Drowning in Chocolate

I think I was one of the first if not the first, after the lockdown to post the following tasteless joke:
“We woke up this morning to an introvert’s paradise: no going out, nothing open to go out to, no sports events. We’re all supposed to stay in and socialize via the net.”

Part of the reason I posted something LIKE (I don’t remember the wording exactly) that on Instapundit was that I was furious at the lockdown, which was ordered AFTER the Diamond Princess numbers made clear we had nothing to fear, beyond “bad flu year.” (And the people who came here and bald faced told me that’s because the people in the Diamond Princess had the best possible medical care –…. on a cruise ship, i.e. the kind of environment where people routinely get killed by common viruses, cruise ships being sort of floating, fun virus buckets where isolation is impossible — can go and multiply with themselves.)

The other part of the reason is that I had something scheduled for that week which I had been trying to avoid. (I don’t remember what, after two elastic weeks to flatten that curve since March 2020.) And frankly, for an introvert, as scared as I was of what it would do to the economy and the society, this was a fine excuse to avoid peopleing, which is always, at best, mildly uncomfortable, even when it’s with people I like or love. (Except Dan, apparently. He’s not people. He’s part of me.)

What you have to understand is that every time there is a scheduled get together, I try to come up with excuses to avoid it. How strong the excuses depends on how uncomfortable it makes me feel. So it can range from really creative, up to and including all symptoms of illness, when it’s say an unfamiliar large con, or meeting with people I don’t know very well to discuss business, or other “unknown” situation; to I think up excuses, tell myself I’m being silly, discard them and go ahead and meet: when seeing the kids, or (when I had one) my writers’ group, or meeting a friend, or going out with Dan to walk in the zoo, say.

BUT I ALWAYS THINK UP EXCUSES. Always. And sometimes I find I just can’t people, no matter how hard I try.

Here’s the thing I’ve found, though, in almost six decades in this world: when I manage to avoid going out/meeting with people/interacting with strangers, it makes it harder to do it next time. It also makes me (and most of us, because introverted or not, we are social apes) slightly more depressed, and a little weirder, till we’re too depressed to know why, and too weird to pass in public.

So I try to people, every so often. Even if I’m one of those for whom “Being out, seeing strangers, and ordering coffee” is enough interaction for a day. (Kind of. without larger gatherings, I can still become more averse to those, which apparently are also needed, like once a month.) Which is why Denver’s insanity of closing the churches and requiring masks outside at the zoo and botanic gardens (As an asthmatic, masks — even face shields — bring on an attack fairly quickly) drove me nuts. Because they took away my safe “see lots of strangers.” once a week thing. They also took away huns’ dinner, my once a month “interact with strangers, so you don’t become a total weirdo” thing.

Yeah, things are more open now (though Denver is apparently mask-happy again) and I’m in a place where none of that applies, anyway.

But it’s been almost two years. And in many ways I’m not doing particularly well. For instance having bought a car I was comfortable driving, just before lock-down, I found there was no place to drive to. In fact, at that time, there were signs saying if you were out and driving about — by yourself, in your car — you were being bad, and should stay home. (The epitome of stupidity.) And while we were never stopped on the road, we had the papers for husband who had that coveted “essential” excuse to travel (though his job 99% of the time could and was performed from home, anyway.) Because we’d heard stories of the police stopping other people and being distinctly unpleasant, if not insisting people go home,a nd “escorting” them there. (And think about that. In a real LETHAL pandemic, stopping people who were not at risk in their own cars, outside, driving around, and interacting in close proximity would put the law enforcement personnel at risk for no good reason. Which tells you this was only a Statist Pandemic, not a lethal one (not that people don’t die from it, but most don’t. And most of the measures ostensibly taken to thwart it only thwart normal life and increase governmental power.))

So now that I can/should be driving, it’s like there’s this insurmountable step. I KNOW I can drive, but the back brain doesn’t. And it’s like…. I’m looking at a stairway with normal steps, but the first one I have to climb by reaching as far up as I can and scrambling up. And I can’t get to that first step. Which I have to get around. I just don’t know HOW.

And the same type of thing has set in for actualy going out/meeting people/doing anything.

For the holidays, I both have a strong need to get everyone together and gather the tribe and it terrifies me. Other tribe members seem to be having the same symptoms.

From a conversation with a friend this morning, we’re not the only ones with this issue. In fact, every family of introverts is suffering from this. Yes, it’s worse where one or more family members hold fast to the Covidiocy Cult of Fear. But almost two years into it, and not seeing corpses on the street corner, one must wonder if that’s what they’re really afraid of, or if it’s just “getting out and seeing people” even your nearest and dearest.

Because the covidiocy nuked casual social gatherings/going out to eat/strolls through parks and museums and such, this might manifest even in people who work outside the home. They’ve got their heads attuned to “go to work, come home” and can’t conceive of going out (or having people in) for fun. Even if they know they should be doing it, they find excuses, whether it’s Covidiocy or — the more rational ones — other things/other reasons the isolation must continue.

Here’s the problem: For introverts, excuses to hide and crawl in a hole, and stay by ourselves are like drowning in chocolate. You go from “Oh, this is fine. This is great.” to “I never want to leave this, though I know I should” to …. well, a state you can’t escape. By the time you’re aware it’s killing you, it will be too late to do anything about it.

BTW this is doubly apt to those of you who used to work in an office, or whatever, but are now working from home. But the curtailed/masked/distanced society we were plunged into by dictate of those who have reason to fear the wrath of We The People is doing this to EVERYONE to some extent.

You are a social ape. There is a reason the image of the recluse and shut-in is that of a half-mad person. In one of the few things Eric Flint and I ever agreed on, was when he was talking about how writers are always peculiar. “And if they aren’t before they become writers, they quickly become peculiar. More so as time goes on, because staying in the house, and working mostly with things from inside your head means you lose an external check on your behavior and mood. Until you become too peculiar for normal people.”

Note, this is true even if you go to an office to work, because there the interactions are limited/scripted/circumscribed. The spontaneous interactions we had before this insanity being gone, still makes us peculiar.

Look, it makes NORMAL people peculiar. Imagine what it’s doing to us introverted and Odd. (And yes, I know I can fake extrovert. It’s the panic before and exhaustion after that are a problem.)

As the holidays are upon us, remember that.

This enticing solitude can kill. In fact the “I’m fine, I’m great” till it’s too late is the introvert’s high road to suicide. You fall under your own peculiarities, and stop realizing they no longer interact with reality.

It might seem to you that making small talk with boring relatives is besides the point, but it is not. people need people, and with gatherings and watching faces (not masks) and all that, you’re receiving sensory data that tells your backbrain you have a tribe and are valued. You are not alone, on an ice-floe in the middle of nowhere, and might as well give up and die.

Listen to me. Please. Pay attention to what I’m saying. I’ve battled these demons a long time, and being a writer, and working from home, even back when I had “scripted” interactions with the kids’ teachers or the grocery store clerk, I had time to see the danger and be aware of it.

You think you like being alone. But we’re all susceptible to too much of what we enjoy.

Check whether you might be drowning n chocolate. Secure your (social) oxygen mask, before you secure that of someone you care for.

Get out, get out while you still can.

Because this isolated comfort is another word for suicide.

257 thoughts on “Drowning in Chocolate

  1. I’m one of the few people I know who began having *more* social interaction during the pandemic, because my extended family decided that if we couldn’t go anywhere, we might as well see one another. So we started getting together every weekend, having snacks, and then playing board games. We have since become a Board Gaming Family (and watching 80-year-old grandparents play games intended for teenagers, or young kids launching attacks on all your planets after allying with you last turn… enough to crack your ribs laughing).

    We decided, even though Florida gave up lockdowns quickly, to keep at it because the older members of the family all agree they are much happier when they get to see people regularly. Having a context (‘we eat, and then we play games’) keeps anyone from feeling the burden of figuring out what to do to entertain everyone.

    Now that we’re mask-free, I have returned to writing/drawing in coffee shops. I like having people around me. I never knew, before the pandemic, how much I was ‘normalized’ by the act of hanging around other humans until that got taken away from me. It’s so nice to have it back.

      1. It’s my favorite thing. The couple of times I’ve found locally owned places have been the best, like the coffee shop owned by Scottish immigrants, or the one started by the crazy Italian guy who barely spoke English and almost threw a guy out for asking for barbecue sauce for his pizza. XD

    1. I’ve thought about giving that a try a time or two myself once I find a friendly spot in the new location and make real progress in getting my head in order to write something more than a vignette. It was nice getting back to some semblance of normality faster than others here in GA, too, though who knows how long that’ll last, especially with companies being willing to force masks when governments won’t. Good thing they haven’t been enforced at my favorite out of town spot for a while!

    2. I do miss Game Night. Every 1st Saturday for 20 years. Ours was a group of friends, which changed over the years. I don’t know enough people here, yet, and we don’t have a “party hosting” house, now (and it won’t be, even after the remodeling mess is finished).

      There was also a 3rd Saturday party, which, to my surprise, I don’t miss. I don’t miss “Saturday is cleaning day”, either.

  2. I’ve always been what my ex described as an “antisocial extrovert” — I get energy from being around people, even though interacting with them is optional. Back at the beginning of the pandemic, the introverts on my FB list were saying things like “just stay home, it’s not that hard” and I wanted to grab them by the lapels and shout “FOR YOU MAYBE!”

    Then early this year, I started seeing people writing things like “I like wearing a mask all the time, that way people can’t see my face and I don’t have to see theirs” and again I just. want. to shake them. and shout “WHAT THE EVERLASTING F*** IS WRONG WITH YOU?!”

    And now the clubs are starting to reopen with vaccine checks of course, and with a mask mandate, and I just can’t do it. I desperately miss going out and having a drink and talking to people and dancing, but with masks on it’s just … inhuman. Not normal. Unacceptable. (Plus after 35 years of goth clubs I kinda need to be able to lip read to understand people over the music.)

    The introverts have taken the opportunity of the pandemic to institutionalize themselves, and that would be okay, I guess, I mean I’d miss some of them, but what really chaps my hide is they insist on everyone else doing it too.


    1. And doing it to kids who haven’t yet mastered how to interact socially with one another and are still learning to interpret social cues was frankly evil.

      No one is ‘resilient’ to isolation, with extremely rare exception. Like Mountain Man Yeti Dude exception.

        1. We should, yes! Next week, maybe, we can throw around some ideas. I’m away from computer mostly for the holidays. 🙂

    2. I miss dive bars and live music. I miss seeing people smile. During the height of the nonsense, I had people start crying because I smiled at them and it was the first one they’d seen in months.

      People need people.

      I fake extrovert well enough that I can be outgoing and personable when I have to but it’s a muscle. If you don’t exercise it, it atrophies. I think a lot of introverts have forgotten that. Or never knew because every interaction was exercise so it came as a relief for a while to not have to.

      But, the thing about resting is, you have to get back up. If you sit down for a little while, it’s fine. If you do it for a year and a half, you’re going to have hard time standing back up. What use you used to have of a limb is no longer there.

      1. During the height of the nonsense, I had people start crying because I smiled at them and it was the first one they’d seen in months.

        Couldn’t they just….. try not needing to see smiles?

        1. I actually got the feeling she’d tried.

          “I don’t like going to church but then they made me stop and I realized I’m not a very nice person when I don’t interact with people regularly. I never realized how much I missed being smiled at until I couldn’t complain about having to talk to people.”

          I gave her a hug. It was the first time she’d had one of those is a while, too.

          Single, self-employed, worked from home before everything got locked down….

          1. I got weepy after nearly running into a fellow coming around the corner of a building. I refused to wear a mask outside all last year and one of my work tasks is going to the post office but the block I had to walk between parking and the PO was almost always completely empty. So we surprised each other and then saw two unmasked faces and then smiled. He had a brilliant warm smile and it made me happy and then when I realized how happy it made me I wanted to cry.

      2. I was thrilled when live music finally started coming back. It was slower here in Ohio than down in Florida, but it did start coming back by spring 2021. The “concert on the green” type stuff has been a lot slower to come back than music at the dive bars, but my wife and I usually catch live music at two weeks out of three. There was live music at the Fourth of July celebration in one of the nearby communities, and at the Halloween event at the Indiana state park we camped at last month. Alas, winter opportunities are a little scarcer than summer ones.

    3. It is go along to get alongs, and an information campaign.

      Their basic mode of social interaction is audibly voicing what the crowd seems to be voicing.

      Thing about people naturally that crazy in that specific way? You aren’t going to suddenly get a huge increase in their number, or their own volume, jsut from this. Yeah, an information campagin can amplify the volume of the crazies, but it does not make new crazies from scratch.

      The autistics prove that is possible to avoid looking at the faces of others, without requiring that they mask.

      So, some people with boundary issues, and some people who don’t liek to be reminded that others are people would genuinely feel this way.

      So, some small slice of people who are crazy in some other way than introversion or autism, and a bunch of go alongs to get alongs.

      1. So, some small slice of people who are crazy in some other way than introversion or autism, and a bunch of go alongs to get alongs.

        Don’t. Care.

        Still abnormal and inhuman. I feel sorry for the autists, because they can’t help it. The rest are demonstrating what horrible conformist totalitarians they are.

        Now, of course, with the Omicron Variant showing up in the news just in time, they have even more “reason” to keep their boot on my neck. F*** that.

        1. Conformists and jackbooted totalitarians is exactly it.

          The politicians behind this? They are crazy, and crazy enough that seeing your face will not make you more human in their eyes.

          The folks who enjoy others masking? They are crazy, and wish that they were crazy enough that seeing your face did not make you more human in their eyes. The appetite for seeking others out and harming them is not the same as the appetite for solitude.

          Go along to get alongs will say whatever, and would cheerfully and unthinkingly try to turn their coats in our favor the moment the information environment changes.

          1. Various pictures that Despicable Kate Brown (D-mentor, OR) has posted of herself has led me to wonder whether or not she’s human at all. Modulo the Christmas wreath mask with a snowglobe where her tentacles mouth should be, at best she seems to be in the mode of looking at little children and wondering how they should be cooked. Her smile terrifies me…

            1. The only way she could have been more ludicrous would have been to have a sailing ship in her hair.

                1. What? Seamen in her hair?
                  She would never do that.
                  Running and hiding from the carp. 🙂
                  John in Indy

            2. Put her in a top hat, and she’s the Child Catcher from the movie version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

        2. I’m kind of surprised they didn’t jump straight to the Omega variant. Maybe they should.

          And then maybe, eventually, after a while of battling the Omega Virus, people will look around, realize that if something that big and evil-sounding isn’t putting mankind in danger of extinction, there’s nothing more to panic over, and just shrug it all off and get back to business. (Hey, I can dream… Oh, and while I’m dreaming, the “getting back to business” part involves putting a few thousand VERY deserving heads on pikes as a warning to all the rest.)

          1. You DID notice that they skipped straight from “nu variant” to “omicron variant”, completely missing out “xi”, the next letter of the Greek alphabet after “nu”, didn’t you?

        3. Our church here in Austin never stopped meeting, even when our Communist city council said gatherings of 11 people were illegal. (We were confident the law was on our side, and willing to take the City to court if it had been foolish enough to press the issue. Reformed churches strongly attract logical thinkers like lawyers and engineers, so we’d have had lots of people joining the fight to make a precedent-setting case.)

          Seriously, though, if your church didn’t have the backbone and the faith in God to keep meeting through illegal government-mandated shutdowns, you need to join a church that did. I can’t think of a clearer bright line action to separate the sheep from the goats among Christian congregations. No state action, not even a “health emergency” (which this clearly was NOT) justifies state suppression of First Amendment protected practice of a Christian religion.

        1. Yup.

          Not having the tendency to process things in the usual way does not mean that changing the input wildly gets ignored.

        2. :nods in support and elaboration:

          Folks that were OK with eyes* before are running into the “don’t like making eye contact” reaction, some of them it’s freaking ’em out– I think it’s because folks are stressed/upset and it’s getting into the eyes, and where usually people will do the “I am signaling I am neutral to happy” deliberate -smile -on -eye-contact, they’re not doing that so much now. (Some still do it, they “shout” the expression, so to speak, so where eyes crinkle a little in a normal smile they’re nearly closed, it’s kind of neat.) But most people don’t REALIZE that eye-squishy thing.

          There’s also that folks who are A Little Bit Odd (or even REALLY weird, but harmless) depend on folks recognizing that in interaction, and making reasonable allowances. All human interaction depends on that, because we’re not all the same. And EVERYONE is really stressed out so they don’t have the emotional resources for as much of it, and they don’t have the information that they’d usually be going off of– and stressed out people assume the worst in their mental list of options.
          So folks with any kind of not-good-at-reading-social-signals folks are going to be gotten coming and going.

          * I had to learn not to make “too much” eye contact. I don’t feel uncomfortable making eye-contact unless there’s something REALLY wrong, although it took years to figure out “they are run-away uncomfortable because of the eye-contact” vs “red ALERT! Back up NOW!” I have been doing the back-away-slowly response a lot more this year, and dropped all objections to the anime style “waves of darkness coming off of a very angry person” means to illustrate a feeling. I haven’t been able to do as much people watching as I’d like, but some of the movement stuff is obvious enough that even I can catch it.

            1. Not in the least. The sort of nightmare, everyone walking on eggshells scenario they’re pushing for won’t end well.

            2. And one is forced to conclude that the side effects are considered well worth it by the progressives.

              I should take some time to look at pictures of pikes, just in case I need to make some…

      2. I found myself not looking at faces at all when people were masked. I looked at elbows. And it was sort of a shocking realization. I must make myself look at faces, normally. Taught to look at faces. With no faces I noticed myself slipping into a very weird place.

    4. *Puts paw to ear* What were you saying? I can’t see your lips, sorry.

      I admit, if it were not for seating charts, I would not be able to tell you who was in my classes last year. Eyes alone are not enough, although after having a few days where I had to do the rubber-ducky teaching routine (I used a stuffed dragon), I realized how much I need a live studio, er, classroom audience. Even one in masks.

      1. That touches on one of my big issues with masks,though from my end it’s more that people have a hard time understanding me when I either have a typical one on or have to keep my flip-up face shield down in settings where I have to use one or the other. Having to decode muffled speech is still a frequent problem, though. *Sigh* When did I get this old?

        1. LOL, between years of running “reefer loads” of frozen product, with a rather less muffled diesel engine running on the trailer, plus years of firearms use, though that’s at least been using hearing protection, I’ve been asking soooo many people to repeat themselves the last two years.

          1. Yeah, especially when it’s a mask combined with the plexiglas shield. Some places have dumped the shields, though not enough, and between nerve damage and a much-repaired middle ear, what comes in the left is ‘orrible, and the right can’t always make up for it. (Same issues on the right, but not as much, and only one repair.)

            I once made the mistake of walking up to the gun range in “hot”, and discovering that the person I passed behind was using his .44 Mag. And my ear-pro was still in the bag. Arggh.

    5. Family interaction is out except over phone. My SIL is 400 miles away, and it goes way up from there. The road trip to visit larger groups of relatives isn’t going to happen, so it’s time for alternatives. I do the weekly shopping and that’s barely enough. ($SPOUSE is more normal than I, but needs a smaller dose of people to keep her balance. She has frequent calls with SIL, so that helps.)

      I had enough issues this year that I didn’t try to search out the Flyover County amateur radio club. (I’m still getting the station together. I need to do antennae and set up another trench, and whatnot.) I just checked, and while the formal(?) meetings are on Zoom (don’t wanna use; Chicom services get me nervous), there’s a weekly informal lunch gathering at a pizzeria in town.

      This is a place I can actually order a gluten free pizza (not to be trendy, but to survive), so some of my market days will shift to Mondays.

      1. I recently moved from an area with a very active local radio club, lots of ‘Elmers’, to one in which there are only a few clubs meeting, and most of them virtually. It’s been very lonely, and has inhibited my efforts to connect with people.
        I’m going to re-double my efforts over the next few months. At present, I have an antenna that is portable, and has to be taken down each day before bedtime. I haven’t set up my radio permanently yet. So, slow going for now.

        1. $TINY_TOWN has a weekly repeater checkin for the CERT people, and a simplex aftergab. My handheld can’t get the repeater (to be fixed with the second radio install), but I know one or more of the participants. I want to buld on that, and get to know the hams in the local city.

          ‘Tis frustrating. I got my E ticket in February (passed all three tests in one go. Whew!), then promptly injured my knee. I want to be set up before snow comes to stay. Maybe…

    6. It’s not even introverts, it’s just Mean Girls of all ages and sexes– some of these folks like socializing, so exercising power over that?

      It’s a rush.

      The thing that will piss them off the most is folks not taking it seriously– shrug and roll with it, like they’re silly little twits.

    7. Something something why can’t introverts just stop being so weird something who doesn’t like being around people all the time? something be more extroverted.

      The shoe pinches now that it’s on the other foot, doesn’t it.

      1. I’ve never said anything like that, ever.

        Extrovert me isn’t the one forcing introverts to go against their nature at gunpoint.

        1. … That was most of your post.

          Extroverts never needed gunpoint, they had social approbation. Because they were the ones who set all the rules for social interaction, because they’re extroverts.

          And I don’t disagree with you that it is a terrible thing to force people to isolate themselves at gunpoint.
          But it’s not the introverts doing that. The introverts are just more accustomed to the circumstances that the … usurpers, I guess… have forced on everyone.

          Your complaints about how this is all so easy for the introverts and such a torment for extroverts are the exact complaints the introverts have had about extroverts, probably since the terms were invented.

          You have identified the wrong target for your ire.

          1. I have two “favorites” along that line. The first is “Introverts are just broken extroverts,” and the other is “You could be an extrovert if you tried.”

            And yes, both of those have been said to me.

            However, saying that this was forced on us by the introverts–I don’t think most of our politicians and medical specialists fit in that category.

  3. The first recorded complaint I know of is in the book of Genesis. “It is not good that the man should be alone”. You are very correct that we need to get out with others. I am lucky my multitude of children drag me from my house to hear other voices. The ones in my head com up with bad ideas at times.

    1. I stop at mom’s regularly. Have been two or three times a week since dad died. When the pandemic started, it was everyday. I’ve backed off since things started opening up, if only because I’ll drive by and her car is gone, or I’m just not out and about. What amazed me is hubby never noticed. Granted he is mostly golfing anyway so why would he. Guess he missed calling me with the “on my way home” when I wasn’t there or planning to stop until now. What he doesn’t understand, is while she is generally busy doing this and that with her various Shriner/Masonic affiliations, ex neighbors, and long term friends from HS, she still lives alone. She has time to think up various conspiracies, like taking away her *drivers license because of her age. Especially after family gatherings. We didn’t even have the whole gang together. But she’s not 100% the center of attention anymore. Couple of things happened yesterday. First youngest granddaughter, with her significant other, not quite fiancee, more or less dominated the day (she and her sisters kind of do that, but they normally include grandma more). Then it was first parental meetings of the not quite fiancee … Grandma felt a little left out (I want to say “welcome to our world” but that will be about as good as “just stay home” mantra).

      * They don’t want her driving up and down I-5 alone when the destination isn’t family. Is she a cautious driver? Yes. I’d rather let her drive than either of my sisters! But that isn’t the point. They don’t want her car breaking down stranding her alone, where there might not be cell coverage. (Note, her neighbor keeps her car running, for discounted part costs, it is a hobby, and he has the equipment at his business.) Well yes. OTOH she’ll die a little each day if she is forced into the isolated corner. No one is going to step up and be the one who takes her everywhere either (including me, unless I’m involved, which most of which I won’t be). The ONE conspiracy she’ll never have is being parked in assisted living, she doesn’t have the money. OTOH there are two bedrooms available in two different houses (we’d make one, but the animals would drive her insane), but no one would force that.

      Me? I’m doing agility with my small dog. Even thinking of doing some official stuff, at least locally where I can drive (even though I could fly with her for free in the cabin). Just to get out of the house where someone will talk to me (group lessons) … Going to the gym or shopping gets me around people but not talking to anyone in general (though I tend to volunteer help when store personnel are the correct people to ask it of instead of me but I know the answer).

      1. We made room for MIL in our home until she got to the point she needed an attendant 24/7 or she’d burn the place down. That was the point we had to find her an assisted living home.

      2. I was doing a chore so $SPOUSE fielded the call from my brother. Looks like it’s time to find a nursing home for Mom. She’s been getting at home care (once a week, officially, more often since Brother’s SO is a certified care giver, so she can help some), but the signs have been present for a while. Hell, at 98 years old, she’s outlasted both of her younger sisters, two husbands, and BILs.

        I thought she was a goner 10 years ago, but she’s been plugging along.

        1. Mom’s not even close. She is perfectly fine. The way she’s going she will outlive her siblings (ages 84 and 75), their spouses (same ages), dad’s surviving siblings (80, 73, and 71), one of their spouse (85), but not the other two spouses (both of which are older than I am, barely, but younger than my husband). Will the day come? Someday. Not immediately.

          1. My father died of his third heart attack at 53, and my stepfather lasted a couple of days in a nursing home. We’ve been prpared to get That Phone Call. The aftermath promises to be unpleasant.

            1. Dad was told he should consider hospice about 18 months before he finally made that call. They figured 4 to 6 months at the outside. He was right at the 6 month mark when he fell one night and mom couldn’t help him up. She called hospice, they had her call non-emergency 911 for assistance to get him up. The next afternoon hospice brought in a hospital bed and set it up in the living room. Dad died that night right before midnight sometime. (We were with him. Nobody, mom, nor my sisters, husband, or son, have ANY medical training beyond first aid. Exact time isn’t known.)

              We aren’t waiting for any specific calls. But wouldn’t surprise me to get one. Even mom. She could take a nap or just not wake up in the morning. Not expecting it. But, she’s 87 …

          2. My 78 year old Mom lost her job a couple months ago. She asked me to by her a push mower to keep busy while finding a new job.

            She starts Monday, so I guess I’m back to mowing again 🙂

  4. Yeah.

    This is basically me.

    Right now I’m getting over an issue with my allergies, that made things a bit worse. Somehow it was sealing enough pressure into one ear that the pain was stopping me from working, and some of my social interaction is talking through my work with people.

    And I’m normally running the edge of a deficit with my level of social interaction.

    So, not talking enough to people, and was a bit into depression from the pain and lack of work done.

    I’ve been taking a bit more allergy meds, and am coming out a bit.

    Probably still depressed some, but I may just need to avoid fading out into distraction, keep on with the self care, etc.

    Little bit frustrated. Bored with doing little beyond self care, and a bit reluctant to tackle anything interesting.

  5. This! The Reader however misses small jazz concerts quite a bit.

    As to the driving thing, since the Reader retired, his better half has been doing less and less driving. As with you, she seems to be forgetting her driving skills.

        1. Drove the interstate Wednesday – seemed less busy than in years past. But the line from S Salem to just past Cottage Grove was still as stultifying as ever.

          1. We take the Beltline West exit … S. Salem that far we know how it narrows down … Get in line and wait. Used to drive to Drain exit regularly, now we generally only do that in May. Off hwy 99 between Drain and Yoncolla.

  6. Re: masks, there is a tiny itsy bitsy advantage, in that the Karens of this world are somewhat blocked from seeing my full expression. But honestly, humans are pretty good at reading eyes, and the Karens of this world are well aware that they are annoying others. So I do try to maintain facial discipline at work, during forced masking. (And not to mumble things under my breath, lest I eventually say them out loud.)

    But overall, masks are horrible and uncomfortable, and they make it hard to breathe, and they make it hard to live. And making little kids wear masks is even more wrong than making adults wear masks.

    1. I see a therapist, and this year it’s been necessary enough for me to put up with mask crap. For some reason they slapped the requirement back on the last time I was in there, and the wave of utter black-out-the-vision *fury* I felt just about knocked me off my feet.

      Every time since 2020 that I’ve had to put one on, my subconscious starts screaming at me that I’m playing into the hands of someone who hates me. And I’m in complete agreement, just with a lack of anywhere to plant my feet. Limbo is not my favorite place to be.

  7. Hum, hum, HUM, hum. You dished me, as one introvert, a lot of food for thought, so let’s not talk.

    When not alone reading, bush walking, painting forging, casting, etc., I prefer one on one conversations, exchanges. My second choice, as an experienced, practicing introvert is a large crowded party; no need to talk, unless it’s interesting and plenty of ways to separate the meet from the gaff. Not much of that around these days.

    Oh well, I better get on with my it must be Friday mad social whirl; drive out to the post office, nod a few hellos, grunt a greeting or two and drive back home.

  8. It drove me nuts not to be able to get out to the library. (And the library decided to shut down and remodel for two weeks, so I’m going nuts again.) Most companies are still requiring employees to be masked, why I do not know, which means talking to even a cashier is fraught and not enough interaction. But I was coping, until….

    Well. Roommate is apparently now terrified of going into groups of people. Gets the shakes even going to the grocery store. Meaning Roommate is not going out and interacting with other people. Almost at all. And expecting me to be all necessary social stimulation.

    It’s… affecting my writing. Badly. I can’t concentrate, and when I can concentrate I’m fighting like mad just to reach neutral emotional state. The black dog would be preferable; ATM I’m camped on that slippery slope around the pit where nothing even sparks interest.

    Put that together with this time of year – I have a whole host of Bad Things Happened that bubble up at this time of year – and even in beading nothing seems to want to work… I’m not doing so good.

    Going to be looking for work not just for monetary reasons, but so I have a good reason to be out and about elsewhere.

      1. *Rueful* I may have to spend some time headdesking about it, though. Every time I get a problem in my life fixed, seems like 3 more crop up.

        Right now emotional part of brain is, “Need to write before I go crazy!”

        Writing part of brain: “We got nothin’. Not even worldbuilding post inspiration.”

          1. Did tulips. Dug up the entire front bed. Realigned the bulbs (you’ve gotta love the rank and files.) Mixed in the daffodils (deer repellant, otherwise, no tulips.) Recovered the bed.

        1. Come join us at More Odds Than Ends for weekly prompt writing. That’s what’s kept me writing something when I’m stuck and not feeling it with book #3.

    1. Been feeling a bit apathetic like you described on and off myself and I’m not a Holidays person either, though I’m guessing your bad memories are probably a lot worse than mine. Not sure how much help I can be but I’m here if you need to vent and good luck with all of that regardless!

    2. I bead (seed beads even!) if swapping the topic to little shiny items will help your mood. Hit me up at trufox at the positively charged mail.

      Back to waiting on my delica delivery…

        1. I love tubular peyote – one of my favorite patterns is a teeny tiny amulet bag made with that stitch. For longer pieces, herringbone/Ndebele makes me happy – you can make some truly gorgeous rope necklaces with a herringbone pattern.

  9. The first time church met after four months . . . The first chorus rehearsal . . . the first real live-music performance . . . There were tears. Sometimes mine, other times the audience. We humans need people, even those of us who don’t always like to people.

      1. My brother was freaking out over the latest variant. He tends to get most of his news from Lamestream media (Fox, I gather, isn’t much better than the alphabet nets), so he getting the pure fear ratio.

        $SPOUSE and I? Oh well, another variant. I wonder what Despicable Kate’s going to try next?

        1. $SPOUSE and I? Oh well, another variant. I wonder what Despicable Kate’s going to try next?

          You too?

          Along with a health dose of “Really? This is a surprise?” Regarding HRM Slime Kate, I really, really, do not want to know.

          FOX has at least stated that it isn’t an epidemic and hasn’t been for a long time. It is Endemic and is not going away anymore than the Flu is.

          OTOH mom probably isn’t going on her big trip this spring. I am guessing it will be cancelled. Would be her last group trip overseas.

          1. Same. It’s another time to set the boot down on people – and Maxwell’s trial starts soon, so must distract the odds from paying attention (the ones who pay attention to things like that) and give another booster of fear to the normals.

            Feck, I need a drink.

            1. The last I saw, the judge was doing everything possible to keep Randy Andy and Slick Willy Clinton out of the mentions in the trial. I don’t know if it will be interesting or no. The wildest trial I can recall was post 1968, with the Chicago 8 7 up for their shenanigans, and the defense liars looking at contempt charges too.

              I pay attention to @Guild and @NeonRevolt on Gab. There should be links to non-SQUIRREL coverage through them.

        2. My refrain fro most news is going back to a trope.

          “This common everyday activity will kill you, check our news broadcast in (two, four, ten) hours to find out what it is!”

          Either it’s a true threat, and they’re monsters for allowing the deaths that will inevitably occur in the following hours, or they’re at best exaggerating, if not lying, about the threat.

          Every news broadcast does it, to some degree or another, so it’s easy to determine all they’re looking for is eyeballs and ears, with little if any fact involved. Babylon Bee seems the best source these days, as the universe keeps telling them to hold it’s beer.

  10. My husband started suffering from that very quickly. He never did much “out”, except go to the office daily. But when that got taken away (he’s STILL working from home) his ability to cope was shot all to hell. He’s now on antidepressants, but still struggling to leave the house at all. I’ve started insisting that he do some of the errands, to make him get out more, but its going to be a slow slow slog.

    I can’t be his sole human contact. For my own mental health. I’m an extroverted introvert. I worked straight through this whole mess face to face with the public. The masks make it worse. And I come home daily burnt all to hell barely able to stand myself never mind being able to human for someone else. To top it off I just found out that I’ve been walking around for at least 2 months with a partially torn achilles. I’m dreading being put on crutches (the earliest I could get in to see the ortho is next week). I don’t want to try to work on crutches, and I know damn well that if they take me out of work it’ll be worse, so work it is.

    1. I spent a year and a half working at a grocery store during this. I quit in June. I didn’t realize how burnt out I got from everything until I had the chance to step away. I spent days driving and just…staring at the scenery. And I’ve been at least one person’s only in person social interaction for almost 2 years now. In his defense, there’s not anywhere for him to go that he could get to without a ride because he doesn’t drive and they won’t let him on the bus without a mask.

    2. Dang, that sucks.

      I was going down the same road as your husband, and it wasn’t awesome. I can’t even imagine the ball of depression and stress that I’d be right now if my workplace hadn’t gone back to in-person work 6 months ago. Didn’t realize how much I needed that “get out of the house and interact with other people” time until I went without it for a year.

      1. Dan and I love working from home, and having lunch together, and taking a walk at lunch, and on dreary days or when we’re not feeling well, napping together. BUT we NEED to have a day of going out and mingling with other people a week: going to a lecture, meeting friends, whatever.
        Fortunately we have friends nearby, and I’m planning on a wrriters’ meeting.
        For now, a friend sometimes drops by for coffee, and I’m hoping to entice and acquaintance I hope will become a friend to randomly drop by as well. ;D

        1. I need to get more purposeful about doing things like that. The big weakness of hardcore introverts is that because we don’t need a whole lot of human contact, we tend not to have a deep bench, so to speak.

          It’s easy to just forget to cultivate friends. And then something takes away that one avenue of interaction you relied on, or a couple of people move away or just go out of town at the wrong time, and you’ve got nobody you can rely on.

  11. My husband barely goes out since he started working from home.

    We had shutdown mid-March, but ballet studio reopened for lessons in May and all classes in June. The rock people and the home schoolers are tough, ornery oddballs. The Masonic organizations are sucking it up and getting back to normal . . . ish. (From pandemic? what pandemic? to Vaccines work fine and everyone got one who wants one. to Masks dangit! But in person at this point.)

    Church is still weird. I suppose it’s going to stay that way. Suicidal or something.

    1. Our priest’s mom is still alive, and apparently his (personal and thus not spread…unless you ASK) views on the Masking Situation came in part from her. Short version, the demands for the youth groups to mask are gone. That said, he’s a good priest, and the Bishop ordered the folks giving communion wear masks. (I’m not sure if he figured out that ordering the Usher do so would get Irish rebellion or what, and at this point I’m going to just be grateful for a sensible choice.)
      That masking order I can actually agree with, because mentally abused people being driven from the sacraments is bad, and ~3-5 minutes of at most three people is very unlikely to cause harm; it doesn’t matter if I’m still mad about fear being used to justify driving everyone who can’t mask away, it’s better *now* and the

      His mom made him masks that match that Sunday’s vestments. Which just happen to also make sure he can breath because of the very stiff cloth, it’s almost more of a mouth-shield of embroidered shiny fabric, but oh my gosh it was as awesome as the guy I saw cosplaying a cowboy in a Masks Required store. 😀

      1. I’ve did the cowboy cosplay thing when masks were required at the grocery store. As long as a bandanna counted as a mask (seriously?!? it barely keeps dust out), add cowboy hat, boots and duster. It got a number of double-takes and some laughs. A couple of people stopped to chat. I got to use the line, “all hat, no cattle.” I haven’t seen, let alone ridden, a horse in 30 years.

        1. I never giggled so much at one of these “face coverings are mandatory!” venues as I did, when I spotted a woman in a very nice business suit … with a belly-dancer’s spangled veil over her nose and mouth, at an upscale market in the a**hole yuppie part of town.

          1. You should get a load of my Medieval Plague Mask. 😀

            That was my Halloween outfit for handing out candy bars: black leather coat, Plague Mask, and the wide-brimmed hat from a V For Vendetta costume.

    2. Your pastor may be in the, “to mask is a visible sign of compassion and caring camp,” plus the, “we must be good examples,” camp.

      1. It may be a visible sign of compassion, but…my compassion falters when my O2 saturation levels drop to “OMG–get her into the hospital on oxygen support!” levels…as they have done since I caught the crap more than a year ago, five years after a bad bout of pneumonia. I’m pretty sure I took damage.

        My sympathy for others ends where their unreasoning terror starts demanding I hurt myself for their sake.

        1. My moms have enough damage from mask-caused pneumonia that a doctor identified she’d had a bad case of pneumonia, so it’s quite likely, and that was “just” walking pneumonia.

          Back in one of the “Washington is on fire” years.

          I’ve noticed the “it’s compassion” folks are notably lacking in compassion when it comes to asthma attacks, panic attacks, or a lady carrying a baby having her knees go out because she really does not do well with high levels of CO2. (Everyone turned out fine.)

          1. The “it’s compassion” and “it’s just common courtesy” claims really make my blood boil. No, it’s not. Emotional blackmail on a massive scale is what it is.

            That said, doing some shopping on Wednesday for the Thanksgiving dinner, I saw probably a dozen people in ones and twos not wearing masks. Not worn below the nose, not an “I have to pretend I’m wearing this” chinstrap…just people being perfectly normal with no mask at all. I’m not the only one anymore! I wanted to go up and high-five every one of them.

            1. Iowa here, so it’s either a doctor’s office or at-will with signs of various levels of take-us-serious requesting that people who are not vaccinated mask.

              Menards goes hard core on the emotional blackmail with “do the right thing”– I know what the right thing is, which is why I didn’t shop there at any point they required masks– while the other stores range down from there, to sign with small lettering saying please mask if unvaccinated, to no signs at all.

              Maybe one in a dozen folks masked, although it’s horrifying how many are kids.

              I took my entire pack into Costco the other day to pick up hotdogs, nobody so much as looked twice, and that was before they decided kids can get the shot.

              1. Completely agree. Emotional blackmail and weaponized niceness (I love that term, thank you for it).
                But some people just buy into it. I’m thinking of the 70ish woman I met in October at the fiber fair. Triple vaxxed
                and wearing a mask, “to be considerate,” and “set a good example.” When Imsaid, “So it’s a social signal,” she agreed.
                She did get stiff when I added people in a mass hysteria aren’t aware of it. At that point she ended the conversation and walked away.

            2. I’m pretty sure those attitudes were driving so much of the voluntary masking down here a few months ago, which have only just now started to recede. Now with the new variant fearmongering going on who knows how long it’s going to take before it climbs back up though, just like it was when we were all going to die of Delta. *Sigh* Glad you’re less alone where you are now, too, though!

            3. “The “it’s compassion” and “it’s just common courtesy” claims really make my blood boil. No, it’s not. Emotional blackmail on a massive scale is what it is.”

              That’s the ukase of the spots on my local public radio (the classical channel!) and I am infuriated, every time I hear one of them. I’m so furious at them (and I used to work there, part-time, as well as pledge!) that I want to ask for the return of every pledge I ever made.

  12. Yes, we did miss the simple human interaction of seeing people’s entire faces. That, I think, was the cruelest thing about mask mandates, and even crueler, to do it to children. Small children, who need the social cues, who NEED to see people’s entire face … bleah. My daughter and I hate-hate-hate with the energy of a thousand burning suns to see the wretched face diapers on small children. It doesn’t do any good! I want to cry! But I don’t – my name is not Karen and I don’t want to see your manager.
    It didn’t make a difference to my daughter and myself early on – we worked very happily at home on various projects after the isolation mandates, just as we did before. In Texas, they didn’t go all Nazi about staying in your house, so we met plenty of our neighbors, on daily walks with the dogs, always thanking providence that Gov. Abbott wasn’t one of those authoritarian freaks… (although I do have doubts about our city government…)
    We were at the city zoo last weekend – free entry for veterans, service members and most people were not wearing masks. I think there is a sort of gentlemen’s agreement here in Texas, or at least in the most civilized parts of it – not to give other people grief about masks or the absence thereof. Which is refreshing, in a way…

    1. Regardless of state mandates over masking, a lot of customers tend not to mask, and the county is largely a Karen-free zone. We try to be the civilized part of the state. [grin]

    2. Up here it’s mask and let mask. If you want to, fine. If you don’t fine. No one makes a fuss either way, aside from some doctors’ offices and one medical place that had me shaking my head. (They said their little paper mask was “better” than the heavy-duty double-thick monster I was already wearing.)

      1. The medical offices (modulo dental) seem to be the only ones taking the Oregon mask mandate seriously. It almost makes sense. I need to make sure my satchel has a supply of face diapers. Might be an interesting (but not overly serious–I hope) week.

  13. I feel so validated. It’s like you went inside my head, read the walls and came back out and told everybody.

    I go grocery shopping almost every day for the sole reason of making myself go out into a public I’d rather not go out into. I’m the only one with a free face, usually, and it’s disturbing to see half faced monsters.

    I hate this.

    It’s one reason I’m making the move to East Tennessee, by hook, crook, or however I can get there. I’ve got to give myself at least a chance at being sociable, and up here in the heart of communist darkness it’s not going to happen. These people will muzzle forever.

    1. Kathy, you, and everyone else who is chafing under the totalitarians, are welcome here in east TN! Our church never closed, not one Sunday. If folks wanted to wear masks they weren’t looked askance, but no one was required to (and I know know of one young woman who does occasionally). We routinely shake hands, and have other normal social contact.

      Many of us haven’t bothered with masks for a long time, no matter what the signs at some of the stores say (we figure they’re just CYA anyway). My wife Ruby and I are going to a couple of concerts up in Knoxville next week, seeing Home Free at the Tennessee Theater on Thursday and Larkin Poe at the Bijou on Saturday.

      Folks, the only way you’re gonna get out from under the thumbs of the authoritarians is to refuse to comply. We Volunteers here in TN have the contrary bone deep inside, it comes natural for us. Come on down!

    2. Hope that part of the South works out for you! Not sure how my part of it is going to go but knowing the stupidity down here I figure a regional change of my own is in order. Good luck in any case! 🙂

  14. Somewhat introverted myself, but it was always nice before the Dumb Doom Flu to be able to go out there and mingle with people when I chose to. Anytime I try this now, there this damn mask between me and them and I can’t stand it.

  15. Well. As I consider the scars and bruises from so many of my interactions with others, I think It’s a wonder I have any social skills at all.. I tolerate public company, but I have little reason to love it.

  16. Yeah. Working entirely remotely has been odd. I do miss the lunches with the old experts, but with corporate still stuck on double masks, and most people working remotely, it’s hard to justify an hour or so on the road every day, and dealing with the cafeteria lunches, price and notrition. Plus learning corporate would happily shovel anyone into the furnace if it means they can get their end of year contracts signed, I need social contact, but I don’t think that’s where I even want to get it from any more.

    A lot of masks came off, and what was underneath was ugly.

  17. I’ve been partially isolated since 2001 and still the lockdown made me even more introverted. At least I would go to dinner once in awhile. Now– I don’t have the oomph for anything. Only doctors get me out of the apartment.

              1. Hunt moles in the neighbor’s yard, dig up a mole in the neighbor’s yard, toss the mole in the air repeatedly…he was socialized by a cat.

            1. 67 pound Catahoula, 13 years old, inherited from owner who never leash-trained him, never socialized him with any other animals or people, whose opinion on “no, don’t eat that” is gobble it faster, and who believes the response to a yank on the leash is not “oh, right, go that way”, but “I’ll show them and yank harder back.”

              At angles, usually. Along with the stops and starts on a dime, lunging different directions. My knees hate me on a daily basis.

                1. Inlaws malamute. We used to watch Tasha and her “pup” Kodiak (by then almost 5). Kodi was fine on or off leash. But Tasha was impossible. Especially since she was extremely dog reactive and went for the kill of any female dog regardless of size, or any small dog regardless of gender. Finally since I wasn’t working was determined to work with her. Program “Heeling Free” which I’d worked my German Shepard with, by then for 4 years. Part of the process was to just move in your wanted direction regardless of whether she wanted to go or not. Oh it gets better. When she lunged at something, go the opposite direction. At this time, I weighed 135#’s, maybe, with wet clothing. She weighed about 125#’s … When we both picked ourselves up off the grass … and the cats were done laughing … I never tried to walk her by myself. But she was better for hubby when we took her for walks. Other than the dog reactivity Tasha was a sweet heart. Our cats regularly slept on her, and Kodi. We’d have them about 3 weeks out of the year. Not like the cats were around her any other time.

                1. The kids end up talking with anyone who walks past our camp site with a dog (opening line: “CAN WE PET YOUR DOG?” kid-yelled from like ten feet away, because they’re not COMPLETELY feral) and I think they’ve actually learned what five or six different folks told them– big dogs, you *must* teach, while they’re still small enough to be made to learn.

                  The best one of those was a dog that was half Himalayan something or other, VERY well behaved especially for being four months old…walked by a lady that makes me look like a linebacker. 😀

                  There were only a few folks who hadn’t thought about the whole “strong enough to train the dog” thing *before* the dog went from “little and cute” to “dragging me for a walk”…..

                  1. hadn’t thought about the whole “strong enough to train the dog” thing *before* the dog went from “little and cute” to “dragging me for a walk”…..


                    Scroll down where it mentions Pack Walks. I’ve seen pups brought and carried in *packs, or put into deep **wagons, to go on pack walks when they haven’t had the needed vaccinations yet. (Locally Parvo is a real concern. Don’t take your not vaccinated puppy where other dogs have walked.)

                    * Basset puppy
                    ** St Bernard, Newfoundland, Great Dane, puppies.

                    Then we’ve watched Great Dane 6 month old puppies do the “I wanna play with the other doggies and not pay attention to you” over the head dance. Or “Hang on mom. We’re playing!” drag, the Newfoundland 6 month old puppy.

                    Hey. Not like Pepper didn’t try all this when we started with the group, as an pup and adolescent. Even if the solution was sometimes to pick her up, the point was, “nope, not playing, no matter what.” The difference? She’s only 20#s now, and she’s 5#s overweight. The pups above outsized, and out weighed, her at 2 months!

                    While the above Pack Walk with Darla helps dogs at any age. It sure is easier to start the big dogs the smaller and younger they are. They need to know, absolutely know without a doubt you are in charge, you are stronger, and smarter, than they are.

                    1. I am going to write this down and stick it in the camper to offer to folks, because good heavens do some of them need the hand– how would you like to be casually described?
                      My go-to default is “this nice older lady I know” even when someone is maybe a week older, because then people have it in their head that I’m talking about 95-pounds-soaking-wet grandmother with a bad hip or whatever makes it emotionally acceptable for them to actually go LOOK. If I know a woman is younger than me, it becomes “this little gal I know,” similar line of reasoning, with ‘little’ being a familiar indicator, rather than size.

                  2. We gave a home to Benjy, a lovely Catahoula-hound mix, who was dumped in our neighborhood a year ago: he looked like my childhood dog, a big yellow hound type, with meltingly-adoring brown eyes. He adores Little Jamie, and all small children, which is one of the reasons that we adopted him in the first place … but Benji began to lunge at joggers, at pickup trucks towing trailers, at big vans and at the garbage trucks, and at a selection of other neighborhood dogs to whom he had taken a dislike. Benji weighs 75+pounds, and is strong, and pulled me over at least once. We couldn’t continue with the daily walk turning into a wrestling match, or for me to risk a broken bone or two … so we asked for and got a shock collar from Amazon Vine. We think that his initial owner must have used a shock collar – because he remembered and responded almost at once. Within a couple of days, all we had to do was to command “Behave!” and show him the remote unit. He’s been as good as gold on walkies, ever since his refresher training.

                    1. The link I used for Connection with K9s trainer is a Balanced Trainer. She definitely will recommend StarMark Martingales Collar and Shock Collars, where and when needed. I did have the shock collar, small dog version, for Pepper, but ultimately it was too much for Pepper. Didn’t need it for on leash walks, but for off leash reminders. Ultimately she isn’t off leash enough (ever outside the backyard or agility ring and she can’t have it on for the latter) to warrant usage especially when she all but shuts down if I had to use it. Minded. But shutting down wasn’t the goal. I do use a Flat Martingale collar, but only because a regular collar can and has slipped off her if she panics. More casual “safe” locations she is on her harness, which she wears for two reasons anyway (car clip in, and marked as service dog). When she is leash clipped to the martingale collar she knows it is business with or without her service dog vest on. I donated the shock collar back to Darla to either gift it to someone else who really needed it, or resell it for funds for her rescue (brand she recommended and now actually sells).

  18. I have a couple of friends who were borderline before the lockdowns. Now both are psychologically incapable of leaving their homes without having full blown violent panic attacks. If it wasn’t for their saintly wives, they’d have starved to death before going outside.

  19. (And the people who came here and bald faced told me that’s because the people in the Diamond Princess had the best possible medical care –…. on a cruise ship, i.e. the kind of environment where people routinely get killed by common viruses, cruise ships being sort of floating, fun virus buckets where isolation is impossible — can go and multiply with themselves.)

    Those folks just BOGGLE me– it’s right up there with “masks worked for the Spanish Flu, you’re being crazy like the anti-mask groups back then!”
    The publicly available evidence showed exactly the opposite..

    What on earth?!?!

  20. Hikikomori, by the way.

    That’s the term for the Japanese version of this:
    Here’s the problem: For introverts, excuses to hide and crawl in a hole, and stay by ourselves are like drowning in chocolate. You go from “Oh, this is fine. This is great.” to “I never want to leave this, though I know I should” to …. well, a state you can’t escape. By the time you’re aware it’s killing you, it will be too late to do anything about it.

    1. Interestingly, because Japan never fully locked down, there probably hasn’t been an increase in that here.

      I mean every one wears a mask all the time (except when eating because eating is a magic cure to spreading the wuflu) and usually badly. But people have always been going out a bit. And now people are going out more because we can all look at the charts and see that some combination of vaccines / ivermectin / cleanliness / soshiaru distansu / general healthiness means that Japan has effectively no wuflu (I think we’re at about 100 new cases a day = 1 in a million and under 10 (usually 1 or 2) deaths a day).

      In fact there are tour buses and plans are being made by many (including the wife & I) for proper end of year parties with karaoke and drunken debauchery and so on. The parties may be more and wilder to make up for the lack of them last year.

      1. I rolled my eyes some the last time we watched NHK– I think it was Thanksgiving, actually– and they were talking about it being unchanged at like 67 cases, which…. argh.

        ….oh, [badwordshere]. Was looking for the data for Iowa, since Japan has 40 times more people in three times the space it would be a perspective example, and thought of something.
        I just realized that somebody who is hospitalized after the COVID shot is very likely to be classified as an unvaccinated person, since it needs to be 14 days after the last vaccine for it to ‘count’. (Also a notable lack of data on how vaccination status is determined so absolutely, unless “no information” is listed as “unvaccinated”– they don’t have the AGE on some of these!)

        1. The statistics in much of the US have been (I suspect deliberately) very poor in quality.

          I mostly trust the UK stats because the UK Stats agency has been quite upfront about definitions and coverage.

          For example they’ve been counting deaths in two separate graphs. One is deaths within N days of a positive test and a second is mentioned on death cert. And they published the UK long term death rates which imply a higher death rate for 10-59s that are vaccinated vs not.

          1. There are too many bad state directives and perverse incentives involved to get good statistics in the US. A researcher friend knows researchers trying to look into it, and there is so little consistency that the best they could do is say (paraphrasing) that based upon the samples they’ve looked at so far the actual deaths are far lower than the official stats, but they would need to review all the “COVID deaths” to get real numbers. I brought up the case of Oakland County, California revising their stats downward by 25% and my friend said (paraphrasing) 25% downwards likely doesn’t even begin to cover it.

            1. Working in a large bureaucracy, I can attest that often statistics only make sense to the person who compiles them because there are so many assumptions, filled gaps, and extrapolations that it’s impossible to use them. That’s if you even have good data to begin with…

        2. It’s not just us ATH people that don’t want to go out. The UK Spectator has an article this week about the UK becoming “a nation of hermits”

          https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/has-covid-turned-us-into-a-nation-of-hermits (archive https://archive.md/hWxKZ )

          Lots of interesting stuff including

          It’s always been a hassle to go out, especially when it’s dark or raining, or when your friends want to meet in Notting Hill. Who doesn’t have an inner voice that says stay in, watch TV, let the baked beans tumble quiet-ly down your jumper?

          What’s different, post-lockdown, isn’t the existence of that inner voice, but the fact we’ve started listening to it. Where once we might have groaned but got up to go, now we slowly sit back down: yes, inner voice, it is cold outside; yes, I do deserve a little rest. My theory is that during lockdown, in the absence of conversation and cognitive dissonance, we devolved power to our lizard brains, the impulsive, pre-rational, primitive part that prioritises comfort.

          1. While there’s the “just hide at home” impulse from folks getting out of the habit of socializing, I suspect it has more to do with realizing how many of the social circles were freaking poison, which would also explain the demands for socializing to be as unpleasant as possible– hides how many folks flatly don’t need to bow to the prior queen bees.

            This broke the habit of going out.

            Some of us didn’t need it broken.

            Some folks really, really did.

        3. And they are also not counting it as a “reaction” if it’s more than a week out from the vaccination. So they can pick and choose what they want to count, and in which direction.

      2. I just got back from working a renaissance faire in Florida (bless you, Florida!). The organizers were utterly blown away by the crowds, the vendors were happy, and every single pub-runner I saw floated out on a cloud of small bills and glee. I can only hope that the sanity spreads.

  21. The more I read here the more I realize how very lucky we’ve been. Going out on projects (last year we managed, but we didn’t go where we’d planned, we went where the work was) meant we got three-week periods of working with teams. This year in addition to the team projects, some museums were open, and very few places required masks. The only place that really made a point of it was in western North Carolina and I suspect that was a matter of, “Protecting from lawsuits.”
    And in the winter, we’re in a tax office. You just can’t be solitary in a tax office.
    I’m still angry and upset, but at least we have outlets. So far.
    BTW, the WHO has designated the latest official variant, “omicron,” skipping “nu” and “xi.” Gee, I wonder why.
    And here I wanted to be able to ask if the latest variant was, “nu and improved.”

  22. I dislike going out these days because MASK MASK MASK MASK. Even when masking is not edict-required on pain of jackbooted thugs, there are too many mask-lizards. It makes me angry, and I know the reason for my anger is a feeling of helplessness. When I go out I feel all alone against a population of Karens.

    1. There are only a few Karens. The rest are sheeple, blending in with the flock. If most of the flock wear stupid useless masks, they feel out of place without one.

      Here in Southern Kalifornia it’s about 90% sheeple. I see masks everywhere. They wear masks in their cars, alone. Kids riding skateboards with masks. They cross the street to avoid me because I’m not wearing one.
      Ma Lemming: “If all your friends jumped off a cliff into the sea would you…oh…um…nevermind.”

    2. I suspect most people would be happy without them. I’m seeing a lot of mask-cheaters where I live. Some of them are clearly abusing loopholes, others are vocal anti-maskers. There’s even an establishment which has a sign saying they need vaccine proof to enter . . . but never check it. Most of this “compliance” is surface-level at best.

      1. I think a lot of signs went up because regulators, insurance companies, and distant management required them, and then were promptly ignored by everyone. I see the owners and managers at lots of franchised establishments with “mask required” signs maskless and not saying a word to anybody entering without a mask.

        1. Like everything Our Betters do, mask mandates are tools for selective enforcement against the wrong sort. Those businesses / people are now at the mercy of any Karen / bureaucrat that wants to screw them over for real or perceived slights, including supporting the wrong political party. And imagine the treat managing them must be.

      2. We went up to a northwestern part of Philly yesterday. It’s so far out of the city that most people not living here don’t realize it’s still a part of the city. The city has an indoor mask mandate. Up there, that was not followed at all. Because the city hall pols don’t get up there and that end of the city does not consider themselves to be Philly. It was a nice realization.

    3. Same here. I hate going out into Clown World. But a couple days ago, there were about a dozen other people not wearing masks in Walmart, and I felt just a little less alone and wanted to cheer.

  23. Because I am very old the title immediately brought this little ditty to mind.
    From the inimitable Smothers Brothers, instructions on what to do if you fall into a vat of chocolate.

    1. I think you and I must be kindred spirits. My comment on this was going to be something about how, if one does now and then catch us anti-maskers exaggerating the dangers of the current plight, well, a pair of leftist icons have already made our excuse for us: we yell “Fire!” ’cause no-one would save us if we yelled “Chocolate!” (Lolly-doo-dum, lolly-doo-dum-day…)

    2. Well done, Sir!
      I’ve lurked through this entire thread expecting that clip from someone, and prepared to provide it if necessary.
      Was definitely my first thought.
      Lots of good second, third, and nineteenth thoughts to consider as well.
      What else is Nu?

  24. I have thought up a new troll.

    “You’ve got to admit, Biden has more forthrightly pursued the Democrat agenda than has any Democrat President since Jefferson Davis.”

    Say it to a Democrat, and see what happens.

    At worst, you segue into “Biden puts little effort into concealing his evil”, and “destruction of the United States of America”, etc.

  25. If I hadn’t seen the news, and had to do the mask thing when going out… my life literally would not have known the difference, other than being mildly annoyed by the extra warm bodies in my local Walmart. I’ve preferred being mostly by myself since I was a little kid, and have often gone a month or more without seeing or speaking to anyone. And where I live now… once the road ices up, I’ll cheerfully stay home til it clears off, which might be a couple months.

    I can be social on demand, and normal humans seem to think I’m socially desirable (ie. normal enough by their lights) but it wears me out. One hour in the company of others needs three hours to recover. In an earlier era, I’d have been one of those hermits out in the wilderness.

  26. My need for social interaction can be defined as this-
    Don’t need people.
    Don’t need people.
    Don’t need people.

    I’m the guy that has a monthly note in his phone to say hello to my friends. Because I did forget to check with one girl I was going out for a concert and dinner afterwards and remembered…two weeks later.

    (I think I dodged a bullet there. That she didn’t follow up when I was running late, despite picking the date out with her…)

    This has not been a good eighteen months/two years for me. I miss conventions. I miss good cosplay. I miss (kind of) my job. I miss the few points of sanity in my world. Hell, I miss not having my face ground into the belt sander of (CURRENT YEAR) entertainment culture. Or watching gay gynoid Anderson Cooper try to emote on cue.

    For this Thanksgiving, I am grateful that my life isn’t in a disastrous situation. A number of my friends are-and a few of them are due to their own actions.

    I’m just not happy with how the rest of the world is handling things. And, I really want idiots to stop being stupid and let us get out and do things.

  27. I’m somewhat introverted-ish, I can take groups of people in small-ish doses (bigger group == smaller dose before I have to step away.) I’ve been work from home since March 2020, the wife generally handles the groceries, so for a LARGE part of 2020 my only face-to-face human contact was the wife.
    Sure, I’d get out and pick up to-go food once or twice a week, but even that contact was largely limited to a brief interchange with the waitstaffer who brought it out to the car (usually someone we knew from the restaurant in question,) but it was OTHER people.
    Now I’m almost to the point of Gossamer from the Bugs Bunny cartoon…

    Not QUITE yet, and I’m endeavoring to get out more than a couple times a week, but it still takes a bit of effort.

    As for the car thing, decided a month ago to part with our second car (my car) to save some $$$. It’d been mostly a garage queen for the last 19 months (geez, it’s been that long) and we got a great offer for it. So my driving skills have gotten a bit, rusty, shall we say.

    If / when (when, I’m sure) we start going back into the office every week, even if it’s only a day or two instead of a full work week, it’s going to be a bit of a hit to the system to be around people like that for 8-10hrs. Worse, of course, if we’re still under the FICUS mandate requiring masks on all people at all times on Fed property…

  28. On a happier note, the local mall was packed today. Not quite up to “parking lot vulture,” status (you trail through the parking lot until you see someone preparing to pull out and camp behind him so you can scarf up the slot), but close. I haven’t seen it that busy in years.

    1. Costco and Fred Meyers (Kroger) have been in full “Parking Stalking” mode since weekend before Thanksgiving … People are starting to park across the street. Which frustrates the stalkers 🙂 Which is funny. You’ll see a car zone in on someone obviously walking back to their car and start stalking. When the stalker sees them head for the street … priceless. I’ll be one of them parking across the street Saturday. Pepper has a grooming appointment Saturday. So I’ll park slightly further out from Petsmart, which is across the street from Costco, drop her off, and walk to shop at Costco …

  29. There is both good advice and comfort in the Bible…

    Hebrews 10:24-25

    And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

    Psalm 91:5-10

    You will not fear the terror of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
    nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

    A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
    You will only look with your eyes
    and see the recompense of the wicked.

    Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
    the Most High, who is my refuge[b]—
    no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
    no plague come near your tent.

      1. Blah, blah, blah, stigmatization of mental illness.


        Yeah, I’m also a bit terrified about mental illness.

        XEnophobia is a rational response to plague issues. Trade only makes sense when you are not eating a huge cost from the resulting disease.

        Likewise, “leave them be, they aren’t hurting anyone any” only makes sense where they aren’t hurting anyone, where there is enough consensus on harm, and on not harming, that even a very ill person can avoid causing harm. Also on a certain amount of margin for society.

        This has been very bad for the mental health of everyone.

        Harm is being done, and the margin is decreasing.

        There is always a back up answer to the harm being done in a society by mentally ill. “That is why the Good Lord gave us ice floes.”

        Issue is, with so much insanity, and so little consensus, implementation of ice floes would very much not be neat and contained.

        PS Bob is still having a little bit of a difficult time. He is rather frustrated at not being entirely better from some physical issues, and free to concentrate. He would appreciate if no one makes the ‘bob is making too much sense’ joke today.

        1. When you started making sense, I realized why Sarah was forgiving your less sane comments. I rather like ‘sensible’ Bob, and am always glad to hear from him.

    1. Been getting refreshment on Zoom since the gets. Will probably continue after things open up, because my 1.50 meter tall wife has an understandably hard time getting my wheelchair up the ramp where our congregation meets.

  30. “I’m not scared of the plague. I’m scared of the mental illness.”

    Can we get that on a t-shirt?

    1. Also,

      “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”

      – Marcus Aurelius

  31. This post makes me think of Jordan Peterson. We need other people to give us feedback on ourselves. You don’t quite get the reaction you expect from others and you correct and adjust. But if you aren’t around other people you wind up way off track. If you get too far it’s too hard or you’re just lost and can’t find your way.

    Add that to everyone else being off their own track and it can be a mess.

  32. You think you like being alone. But we’re all susceptible to too much of what we enjoy.

    I don’t know…before this I think concern for the cats living in woods is all that kept me from looking to build that off grid cabin somewhere it snows.

    Having mostly given up on writing, the last big reason to be on grid, and seeing how nuts people are willing to be risking it, even taking risks with cats, is more and more appealing.

    Especially as more and more of the social I liked seems gone for food.

  33. This whole thing really did create a mess, huh? Personally, I was too horrified by the sudden grip of mass insanity to relish the thought of staying in despite being quite introverted for a lot of the reasons you mentioned. Hanging out at some of the local restaurants where friends worked might not have been ideal on a lot of levels (especially considering what I was eating at the time *looks at the ice cream from earlier this evening nervously* …and sometimes still eat more than I should beyond the one day a week I allow myself these indulgences >_>) but I knew not being able to see them would hurt a lot. I hadn’t joined the community here or on MeWe at the time either so I was definitely getting pounded by isolation even with the fuzzies around. Then came weekly mandatory overtime at work and masks, masks, everywhere… No wonder I was in the rough shape I was when I first showed up here, huh? At this point I definitely have a better grasp on things and know that I just need to survive the ramped up Covidiocy on the job and see my own escape through. And here’s hoping the signs of defiance I saw earlier today are a sign of how well the Omicron fearmongering is going to go…

    1. “*looks at the ice cream from earlier this evening nervously*”

      The secret there is to bribe yourself. I’m going to go for a 20-30 mile bicycle ride once the sun comes out, THEN hit Cold Stone Creamery.

      1. It was a reward for almost a six and a half mile walk, or at least that’s how I justified it to myself after the fact. 🙂 Back on low carb until next Friday for now, though!

    2. I’ve watched you climb back out of that hole and I’m very glad to see it. You’ve done a lot of hard work and done it very well. I’m very happy I haven’t been on campus the last few semesters. From what I’ve heard, it’s Karen heaven and mostly insane and no morale. That alone helps my perspective.

      1. You helped with that a lot, Becky, whether through general encouragement or just enjoying the kitty pictures on MeWe! I can only imagine how bad the college campus scene is right now, especially with the way they screwed over your husband. Here’s hoping the rest of your move goes well and I can be in my own new landing spot soon, which some pending deliveries should help with on my end. 🙂

  34. I have worn masks (and gowns & gloves & caps/hoods& booties) for the last 40+ years professionally. Often 10-12 hours at a time. So they don’t bother me at all, to the point that I will forget I have one on. That said, I have never worn one outside since this started. Hiking is my preferred exercise/recharge activity: preferably at dawn & alone. Still run into others on the trails, all unmasked. At most one or the other will step off the trail to let the other pass, but smiling & sharing a few pleasant words with a kindred spirit in passing. Miss the comradeship that was typical of the hospital environment. No more “fluid rounds” or softball teams & most of us are working 50-60 hours a week. Miss that interaction. Do most of the shopping & errands as the wife would just as soon stay home. Really miss the travel.

  35. I’m not sure of your point about cruise ships.

    I’m a cruiser and my experience leads me to believe that the proximities of people on cruise ships do lead to increased likelihood of infection. However, I believe that the real problem is the very large percentage of cruisers who are old with co-morbidities and/or the grossly, hideously, morbidly obese.

    Most of the grossly fat land whales are Americans I’m sorry to say.

      1. Perhaps true in general but certainly not on my last cruise less than a month ago. I speak German quite fluently and heard very few fat Germans on the boat, but a lot of grossly fat English speaking Americans.

        My point was that having serious co-morbidities like age and obesity are of greater importance than merely getting infected. I accept that the likelihood of infection on a cruise ship is greater than of staying home.

      1. I didn’t say anything about cruisers being rich and have no opinion on the matter.

        The point I have trouble grasping is why you think the risk of infection is more serious than the risk caused by co-morbidities.

        The whole world is disease coated to some extent as even the Germans are now finding that to be true.

        Me, I’m 69 but without co-morbidities and I’d rather take the risk of infection inherent in the close environment of a cruise ship than stay home. I conceive my personal risk of serious problems or death to be low. I don’t grasp why you think that analysis is wrong.

        1. The point is that, co-morbidities or not – everyone didn’t die, in possibly the worst environment conceivable.

          Think of it this way: If someone had proposed testing virus lethality by letting it loose on cruise ship, what would the reaction have been? Yet we got exactly that test. The result: Bad, but not _that_ bad.

          1. Not just everybody didn’t die, but some two months after the outbreak all 7 deaths were in those over 70, and that “expert” treatment involved locking everyone in their rooms for quite some time. (Most people who were not infected but shared a room with someone who was didn’t catch it.)

            They still only managed a .5% fatality rate.

        2. Because it is. Also because even with comorbidities and age almost no one died, so it doesn’t matter. You’re arguing something no one said with a side dig at Americans in general and getting on my nerves

  36. You know, when the world was in lockdown? I was still going to the gym. Oh, sorry, “gyms” were ordered closed. I was going to the “private club.”

    There weren’t many of us who kept showing up and lifting weights, but we were there. Some out of pure stubbornness, some out of medical necessity, some out of expressing rebellion against an unnecessary authoritarian measure. Most out of a mixture of all of the above, because the people who were doing it as a gesture tended to make the gesture and not come back.

    The North Texas Pilots, Writers, and Shooters Association still met once a week, every week, no masks no way nohow, for dinner and beta reading. And we’d get some of our more far-flung members nearly in tears at showing up to a house of people, food, dogs, faces, smiling, laughter… In fact, we picked up new members, and had to rename ourselves the North Texas Troublemakers because “and costume designers and editors” would be way too long.

    And I was refusing to wear a mask anywhere except doctor’s offices, because I simply can’t. (And my medical problems are not anyone else’s business but my doctors.) It’s amazing how medical necessity, stubbornness, and lack of fear of “but I could lose my job!” combine to make me simply unwilling to go along to get along. And I mostly skipped all doctor appointments for a year, and now I wear the mask as a chin decoration. Interestingly, a flat out refusal to obey, combined with head up, direct eye contact, and smile on my face? I barely got any hassle, because the Karens, like all bullies, like to pick up on the weak and uncertain. They didn’t have anything to say to someone who was aggressively cheery at them.

    Those of you who know me in person know I’m a screaming introvert. But by not changing my world, I stayed mentally healthy.

    …That’s not to say I’m oblivious to the way the world’s changed. I spend my day on the phone with people all over the world. (Yes, I was laughing at myself last week when I said to the gent trying to do the go-between, “International phone calls are not a problem. Where in Mongolia is your brother? I will just call him. What time is it there now? Will he be awake?” Sadly, the brother was in Ulanbataar, so it wasn’t actually Outer Mongolia, but Urban Mongolia. Sooner or later, I’ll get one in rural Mongolia, and then I’ll call my father and say “Dad! Remember when you told me as a kid that I needed to be careful when dialing all the codes, or I could end up with a phone call to Outer Mongolia? I finally did!”)

    And people have gotten…. brittle. That’s the best word I have for it. Very brittle. There’s a lot of anger seething under the surface on some, and on others, it’s like they’re holding themselves together and sane by sheer willpower, and that’s running out. And when they can tell I’m smiling and having a good day at them on the phone, and sincerely want to help them, (voice carries that quite well, across cultures), I get the… oddest emotional reactions. Frequently. The longer this goes on, the more it’s happening every day.

    It’s quite disturbing, it is.

  37. It’s not that I have less interactions with people, it’s the same amount, just mostly virtual. My work teammates were already spread out across the country, so I’m used to the digital work interactions. I don’t miss the 15 hours of commute each week, which was a big time and money suck. Traffic and mass transit aren’t positive activities that endear me to people.

    I don’t mind the solitude, since it’s me and my spouse. And on very special weekends, she leaves to help her mother out and I can fully concentrate and create or study. That helps the relationship since we are otherwise 24/7 together the rest of the time.

    My relationship to my neighbors and community is stronger. I have time now to take the woofermutt on longer walks through the area. The last of fall tomato and pepper crop is being distributed around the street.

    I do miss geeking out with the local nerds in person, but I’ve had time to study and use my skills to help others keep governments accountable. From the city, to the county to the state, to the country, there are groups of us fighting the good fight.

    1. Note I’m not saying most people should go back to work in offices. I don’t think most people want to. And working from home freed us to move away from cities. It’s more that people need to be aware of their own needs and be proactive, as you’re being

      1. I do try to have better, meaningful casual interactions with random people that I met.

        Today I was at a local convenience store for gas and caffeine. I was very gracious to a gentlemen that the clerk was nervous about. When I left, I told the clerk, that the gentleman was a Sikh, whom are some of my favorite Neo-Texans.

  38. > [Y]es, I know I can fake extrovert.

    I suspect every introvert learns to do that to some extent. In my experience, introverts understand extroverts far better than extroverts understand introverts.

    1. I’m a situational extrovert, in that I turn it on and off (perhaps “performance extrovert” is a better term). But after a Con or spending an extended period with extended family, I need to hide.

      1. “Situational extrovert” is a good term.
        When our family of 7 took the personality tests that were popular back in the 90s, we discovered that we had one true extrovert, one mostly extrovert, and the rest of us ranged down to the one who informed us that an hour of family time was all the social he could stand.
        However, we were all active in theater, scouting, church meetings, and any other activity where there was a purpose for the interaction and a social “script,” because we could fake the extroversion in those situations.
        Because of our theater connections, we started calling ourselves “performing introverts.”
        Lolly-doo-dum-day for the win.

      2. Be it “situational extrovert” or “performance extrovert”, I have to take time-out-periods, every few hours … Bathrooms usually work. I love my mom and my sisters families. But I need my timeouts. Don’t have to worry about this with the inlaws, we rarely see his bother and his wife. Never see anyone else.

      3. I used to get sent to “team building” workshops by a previous employer. I could get along OK for the first day or so but , eventaully I became withdrawn and sullen. Not because I did not like the people but rather I had used up my reservoir.

        1. Interestingly I managed a 33 year programming career never being on a team outside of school, for job I was hired on for. Part of a larger group, but not a team on the specific project. Which meant my actual “team interactions” were as little or as much as I could handle. In practical terms my last job should have been a lot more of a team, it *wasn’t; not even close. I missed being at least on the outside edge of the larger teams.

          The only team building seminar I’ve been on was Woodbadge, both as a participant and volunteer (really learned the material). But even Woodbadge I never had to deal more than three days, at a time (times 3), and even then not 24 hours (until the last weekend “campout”), except with the other female in our group.

          * A lesson in be careful of what you wish for … most the other programmers made me seem like a social butterfly extrovert!

      4. That might describe me. I do like being around people, but afterwards, I need to have a day or more to myself (well, me and husband) and no socializing, just puttering around doing my own thing.

      5. I think that I am a performance extrovert – in that I can be “on” – being charming, outgoing, bubbly, and engaging for sometimes hours at a stretch, but it is a deliberate effort. And it is also draining, like a vampire had taken out about three pints of O+. Afterwards, I need the recovery “me” time.

    2. I’ve been told flat out that there’s no WAY I could be an introvert, because I deal with people too well. Trying to explain that I had to learn out of self defense, is usually self defeating. They just don’t get it.

      1. Probably the same obnoxious extroverts who give extroverts a bad name.

        (there really isn’t a requirement that one lack boundaries and empathy to be an extrovert, I swear! Even though some of the NOISIEST extroverts want to act like not only is it required, but being anything less than identical to them is a moral flaw. Doesn’t help that they pull it on other extroverts, either. >.< )

        1. I think the most obnoxious extrovert I’ve ever dealt with was the one who hated working from home, and was really glad when we got to go back into the office, but who insisted that everyone else wear masks, because she had an immunocompromised person in her house.

          Heaven forbid that she sacrifice her precious socializing in order to not gather germs from outside.

    3. I had an utterly hilarious interaction with a friend once who said, “You’re the most talkative introvert I’ve ever met,” and I responded, “You think I’m an introvert?” while the other people at the table cracked up laughing.

      I am an extrovert. The extrovert of extroverts. However, I’m one of those extroverts who cultivates introvert friends and absolutely does not get offended if they can’t people today.

      1. Introvert does not always mean taciturn. In fact, I can be very talkative about things I know well and am passionate about. I could talk your ear off about engineering, systems administration, or smoking food. What I cannot do is keep up social interactions for more than few hours at a time.

  39. I can force myself to be a people-person, but as other here have said: It takes effort and recovery time. I don’t much like doing it, but I like the results of doing it: Friends.

    Just after we first moved to Denver (20 years ago), I worked from home for a startup. I noticed the “getting weird from being alone too much” thing and took steps to counteract it. I haven’t felt that, this time around. Perhaps it’s because of all the work phone calls. At least I think I’m still normal, for me.

    I had a plan to join groups when we moved. Other than dance class, that has not happened. I keep finding excuses not to. Thanks for the reminder. Christmas present to self: Join a group. I wonder if there is a local Toastmaster – that was fun, back in the day. Or a good excuse to buy a motorcycle for Christmas. (Horrible timing in South Dakota, but they do have groups!)

    1. Toastmaster’s international website has a search for groups feature.

      You should not have gone entirely weird, so long as you don’t find yourself believing me to be entirely normal, entirely sane, and entirely sound. 😀 🙂

      1. I liked Toastmasters when I was participating. Even went on beyond the first 10 speeches. Stayed with it after the employer who was paying for it moved out of town. Class schedule one term got me out of the habit of going. Went back one time after that. Haven’t been back since.

        My problem with Toastmasters is while I enjoyed the companionship involved, they have a goal. They expect you to participate in that goal. Which is giving speeches and talking on the talking points. I learned how to do all of this. Learned (more or less) appear comfortable doing so. BUT I never learned to LIKE to do any of this. Not at all. Will I recommend Toastmasters? Heck yes. Especially over any classroom setting on the same topic.

  40. Dear Sarah: I like you, but get out of my head and quit watching my life.

    This is me. This whole post. I have always been an introvert (as has my wife SheSellsSeashells) but since March 2020, it’s gotten so much worse. I work from home now…I’ve turned part of our spare room into a very nice little office corner. I roll out of bed, turn everything on, work, and at the end of the workday, I turn it off and head off to game or hang out or whatever. That’s it. I can go weeks without leaving the house. Showering is optional. Contact with non-family people are optional. We didn’t even get to do Thanksgiving this year before the family we get together with insisted on proof of vaccination (wife/daughter are, I’m not and won’t at this point) and negative COVID tests before allowing us over, and Christmas will, I expect, be in the same boat.

    I have turned into a hermit. And the effects are not good. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t *want* to leave the house.

    So when I read this post, it actually shook me up quite a bit and got me thinking. While there’s been a lot of good effects about working form home–I don’t have to deal with the 50-mile-each-way commute so it’s saved us a ton of gas money and wear-and-tear on our one car–I’m turning into a mole man. And that scares me.

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