Isolation imposed by common sense and government directives strikes at the core of this unrepentant extrovert. I am coping uneasily with the lack of social contact.
Coronavirus is forcing all of us to imprison ourselves in solitary confinement. We are being asked/directed to consider the common good, to avoid spreading this invisible, insidious medical pest that is wreaking worldwide havoc.
So, what do the extroverts do under these peculiar circumstances and strictures? We can’t ignore the calls for self-distancing. That would be foolhardy, if not dangerous.
For introverts, our current self-isolation is a godsend, a signal to read or walk or cook or garden or meditate or sleep or complete crossword puzzles. The opportunities abound. Their desire for human interaction is limited.
What do we extroverts do to deal with seclusion and a sudden void of social contact? It’s a real conundrum that draws no pity from introverted spouses and friends.
We are on our own in this unpredictable world. Our choices are sadly few. Our self-esteem, fueled by others, is at stake.
This extrovert has a few strategies. He walks and talks to the dog—not even a bark, however, in response. He calls friends, even one in the United Kingdom; he was more than willing to talk, as we did for 42 minutes. Communication carries a cost. And I do what I’m doing now: claim dominion over my IPhone screen and email friends and family to assuage the loneliness.
Of course, not all of my contacts are extroverts. In fact, probably few are. Still, I prod along in cyberspace and communicate endlessly.
Should this communal sabbatical continue for months, then I may have to adjust my strategies. After all, I only have so many friends and family members. And they have only so much patience for pitifully needy extroverts.
One more thing: I can impose ever so gingerly on the kindness of Dave Wheelan, editor-publisher of the Spies, and seek digital space to offer some humor at a humorless time—or other commentary.
Please comment. I need the contact, even if virtual.
Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.