Coronavirus Diary Part 5

Isolation is the pits. I think that’s fairly obvious at this point. We’re going into our third week of house arrest, or whatever you want to call this. I actually love being home, with just my family and my pets, not having much to do, and all the time in the world to do it. But we’re looking at weeks and weeks of it, with no end in sight, and that’s the part that is starting to make me a little crazy. I can’t predict what the world will look like tomorrow. It’s an unsettling time and it’s hard to settle in and enjoy the experience when there’s so much uncertainty.

Fun fact about Brittany time: I’ve taken the Myers Briggs personality assessment and I’m an INFJ.

There’s no doubt at all whether I’m an introvert or an extrovert. I am a hardcore introvert. I feel about going out and socializing like most people feel about going to work. Even if you love the work you do, who wouldn’t rather have unstructured free time? For me, it’s a necessary evil. Don’t get me wrong, I like people and love my friends and always want to hang out one on one. But more people than that and it stops being fun for me.

I am also plainly an N (Intuition) and an F (Feeler). If you ask me what is going to happen with Susie and Fred next Thursday, I can gut feeling/imagine a pretty accurate outcome in my mind. Ask me to calculate something like the square footage of my living room, and honest to God, I’d rather set myself on fire. Am I curious why a microwave works? Not in the slightest. In my world, it could be powered by a magical pink squirrel on a treadmill. The world of imagination: great. The world of math and science and facts: not great.

*This is not to say that I don’t have a healthy respect for the Sensors and Perceivers of the world. I am in no way a science denyer and I also know there’s no pink squirrel powering my microwave. I just like the mathy sciencey people to do their thing and leave me to my not-mathy-sciencey-imagination.

Anyway, I say all of this to emphasize that I am strongly an INF.

But all of that pales in comparison to how strongly I am a J (Judger). Judgers are decisive. They make quick decisions. Bold moves. No diverging off the path to sniff tulips. They are point A to point B people. And the one thing that makes them absolutely bananas is a lack of closure. You know that conversation you had with your friend three weeks ago, where you were about to tell them that funny thing that happened to you at the grocery store with the grapefruits, but then you had to go help your kid with homework and never got to finish the story. I can guarantee a J is still stewing about it, unable to rest until you FINISH THE GODDAMN STORY, GODDAMNIT! It will be the very first thing they ask you about the next time you chat, and I can also guarantee that the fact that you have no recollection whatsoever anymore of this little grapefruit incident, and now, will NEVER TELL THEM THE ENDING is going to drive them absolutely insane for the next forty years.

This is my life in a nutshell. I am preturnaturally dispossessed to enjoying open ended anything.

Case in point: when I had my ultrasound and discovered my youngest was going to be a boy, I had to figure out his name him on the ride home from the doctor’s office. Could I wait a week or even a day to think about it? Mull it over in my mind? Take my time and think it over? I had about twenty more weeks to decide. Like hell. I absolutely could not. Just the thought of it had me climbing out of my skin with impatience.

So perhaps you can imagine my mental state right now, living in a world I could never have predicted, where uncertainty and inaction is the name of the game. I am not okay. I have so much pent up anxiety and nervous energy I could practically gnaw through the baseboards like a beaver. Readers, go check on your J friends. We are not okay.

I am trying to keep busy. I am trying to exert some control over my life.

My oldest, Sam, is starting high school in the fall. Before all this craziness began, I was really starting to feel that I didn’t have much time with him left. When our lives were so busy with work and school, it was easy to push those feelings into a wistful nothing-I-can-do-about corner. We planned a Disney trip – a kind of last hurrah to childhood, in preparation for the inevitable teen years that were coming, when a trip with the family would be anything but cool.

But the coronavirus derailed all of that.

Disney is closed for who knows how long (again–here’s me–not knowing if our trip in cancelled. Or not cancelled. What’s going to be happening in August? I don’t know! No one knows!) *insert hysterical weeping*

And now I have more time than I can imagine with the boys. One of the things that I really wanted to do with/for Sam was give him some intensive writing help. It’s something he really struggles with, and also something I am uniquely suited to help him with. Before the lock down began, in a moment of inexplicable prescience, I ordered a writing workbook in hopes that we could work through it together.

Now, along with all of his regular school assignments, we have been having a daily writing lesson. We started a unit on descriptive writing, and I discovered that Sam was really hesitant to use descriptive language because it felt too flowery and inaccurate to him. Realizing that that thinking was holding him back, we spent a long time discovering ways to incorporate descriptive writing for more accuracy. Sam is catching on and his writing is growing richer and more descriptive by the day. It’s actually lots of fun to write with him. Maybe some day he’ll look back on this time with me fondly.

We’re hardly a factory of industrial-sized joy here, though. That’s about as much activity as I can muster in a given day. This lock down, the stories on the news, my Facebook news feed, and general shock at our situation has laid me out emotionally. Most of the day it’s all I can do to drag myself off the couch, I’m so sapped energetically.

I’ve worked on a few small, insignificant projects that I can see the end of–giving me a little bit of the closure I crave. Organizing (some of) my crafts and organizing the books on our book shelf by color. There are so many other, more substantial projects I could attack, but I just don’t have the bandwidth I’d need to tackle them.

My brain and my body are stuck in gear, hopelessly mired, and unable to maintain any momentum. I would love to start a new writing project, but even that is going nowhere, because none of the stories my brain conjures have the slightest forward momentum to them.

Jeremy, god bless him, knows that after a day spent stuck in my head, the best thing for me is to get out of the house and go for a walk. We’ve had weather in the 50s, and Monday’s snow is mostly melted, so we decided to try Garnsey Park in Rexford. Neither of us had ever been there before, even though we’d driven past it thousands of times.

It was a nice walk–a bluebird trail through meadowland. It was also horrifically muddy. We tried to navigate the mud, and it ended up sucking our shoes right up to our ankles in the mud and did pull me out of my shoes. My shoes disappeared and had to be dug out, and I ended up taking off my shoes and walking through the mud barefoot. It was quite a sight, but more than anything, it reminded me that I’m human, and life is ridiculous, and messy, and sometimes we get a little dirty in the process of navigating the path we’re on. I laughed. I’ll admit it. Sometimes that’s all you can do. There are greater problems in the world than muddy feet.

Generally speaking, we’re all okay. So far we’re all healthy. Local cases haven’t exploded, so that’s a relief, especially when the situation in NYC deteriorates more and more by the day. We’re avoiding nearly all human contact with the exception of occasional takeout and drive through Starbucks. My sleep cycle is a mess. I’m up all night, sleepy all day. Sometimes I can nap, but most of the time I can’t. Lattes feel a lot like love and warm hugs right now.

Supplies in the area, to my knowledge, are fine. I haven’t set foot in a store since March 10th or 11th so I have no idea. We’ve been lucky to find home farm share delivery. We also got a personal shopping appointment at a local grocery store, so it’s just a matter of going and picking our groceries up tonight.

We are controlling what we can control, and that’s not much.