged, in traditionally enjoyable activities.
But the scenario has indeed, significantly changed, nonetheless. Television reports of the spread of the dangerous virus, consideration of the vast number of deaths caused by it, and the constant threat of infection, both, reportedly, worsening, cause us a state of uncomfortable, disquiet. Medical experts have prescribed no personal contact with others.
Thus, our contact with the outside world, is limited to telephone conversations with family and friends, food marketing, where possible, consists of transmitted orders and brief, furtive, pick-up, Fed-Ex safely and properly, drops off the delivered merchandise at the doorstep, to avoid hazardous contact. By the time we will be safely, permitted to get a haircut (previously, every three weeks) we will look like the great European composer, Paderewski.
Our venue, as stated is quite acceptable, but the elimination of personal contact with other homo sapiens, is completely outside of our life experience and, makes the usual surroundings of our life, seem wanting in social stimulation; even worse, is the recognition of the danger of the disease, the purpose of the mandated quarantine.
We sympathize with individuals, who, had been, thoughtlessly, sailing through their lives, merely performing the routine rituals, of their life, with no elective outside interest or aspiration for personal advancement. Such individuals, are now, conceivably, dealing with the present unique challenge in a completely, arid environment; with no opportunity for diversion or relief, pending the end of the quarantine. However, there is always the (doubtful) possibility of seeking relief in one, or another, of such enriching activities.
Those of us who have been engaged during our, respectives lifetimes, with activities of personal interest and advancement, will have available, sources of effective relief and necessary diversion, pending the duration of this period of isolation, and disconcerting challenge.