Living In Isolation

We Texans are a social bunch. It’s in our DNA to mix and mingle, gather and party, and use any excuse to have a good ol’ time…together. When differing circumstances – from measles to a veritable pandemic – arise that force us to isolate ourselves from socialization we don’t fare too well. I’m just one example. 

Shopping Before the Covid-19 pandemic I was one of those women who always found an excuse to shop. Nearly every day. Just the veritable smell of a retail store was uplifting; a mix of shoe suede, purse leather, fabrics, and female bonding. Why can’t they come out with an air freshener comparable to that? Who needs that vanilla cookie scent? …Okay, there’s room for both. The female bonding between shoppers over a pair of ‘new arrival’ shoes was my nourishment. Now I’m starving. Speaking of starving…

Eating In 

I don’t know about you, but during these days of isolation I’m eating my feelings. Did you know there are 25 varieties of Oreos? I’m on number 11. For three years I had all but given up bread, rice and potatoes and ate pretty healthy. A pandemic hits and I’m on a feeding frenzy. Normally I’m not a dessert lover, but apparently during social isolation I become a sweets Floozie. Good to know. 

The key items visible from all directions in a grocery store are junk food. My old friends from Frito-Lay missed me all these years (I swear I heard them call me from Aisle 15), and all those foot-long loaves of tanned bread – crusty on the outside but soft and warm within – made me salivate. Thank goodness for the bandana covering my mouth. It’ll come out in the wash. 

Leaving the House 

I placed my keys in a bell jar by the front door to keep them from getting dusty. Sometimes I get into my car that’s parked in the garage, sit in the driver’s seat and just start the engine. Vroom Vroom, I’m tooling along, deciding in my mind where to stop first. A grocery store is not foremost on my list. I’ve seen enough of those lately. It’s so low on my travel agenda that it’s listed after Blockbuster, and they’re not even around anymore. The other day, while in the middle of my “travels,” I remembered that I used to play this same game. With my father’s car when I was 12! 

Physical Maintenance 

Okay, some say I’m high maintenance. What’s wrong with having something on your body either plucked, trimmed, colored, glued, waxed or polished about every other week? These days I’m forced to do things to myself that I haven’t
done since college. Like pedicures. You thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you? 

My fingernails have whittled down to uneven stubs, so I have a better chance of picking up a paper clip with my teeth. Now I can relate to how a declawed cat feels. So I visited the nail care section of a drug store, thinking I would try some press-on nails that were already painted and ready for some paper clip action. The shelves were nearly empty, so everybody had the same brilliant idea that they stole from me. I had my choice between devil red or silver with each nail covered in rhinestones. I decided that I really don’t have an immediate need to use paper clips just now, but I’m thinking about adopting a cat. 

Toilet Paper 

The toilet tissue shortage has left me wiped. Counting out squares of the stuff has become a pastime. It used to be golf. And then there’s the tug of war game, when the family is down to one role and the house has three bathrooms. Can I count that as a workout? I fantasize about the emotional reunion once my arms wrap around my chosen TP. Like the blue bears in the commercial I envision myself caressing the roll, sighing contentedly over the softness as soothing music plays. Is this the same stuff I used to throw onto the back seat, tear open once home and shove into the cabinet under the bathroom sink? 

This isolation period will pass, and hopefully we all will emerge with lessons learned. I will continue to be high maintenance, shop ‘til I drop, love (but refrain from) junk food, and believe one of life’s pleasures is dining out with friends. But the new part of me will have a much deeper sense of gratitude for even the smallest things that I used to take for granted…with one exception. I will no longer covet toilet paper.