Social Anxiety

After more than fifteen weeks at home, leaving my little sanctuary makes me nervous. COVID-19 continues to spread like wild fire. Mixing with others hardly seems worth the risk.

Trips to the garden center are my only nonessential outings. I wear a mask, stick to outside areas, and go early enough to avoid long checkout lines. Growing things makes me happy.

A haircut isn’t worth the risk. My plan to let my beard and hair grow for a potential appearance on Queer Eye didn’t work. Trimming my beard is easy enough, but the thought of cutting my hair scared me. Previous attempts always required an emergency visit to the barbershop.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I finally used my clippers to buzz my head. I have no idea how it looks, given my vision, but I’m happy. I go over it again every week or so and may never pay for a haircut again.

In recent weeks, my anxiety about going out has increased. The federal response, if you call ignoring the problem a response, has made things worse. The president’s total disregard for masks, social distancing, and basic science hasn’t helped. We haven’t flattened the curve so much as paused its ascent.

The protests are long overdue. The problem extends way beyond police brutality. The impact of the virus on minorities has increased awareness of other societal problems and inequalities. Masks, social distancing, and being outside reduce the risk of infection, but we’re bound to see more cases.

Mask-free people from all over the country flocking to indoor political rallies in cities breaking records every day for the number of new cases hardly seems worth the risk. Trump’s disregard for my health and safety is no secret — I’m not one of his voters. The rallies show he doesn’t care about his voters either.

Setting aside my biases and any assessment of right or wrong, a surge in new cases is certain. Nearly half the states are currently seeing spikes. Things are going to get worse before the get better. How much worse remains to be seen.

Political upheaval, social unrest, a weak economy, and a pandemic plague the nation. Our incompetent president and partisan Congress are unlikely to do anything constructive. There’s no end in sight.

Hanging out with friends for dinner, cards, or whatever would be great. Things as they are with COVID, I just can’t do it. Good thing solitude agrees with me.