When things go right, feeling and showing appreciation — that’s easy.
But when things go wrong — not so much.
The weekend before last, I took my first trip out of my small home town since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020.
It was downright scary, leaving the nest. Over the past year and a half, the only places I’ve been were my home, the grocery store, the drug store and the dog park, oh, and twice to the vaccination clinic.
Advantages of Lockdown
While it’s been difficult, not seeing people for days on end, I appreciate the time this crisis has given me to focus exclusively on my writing. I can appreciate the many new skills I’ve learned in a relatively short time — almost like a concentrated college course in creative writing and marketing.
I’ve learned several new softwares that will let me post my courses online, send bulk emails, edit my neglected website, and teach classes using Zoom. Not bad for an old broad! And I’ve developed a whole new set of online friends — writers like myself, through Joseph Michaels’ “Unchained Writer” group.
As a closet introvert, I can appreciate having had the opportunity to turn my back on the world and focus on what I’ve wanted to do for years. And the more I see what other creatives have done since this whole thing began, I can see where it’s been something of a godsend for many other introverts like myself. For the first time in my 70+ years, it’s okay not to be “on”, not to be social, not to be available. Not even to get dressed if I don’t want to. (And don’t tell anyone, but I often don’t want to!)
So when my friend Pat, whom I haven’t seen in person for eighteen months asked me to come and visit her at Harrogate Hills Riding Stable now that she could re-open after lockdown, I couldn’t say no, but the feelings it engendered in me were surprising.
Disadvantages of Lockdown
First and foremost, I felt threatened. Weird, I know, but my safe little bubble was being breached. I was excited, too. I love horses, and was looking forward to seeing them again. I was worried about my dog, who’s never seen horses and can be volatile when presented with something unusual (in the end he stayed home). But I took my courage in both hands and I went.
As I say, I haven’t been out of town in nearly two years, so just being back on the highway again was both exhilarating and terrifying. And, my goodness, the privilege of stopping at a Tim Horton’s and having someone else cook food for me — how wonderful! And then when I arrived, to be able to see people in person, with whom I’ve only corresponded online or by telephone…well, it gave me a new appreciation for the technology that’s kept us together, even though we’ve been apart all this time.
It was a wonderful adventure, and despite a nagging feeling that I probably should have worn my mask all day, I returned, exhausted and exhilarated, to be uproariously greeted by Hunter, my frantic, tail-wagging, tongue-lolling Labrador who couldn’t get enough of the horsey smell on my jeans.
And now for the bad news…
For the next couple of days I was all appreciation to be back inside my safe little bubble, until I started to feel ill. I woke up feeling vertiginous, the worst dizziness I can recall, with no appetite and stomach cramping. By that evening, I had deep muscle ache and chills, so cold it took me three hours in bed to get warm.
So, last Thursday, I went for a Covid test. Despite the fear, I was grateful that there’s a quick(-ish) way to find out if I have it, and I so appreciate those courageous souls who put their own lives on the line on a daily basis for the rest of us. Then it was back home to bed, Hunter wondering why we weren’t going to the park so he could romp with his friends.
But…well, quarantine. Couldn’t go out until I knew for sure one way or the other. And I wasn’t sure I could walk across the kitchen, never mind to the dog park and back.
And now, for the good news…
Yesterday, three days later, I got the results back. Thank all the gods ever invented, it came back negative and I’m feeling considerably better, but I still have to stay in quarantine for another week.
Apparently in some people, there’s a delayed secondary reaction to the vaccine, and I’m guessing it was just that or maybe some kind of tummy upset or weird vascular incident. I’m just so very grateful that it wasn’t the dread disease itself. And now, from personal (though limited) experience, I can appreciate why it’s so important to wear a mask and keep socially distanced. I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone! (still shuddering)
And as for the mandated quarantine? Well, Hunter will just have to wait.