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Here is something I love. Waking up and knowing that from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I close them again at night, I will not have to leave my apartment.
I won’t have to rush. I won’t have to deal with public transportation, or traffic. I won’t have to stress about social interactions that may or may not have been volatile, or awkward. I won’t have to leave my dog. I won’t have to worry about whether my stupid Bluetooth headphones are charged enough for both the ride to and from wherever I’m going; horrible invention, chargeable headphones. I won’t have to attempt to remember to bring enough tampons. I can create my own atmosphere. I can put on Brian Eno. I can light a candle.
In the moments immediately before work I am home, padding around, drinking coffee, doing Yoga with Adrienne. The moment work ends I am home, transported as if by magic immediately into a leisure-like situation, which is of course sort of a lie. It is hard to find true leisure when you are always connected to your phone. But it is as true as it can be: You can close your computer for a little while. You can think about dinner. You can put on post-work music, or a TV show. You can take a shower.
It just so happens that this way of life is now what everyone should be doing, if it is feasible for them, in order to not infect other people and potentially kill them. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about it. “Ugh, but it’s boring!” “Can’t I just go to the gym?” “Of course I can still go to dinner though, right?” “They didn’t say it was mandatory to work from home, they just said it was suggested.” “If I want to potentially kill weaker people, that’s my right as a younger or otherwise healthier person!”
I’m not sure what it will take to make everyone understand that the best thing they can do right now is stay home; yes, literally home. Stay there, literally. Inside. Some real, clear guidance from people who actually know things would be nice, but unfortunately none of those people are in charge. We just have to figure it out, and this seems like the best bet. Luckily, if you can do it, it is also nice (see above).
Not everyone can, of course. Not everyone can work from home. Not everyone can stay there, for myriad other reasons. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, if you can; it means you should, even more, for the people who cannot. This is not about you. Oh how wonderful it is to have the ability to never leave your apartment and have a long stretch of restorative quiet. How wonderful to be able to help by doing literally nothing.
An odd thing about the complaints I’ve heard so far is that they are primarily from childless adults, like myself. Why are you complaining? At least your kids aren’t home, also, for multiple weeks. I am willing to admit that absolutely sucks, and I’m sorry about that. But at least you have children to love. Some of us have so far spent our whole adult lives creating mostly blog posts. So.
I’d like to tell you a story. I hope it will help those who are selfish enough to want to leave their apartments because they are bored, not to be rude. One time I wanted a chocolate chip cookie. I texted my friend, “I want a chocolate chip cookie.” He texted back, “You’ll have one eventually.” This was incredible advice. I genuinely think about it, often. Why am I stressing, in this moment, about wanting a chocolate chip cookie? I’ll have one, eventually. And then, at that time, I’ll have it. This is sort of a parable, I guess. In your life, the chocolate chip cookie is ever leaving your apartment. You’ll leave it eventually. Not now, though. Because it is preferable that you don’t potentially spread a pandemic.
So, pad around. Have tea. Take your time, make a nice little space for yourself. Accept it. It’ll be easier once you stop trying to think of caveats. Can’t I just go to— no. Well, I already have tickets to— stop it. Please just stay home.