Virus Diary: When you prefer it anyway, staying in isn’t bad

Quarantine puts introverts right where they belong — safe at home.

  • Sunday, May 24, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

By Courtney Bonnell / Associated Press

PHOENIX — Like you, I’ve been locked away at home for two months. But for me, not much has changed.

It’s true that I don’t go the grocery store in person like I used to. I don’t grab brunch with friends, go to the gym, volunteer with a grief support group or pop in for a coffee or ice cream anymore. But overall, the pandemic hasn’t disrupted my routine too dramatically.

That’s because I’m an introvert who loves to stay in. My favorite thing is when friends cancel plans. I could go months (though preferably years) without talking on the phone or hopping on a Zoom call. I happily travel alone for weeks, work out by myself and watch hours of TV without going stir crazy.

Does that sound sad? Society tells us to be ashamed of staying home instead of going out with friends and family, but the slew of introvert memes and think pieces has really liberated us to lock down.

I live with my boyfriend, still see my mom and do miss weekend brunches or dinners with close friends. Uncharacteristically, I’m actually glad I’ve been browbeaten into some Zoom calls — including with a group of old work pals scattered across the country whom I’ve probably talked to more in two months than in two years.

But besides the inordinate amount of banana bread I’m baking and walks I’m taking, not much has changed for me day to day since the coronavirus gripped our lives. I chat about the news with my boyfriend and mom, text some friends to check in every once in a while and otherwise carry on the same routine: exercise, work, food, TV, social media, dog snuggles, bed.

Obviously, this is privilege. I don’t have kids or a sick loved one to take care of, I’m able to work from home and I’m not struggling to make ends meet in this crashing economy. I’m lucky that nothing has changed that’s forced me to crack out of my shell. I’m allowed to be safely ensconced in the house I never wanted to leave to begin with.

But because travel is my passion, not going anywhere for the foreseeable future has downsides, even for me. A few times a year, I’d get thousands of miles away from this house I’m wedded to. Now I’m truly stuck, even if just by the unsafe feeling I’d get stepping on a plane or sleeping in a hotel room right now. No new cultures, foods and landscapes to fill my soul for those long stretches at home.

As society reopens and others stream back into the world with relief, I’m glad to stay locked down.

Here in Phoenix, people are getting their nails done, going to restaurants and gathering in groups again. Not me. And not only because of the continued health risks. But because even after two months of being stuck at home, this is still where I’d rather be.

Except maybe Greece.

“Virus Diary,” an occasional feature, showcases the coronavirus saga through the eyes of Associated Press journalists around the world.

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