I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent more time in my house in the last few weeks than in all the time I’ve owned this house. Until March 11, I spent the majority of my waking hours running around, commuting to and from work, schlepping kids to events. And that was all before I scheduled happy hours or other outings with my friends and favorite family members. In short, my car was my house.
I felt a certain sense of embarrassment if anyone outside my immediate family rode in my car. I lived in my car and it looked like it. Everything from chap sticks, charging cords, sunblock, hand lotion, hair ties and tampons sat within easy reach when needed. Glove compartments hid sunglasses, regular glasses for driving at night, tissues, pens and parking passes. If you looked hard enough, you’d also find Dave & Buster’s game cards, probably with credits still on them.
Let’s be real. My car stunk. All day my funky gym clothes marinated in their steamy bag in the sun. The dog’s muddy paw prints covered the backseat. And then there was that “other” smell. While not completely definable, it still crinkled my nose. It said: I’m a lived-in vehicle. People leave their blood, sweat and tears here, which really isn’t an exaggeration. I literally stashed dryer sheets around the cry attempting to combat the mixture of odors.
Now, left mainly to rest in the garage, my car hasn’t seen this few miles in a week since it sat on a car lot waiting for test drives. Days at home like this were luxuries I’d dream about achieving once every few months. I’d proudly proclaim at the end of a successful day-at-home: I haven’t left the house today! This was generally around 8 p.m., still wearing last night’s jammies.
To be fair, I still manage to go out about once a week for groceries and such. Yesterday, I drove a birthday gift for a friend over to her house to leave outside her door. She lives less than half an hour away but driving there and back was the farthest I’d been in well over a month. By the time I rolled back into my garage, I felt thoroughly over-stimulated. I hadn’t expected that.
As the weeks drag on sitting in isolation, I waffle between desperately wanting to see people and intensely dreading any planned zoom calls. Because, honestly those are the only people I “see” aside from my family and or incredibly limited interactions at the grocery store. Is this fucking with our personalities? I spend likely too much time wondering if I’ve changed for good. I’m no longer a people person.
Since the quarantine began, I made of habit of getting dressed, albeit in jeans, each morning before starting work. Lately I’ve added doing my make-up. No, I don’t know why.
Each morning, I commute to the dining room table, which I created into a fall-out working station of sorts. I drink my coffee and try to get up once an hour to log 1,000 steps. Yes, walking circles around my first floor. I complete absolutely necessary projects, worry about my job, fiddle with endless budgetary scenarios and basically obsess over the news. Aside from a few trips bringing up clean laundry and carrying down another load, I tend not to go upstairs. Then at the end of the day, I commute back to my bedroom and pop on comfy clothes.
These rituals make up my restricted days. Some days I fiddle less with my budgets worry more about job security. Other days I somehow manage to bang out all my required items on my to-do list. That’s happened exactly once during this isolation phase. I wonder if any of my coworkers fare better than just getting through each day.
I’ve finally gotten to the point where I think, okay, I’m done being home now. I’m ready to go back out into the world. But the news I obsess over tells me the world isn’t ready for me to come back out. And when it is, it’s not going to be the same world I left. Which creates all new thoughts to worry over.