Alexandria, VA – Beth Jarvis recently posted a simple query on Facebook, and nearly 100 of her friends chimed in. Their responses show how connected we truly are in this era of social distancing and quarantine. Beth shared her story with us.
Across the country there remain stay-at-home lockdown orders in many states due to COVID-19 or Coronavirus Disease. Here in Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam issued his order effective March 30 through June 10, equating to Virginians having to lie low for a little over ten weeks.
Most of us are willingly donning our masks and doing our part to help flatten the curve. However, staying at home can be taxing, especially for a single-person household where isolation might already be a factor and in homes with spirited children who are bouncing off the walls.
It feels unnatural to be isolated for so long. Socio-biologist E. O. Wilson describes it well: “To be kept in solitude is to be kept in pain…and put on the road to madness. A person’s membership in his group — his tribe — is a large part of his identity.”
I recently queried on Facebook, “When we eventually come out of this pandemic and return to our new normal, what are you most looking forward to doing again?”
Ninety-three comments were posted, many revolving around personal grooming. Elisabeth Auld shared, “This feels kinda shallow, but I miss professional pampering – pedis, hair coloring, massage…ahhhhhh.” Roshawn Ceja said she wanted a pedicure as her “toes are raggedy.” Karen LaRue is looking forward to “fixing the [Justin] Bieber mullet I have going on.”
Other posters commented on the absence of sports and spiritual pursuits. Susan Nickerson said, “Going out to eat, bars & watching the Cleveland Indians! Plus, cool sculpting from all of the quarantine snacking!” Terrence Horne wants to watch “college football!” Lynda Aucompaugh is missing “my kids’ varsity school sports!”
Leesburg resident Ann Smith said, “Nats baseball!” Kathryn Minicozzi misses “going to church” and Laraine Sperberg agreed, “…being able to go to communion.”
For some, it was more epicurean. Gioia Chilton said, “Going to eat in Old Town after walking around.” Kathie Golobic “can’t wait for our family to get together for Sunday dinners at my parent’s house.” Jennifer Shipman said, “Looking forward to having a beverage at a patio table in Old Town Alexandria…people watching and sunshine.”
Mary Dennis concurred, “Going to a restaurant and getting served! I’m sick of cooking!”
Many respondents were experiencing wanderlust. Donna Tagliaferri joked, “Not going to Italy…I have been not going to Italy for a long, long time.” Sara Pellegrini is missing “movie theaters and travel.” Ed Baker said, “Spending time on open beaches! (legally, as opposed to the current methods).” Debbie Drylie wants to go “on a trip in our travel trailer.” Former Alexandria resident Leigh Mang can’t wait to fly “to the 22308 to see my peeps!”
For a handful, solitude was welcome. Eric Jensen said, “Avoiding social contacts and being socially distant like I had been for decades prior to the last few months. My new normal will be my old normal, as it turns out social disfigurement and detachment has left me well prepared for a pandemic. Unfazed.” Michael Farmer said, “Being an introvert with an essential business, not much has changed for me. But I am looking forward to people getting back to work and stop crowding up all the hiking trails and parks.” Jim Dethlefsen lamented, “Man, I can’t wait for some quiet solitude and ‘me’ alone time.”
Many responses mentioned family and fellowship. Emily Perez said, “I love theater, restaurants, and travel, but right now all I truly want is to just hang out with my family and friends.” LeeAnn Hamilton’s wish? “Seeing my daughter see her friends and teammates again. I think watching this generation miss out on one of the best years of their lives with no end in sight is the hardest part. Though I know they’ll grow from the experience.”
By far though, the most commonly posted comment either included, or revolved around, hugs. Judy Jurkowski said, “Hugging everyone!” Tina Knight said, “Hugging. Hands down. I’m going to go through Walmart and hug every person I pass.” Judy Heranic of Pittsburgh is looking forward to “hugging my granddaughters then getting my hair done.” Kim Lambert was emphatic, “HUGGGSSSS!!! Anybody that will let me!” Julie Kutruff said, “Hugs, not having to wash down all groceries, etc., after going to the store, and taking a vacation.” Sharon Ackerson said, “Hugging… hosting family/friends style dinners at my table/AM movies with my favorite plus one…and working face to face again…I really miss that part of my job.” Patty Krueger admitted, “Hugging my mom. We laugh about we have always been horrible huggers. But now. It’s different. We are both uncomfortable with close contact. Mind you, her other 4 children, my sisters, have no respect for personal space. They love hugging and touching. Now my mom and I want and need to hug each other.”
Courtney Toporek summed it all up best and said: “Hugging everyone. Bars. Restaurants. Pedicures. School. Camps. Everything we’ve taken for granted because it’s always been there.”
It is evident we are all missing different things during this pandemic, but hugging, it seems, is what we are craving the most. Even (perhaps especially!) Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin could probably benefit from a good, long hug. But, for now, let’s all continue to NetFlix and stay home.