Quarantine - An introvert's paradise
Updated: Jun 6, 2020
Disclaimer: The following views and thoughts are not meant to reflect frivolously on the current conditions. This is simply a fun take on what I have felt being quarantined at home and how I have made use of my time. With all the depression around, we can all do with a little bit of lifting up. My heart goes out to those in distress during these tough times and I sincerely pray that we are all soon relieved of this virus.
Take a moment. Relax your mind. Take a deep breath. Now answer the following questions. Try being as honest as possible.
1. When you heard the words "quarantine" and "lockdown", were you (for more than just a moment) filled with a sudden sense of thrill and excitement?
2. Keeping the COVID-19 consequences aside, did it come as a long-sought relief to you?
3. Are happy and peaceful some of the terms that can be used to describe what you felt in the moment?
4. Were you more concerned about stocking on books or craft-supplies or paint or whatever your jam is than food, when you heard of the lockdown?
5. After gathering your supplies, did you do a little happy dance in your head?
6. Days into the quarantine and you haven't yet made a TikTok video or nominated people for an Instagram story challenge?
If you just answered YES to all the questions, then my friend [...drum-roll...] welcome to the Introverts Club. Back in my childhood, I got offended when someone called me an introvert and had sulked in silence behind my books for days. But I have moved past it. You too will, so no apologies in case you were offended.
Quarantine, stay-at-home, social distancing etc. have all been music to my ears in the past 10 days. A week back on a fine Friday morning, I decided to do something as crazy as not checking my phone first thing in the morning. Little did I know, God had planned a lot of crazy that day onwards for the entire United States. Half an hour into the day and I was all dressed up looking like a sun-flower (side-note: my husband said so and posted a picture of me on instagram with Post Malone's Sunflower playing in the background) when the crazy streak in me gave in and I checked my phone to realize that Austin was officially shutting down starting with the University I am a student at. Now see it was already the Spring Break weekend so I had no job going to the University, but suddenly I could hear an alarm going off in my head. If the situation was severe enough for the University to be closed, betting that the public libraries would be open was a lost cause. I am sure if my husband would have decided to capture the moment, I would not even pass as the sunflower's ghost. But I had to take my chances.
The University would later go on to extend the Spring Break for another week, and the entire city of Austin would be under lock-down thereafter for days. Fortunately, I was successful in hoarding what qualified as my jam for the quarantine days. Books, books, and a lot of books. The run to the library that Friday was worth it. My Harry Potter book collection just arrived in time for me to revisit the events of Hogwarts once again. And then there were the impulse buys, the gifted volumes, the "will-finish-it-later" ones, the classics, the "i-m-not-in-the-mood-for", and the list goes on. I has already found my tree and my spot at home for optimal and happy reading conditions.
The city is still locked down. The advised, expected and safest civic behavior clearly is "stay-at-home" and "social distancing". So technically, our freedom is something that has been challenged and revoked for time unknown. But strangely, I haven't felt more FREE. Freedom from everyday social interactions. Freedom from dressing up to go out of the house (like I ever did but whatever!). Freedom to read whatever I can, whenever I can (maybe not wherever I can :P ). Freedom to drink coffee at 11 in the night. Freedom to sleep for only 4 hours or on some days 10 hours. Freedom to lie on my sofa, think, write, think some more, fall asleep, then read some more. Freedom to bake as many cakes as I want to. Freedom to go on for hours without saying a word. Freedom from making small-talk or other niceties with anyone. Freedom to be alone with my thoughts, mess with them, play with them, arrange them and then re-arrange them some more. Freedom to sit in my balcony and read at 1 am in the night. Freedom to spot my favorite under-the-tree reading spot and imagine how reading their would be like in the perfect weather.
I see people on social media constantly cribbing about how tired and bored they feel of the current living conditions. Many of them have given in to the vicious cycle of TikTok videos and Instagram challenges. Some are on their path to becoming a(nother) social-media Influencer. Essentially the common complaint amongst most of these people is "having nothing to do". I have also seen people, many people, in comfortable, well-paying jobs, loaded with work, sitting in their offices (before COVID-19 of course) and complaining about how devoid of real- / me- / quality-time their lives are, how their job has nothing but prevented them doing what they really, truly love, and how that is what life is all about. You see the subtly painted contrast here? I am sure you do, I paint quite a good picture (no pun intended).
Coming to the star of the show, it came as no surprise to when I realized that over the past few days (since the self-quarantine) I have spent considerably less (to no time on some days) time on my phone, social media apps and watching TV/videos. In hindsight, social media apps and cell-phones for me have, more often than not, been a recourse to avoid social interactions and exchange of niceties in public places. While I am in no way a recluse, I do often tend to behave (and have often in the past behaved) like one.
Going outside for a stroll in the neighborhood feels straight out of a post-apocalyptic thriller movie (see I am a Legend starring Will Smith). And I love it. Roaming around, looking into the huge glass walls of the stores full of beautiful clothes, sleek mobile phones and laptops, amazingly scented candles and cosmetics. I can not go in and therefore I am not tempted to buy them. This leaves very little room for disappointment over not being able to buy something or something as pure as a Louis Vuitton bag and a Cartier love bracelet being an impulsive, unnecessary expenditure.
So, now that I have made you jealous of how perfect and beautiful my self-quarantine life looks like in a locked-down city, let me tell you it wasn't all sugar, spice and everything nice. I did have (still do) assignments to complete and meetings to attend. But no assignment or meeting can come even in the suburbs of the bliss that my life is right now.
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