How do you quarantine an introvert? Step aside. Ba-dop-bop!
At first, it was guilt
Appointments, meetings, church, family dinner. “I’m sorry, Covid-19 is forcing me to cancel.” I’d already begun limiting my excursions out of the house by mid-February. I had already been staying home with a cold so rolling into an international disaster was an easy step.
Well into March, both the state and federal governments were treating the pandemic with a dismissive shrug. Out of frustration, on March 24, our local city government issued a stay-at-home order. Even after that I still felt guilty, canceling one thing after another.
I’m non-essential, but not like what you’re thinking. I mean I don’t drive a food delivery truck. You wouldn’t want me to have anything to do with anything medical. I’m not even a cashier at Walmart. All that went through my mind as I read the details of the quarantine. They don’t need me, I’m non-essential (yippee!)
And even then I still felt guilty!
Eventually, the guilt calmed down as the rest of the world assured me that it was okay to have the entire box of cookies, metaphorically speaking.
After that, every Zoom meeting became an intrusion.
Everybody stand back! I’m isolating, dammit! I have permission!
But the poor extroverts
I watch a lot of YouTube. I’m guessing about 70% of YouTube is generated by extroverts who can’t quite get enough constant interaction. My heart goes out to them in this time of hardship. I can tell they are going bug-nutty, climbing the walls. There are scratches on the doors and their housemates are pooling their money for a hitman.
So, as much as they can, they socialize and interact with an electronic mediator. In addition to their regular shows, they have live interactive streams so they can chat with their fans about anything and everything. You can see they’re so hungry for interaction they are ready to eat their keyboards. I usually don’t hang in there very long. I’m not interested in anything and everything.
Happy or miserable there is one undeniable truth in all of this. It’s a brick wall of truth that means we really should not leave the house. That truth is: The virus has no legs. It must use yours.
Hey pal, can you spare a ride?
Covid-19 has no legs. In order for it to get from the stranger in the grocery store to your grandmother, it must use your legs.
It needs you. It can live for several days outside a human body, but it’s not ideal. It kind of needs you for a ride and it needs that kind of soon-ish before it dies.
Without your kind assistance in giving it a ride to the next host, it might die on that doorknob. Or its current host might get sick and die, leaving the virus stranded.
Or the host will get sick and recover, becoming immune for at least a while. So our clueless pair of legs thinks “Hey I’ve had it! I’m immune! I can leave the house! Part-ay!”
Meanwhile, the virus is desperate to get somewhere else before your immune system kills it off. It needs you, with your wonderfully useful legs, to take it anywhere there are people.
Getting an extrovert to leave the house
Same answer as getting an introvert to quarantine: step aside.
Yeah, when the world opens back up again, all the extroverts will jack-rabbit to a packed music festival faster than you can say “Coachella.” Guilt will drive out the introverts. All the commitments they’ve let drop will haunt them and they will also leave the house, though without a jack-rabbit metaphor.
Keep in mind that until there’s a vaccine and some herd immunity, there needs to be a little voice in the back of your head reminding you “Be careful. The virus needs your legs.”
Susan Cogan wears a lot of different hats but she is primarily a writer. She is the author of more than a dozen books and hundreds of articles and blog posts. She is also a CTI-trained life coach, Buddhist, artist, wife, and body servant to three cats.