I’m not at home. I know in the current crisis that sounds like heresy, but I can honestly say that getting out of the usual routine where COVID-19 is all you hear about feels right. More and more organizations are instituting work from home policies—many of them mandatory. I’ve worked from home for going on two years now. You need to get out a bit. I know travel isn’t recommended, but I’m really not afraid to die. Besides, I put a box of latex gloves in the car and when we stopped for a restroom break, wore them until they could be safely removed. Exposed surfaces in the rest area were being continually wiped down. Don’t get me wrong—for an introvert like me working at home is fine. It’s just the idea of feeling like this virus is some zombie apocalypse happening just outside my door that I needed to dispel.
When I told a friend I was no longer going to be commuting on a regular basis he said if it were him he’d only ever buy sweatpants again. Now that my reality is life with my wife being the only person I regularly see, I’m beginning to realize just how much our clothes purchases are for impressing others. My haberdashery is akin to that of Henry David Thoreau; I wear clothes until they’re no longer functional. They can be badly out of date but they still work. The fashion industry is built on pride. To put it in the words of my old friend Qohelet, vanity. We want others to see what we’re wearing. If we’re still donning last year’s gay apparel we’re not playing the game. Never mind those of us whose wardrobes could be carbon-dated. The pandemic can be revealing.
So I’m away from home for what is really the first time in months. I had to stop in the grocery store for a few things. Only one person I saw was wearing a mask, but I was wearing prophylactics, so who’s going to cast the first stone? Many shelves were bare. The CDC has become our new gospel provider. I’m limiting my outside exposure. Driving door to door, greeting no-one along the way (that actually is the gospel, but substitute the walking for the driving part). I know when this weekend’s over I’ll be back to my cloistered existence as the rest of the world tries to get used to the loneliness of the sweatpants crowd. If you’re one of them take it from me—the rest of the world is still out there.