I've now been inside this apartment for 48 hours, except for 30 minutes yesterday, when I ran up and down the ten flights of stairs. The sounds of the metropolis filter in: the rattle of buses, honking, dogs barking, an eerie yet beautiful trumpet. I wonder if the city looks any different than it did two days ago. Are there fewer people walking the streets?
Being indoors all the time feels extremely strange. The term "outdoorsy" isn't exactly right for me. It evokes a certain level of wholesomeness that I don't manifest and implies that I own expensive hiking boots and water sandals. But I am accustomed to spending a lot of time outdoors. In fact, I just spent two months camping in an open air hut on a remote Pacific beach. I ran in the morning and swam every day, drying myself in the sun beneath massive blue skies and enjoying the breeze on my skin. I hardly got online.
I keep thinking how comparatively "normal" my life would feel if I were at home in the Oregon Coast Range. I already live alone, work from home (for which I feel extremely thankful), and seldom see other people. Instead of driving to town for supplies once a week, I'd probably set it up so I went once every two or three weeks. I'd miss drinking beer on my porch with my neighbor La Lechera and the occasional visits with other friends, but, other than that, my life would hardly change. I'd get up and run on the gravel road in the morning and garden in the breaks between the rain.
But here's the thing. I think there's a big difference between being actually alone and just mostly alone. And the thought of being totally alone is a little scary. Is anyone out there who is isolating solo? What are your thoughts? (What do I have to look forward to?)
Here in Mexico City, I am fortunate to be "isolating" with someone I truly love and enjoy. For reasons too obscure to explain, I will call him Poodles. Poodles is good company for watching bootleg ALF DVDs and arguing about gangster movies and complaining about the terrible accents of 90% of the Spanish-speaking characters on Breaking Bad. The downside, of course, is that I am in his apartment. I've always been sensitive about imposing on people and getting in the way, and of course I imagine it's annoying to have me snorfling around, dripping shower water on the floor, grinding my teeth, and dribbling coffee grounds on the counters.
I have a ticket home for April 5, but I have no idea if it will be reasonable or even possible to leave then. I am considering trying to change my ticket to leave sooner, but I don't know if that will be possible.
And, truth be told, I am just as scared of leaving as I am of staying here. It could mean getting stuck in the United States indefinitely. That's half a joke, but I'm also serious. My boyfriend and my mother both live in Mexico. I've always felt happier and more at home here than I do in the US. The idea of actually being cut off from Mexico makes me feel like I can't breathe.
I guess the only thing is to live in the moment and be grateful that I'm in good company and that I'm not sick, and that I have work and a place to stay other than a lonely, expensive, and probably virus-prone hotel.
It was extremely cool and heartening to get so many responses to my last post, and I was fascinated to read everyone's experiences. I hope you will keep writing.
I think it would be interesting to record what we are thinking now, at the relative outset of this epoch. How long do we imagine keeping this up? How bad do we think it will get? I am also interested in hearing from people who have been doing this longer than I have. How is isolation affecting you? Has your perspective changed much since the first couple of days?
I want to be clear that I'm not looking for sympathy. While my situation is unique, it is certainly not that bad. My goal here is, for history nerd reasons, to record my experience and the perspectives of anyone who chooses to comment. I am interested in the ways in which we are all isolated yet all in this together.