I remember the first time I watched Tom Hanks talk to a beach ball, while stranded on a deserted island. Up until that point in Cast Away, aside from the whole flight malfunction thing, the idea of kicking back on an island to myself would be nice.
No loud trash trucks clanging around at 5:00 am. A considerable lack of judgment if you stayed in the sun too long. And the inability to doomscrool on Twitter.
But the reality is that working remotely, combined with social isolation during the start of The Roaring Twenties 2.0, leads to some serious isolation.
“She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?”
— Norman Bates, Pyscho (1960)
I’m not going to drone on about the effects of social isolation on the brain. Many more qualified people can fill you in on that. But I have noticed that there are some odd things that happen when you live and work in the same 800 square foot space 24/7.
Let’s see if anyone else has experienced these, “enhancements of unique personality traits” since the beginning of the pandemic… or a continuation of remote employment.
- Calculating how many hours you wore a pair of cozy socks, then deciding if that dictates “laundry” or “tomorrow.”
- Committing yourself to a water challenge, for no apparent reason. Reaching six glasses in a day and having no trophy to accept.
- Asking yourself how long of a conversation with the mail carrier is weird, even for someone who sits in a white, right-hand drive go-kart most of the day.
- Carefully debating the cultural taboos of happy hour. If video hangouts are acceptable for social drinking, shouldn't Twitter count?
- Pushing the boundaries of brunch and an afternoon snack so far that you have become a Hobbit considering second and third breakfast.
- Coming to terms with the unhealthy relationship between your home workout schedule and your shower schedule.
- Becoming all too familiar with every squeaky door, cabinet, and floor in your home between the hours of 9:00pm and 9:00am. Somehow, we’ve all become teens sneaking in late from a party… again.
- You now have “morning sweatpants” and “evening sweatpants.” Points if you upgraded your lexicon to include ‘joggers,” to spice things up.
- Resenting the volume at which your dishwasher decides to achieve its barely-acceptable cleaning job. You’d fire it if you could.
- Briefly considering this might be a hidden camera reality show and suddenly it’s embarrassing how many coffee mugs you own.
I’ve had a long, slightly-heated conversation with my dog about this list, and we’ve both come to the conclusion that it’s all perfectly normal. If you’re surviving isolation during this pandemic or leisurely working from home on an island without a single worry— keep going.
You’re better for some quality introspective time. Nothing is weird. Everything is totally ok. And we’re all going to laugh, cry and laugh some more about this someday. Hopefully someday soon.
What a boring world it would be if we were never challenged in our belief that we are, in fact, normal.
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