With the first presumptive positive for COVID-19 in the Greater New Orleans area, I continue to live out my introverted, germaphobic fantasy.
I can now, without looking as weird as I really am:
- Refuse politely to shake hands
- Open doors with paper towels
- Put on latex gloves before pumping gas or pushing a shopping cart
- Order a “no contact” food delivery where I don’t have to have even the slightest bit of human contact
- Walk around the school where I work blissfully wiping down all communal surfaces with Lysol wipes
- Grill my children about how many kids in their grade are sick and what their symptoms are
- Ask the school nurse for health updates
- Limit my attendance at large gatherings
- Decline to set foot on a cruise ship, like, ever
- Demand to know sanitizing procedures at businesses I frequent
- Insist that everyone in the family wash their hands upon coming home from anywhere
- Lecture my children about touching their face/biting their nails/picking their nose
- Wipe my groceries and library books down when I bring them home
- Decline to take a piece of food out of a communal bag
- Pass on samples offered in grocery stores
(I do many of these things already and will continue to do most of them long after the COVID-19 threat is over.)
Just two weeks ago, I watched someone catch a cup from a Mardi Gras float and immediately pour wine into it, and I cringed. Kids plucked pieces of bubble gum thrown by the Shriners up off the street and popped it into their mouths with dirty fingers, and I whispered to my teenage daughter, “Don’t do that!”
“I know, Mom,” she said, sighing. “You raised me this far. You’ve made me crazy, too.”
Then she opened a bag of caramel corn, shook the corn to the top of the bag, and ate it by pulling it into her mouth with her tongue like a lizard – so as not to even involve her filthy hands in the process.
I felt a twinge of guilt at that moment, like I had somehow made my kid as neurotic as I am, but now I feel vindicated.
A conference I had planned to attend in New York City was canceled due to coronavirus concerns, and although I was disappointed – I love New York and I especially love its pizza and bagels – I was also relieved.
I like people. I like socializing. BUT I also like being alone, and I frequently get as much of a thrill out of canceled plans as I do about making fun plans.
The only thing that worries me about a quarantine situation is whether I’d have enough books to make it through, and honestly, having a Kindle has calmed even those fears, to say nothing of true crime podcasts.
Of course I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that (I’m secretly totally hoping it comes to that), but quarantine sounds almost cozy to me. I’m sure I would hate it after a week or so, but man, I’d sure like the chance to find out.
What about you? Are you freaking out? Or is this the introvert fantasy you’ve been training for your whole life?