I finally decided to make the trek out of my apartment today to replenish on groceries after more than a week of quarantining myself, and in the midst of widespread self-quarantining to limit spread of the coronavirus. By the standards of any normal day, it would be relatively uneventful and mundane. However, the combination of a looming possibility of catching the most infamous virus in a generation, the ambiance of a city extraordinarily devoid of faces, and my almost total solitude in preceding days made the most mundane of activities such as disembarking from a bus feel surreal. At first, I found myself even going out of my way to avoid eye contact with other passengers, as if that’s how one gets sick. Once past the hump of remembering how to comport myself in (the light of spattering of) public, I still found myself continually distracted by an effort to maximize my distance from every other individual. My best efforts at social distancing towered over the highest shelves at the supermarket, competing with the warning signs plastered throughout the city to add an undertone of stress and concern I immediately wanted to shrink away from. The sunlight, ostensibly free of viral connotations, served only as a reminder of the impending return to my walled refuge and the bathing in artificial light that would ensue.
Within a few minutes of returning, however, I was thankful for my walls free of bulletins, and even the protective glow of the LEDs I once found harsh. For now, I have neither a desire nor an intention of fording out of the carapace that is my home unless necessary for sustenance. I can only hope my resolve will outlast the progression of the virus, particularly as my isolation may prove to be a net benefit for more solitary pastimes, such as investing more time in reading in an attempt to catch up to my ever-growing reading list.