The CoronaCrisis has made me soft. Not physically, though that could easily happen.
'Soft' in the social and emotional sense.
When one is alone for long periods of time, one doesn’t need to deal much with those messy, annoying, rebellious, uncooperative beings called 'people.' It is an illusion, to be sure, but when alone, life seems to operate under our sovereign decree. (Unless, of course, if you have cats. Nuff said).
Life in isolation is pretty darn good....at least for those of us who fall on the ‘introvert’ side of the extrovert/introvert line of Myers-Briggs.
A week ago Saturday, some of the PA restrictions were lifted and I ventured to Target to purchase a couple of items. There, I ran into, of all things, people!? People who did stuff like, occupy a place in a long check out line, walk painfully slow down aisles without a passing lane, look down at their phones as they exited rather than attend to the action around them, and, of course, shooting the sanctimonious [I’m-cooperating-how-about-you?] stink eye from the face-mask mafia, at those of us whom, upon leaving the store, dared to remove said masks.
By the time I returned to my car, I’d had my fill of humans and their never ending capacity to thwart my imperial will.
As if that were not enough, that afternoon, I played 9 holes of golf with my son, Ryan, and my two son in laws, Rob and Eric. More people. More angst. For starters, I was annoyed that the 4:10 pm tee timers went off before us, the 4:00 pm tee timers. Was annoyed that those 4:10'ers, who of course, were in a big hurry to get started, now moved with the speed of the DMV. However, my irritation was offset by the fact that I played decently for the first 4 holes....but then came the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th holes. Couldn’t chip to save my life which, in golf parlance, is like saying, ‘I can’t find the brake pedal, but otherwise I’m a pretty good driver.’ The frustration I felt....no, that’s too polite...to sanctified. The anger I felt at that little yellow ball, which, like the crowd at Target and like the 4:10'ers, had the audacity to not carry out my will, was startling to me.
I told my Ryan, Rob and Eric, as we concluded an otherwise long overdue in-person visit over 9 holes of golf, that I was surprised at the strength of my impatience with others and with that little inanimate object made my Calloway (as if it was the golf ball's fault).
It all made me wonder whether or not the soul calcifies when alone. With no one to thwart our wishes or frustrate our wills, we are king and kings, throughout the bible, are known for many things but patience with, empathy toward, and service to, others is typically not one of them. Perhaps that is why God said ‘It is not good’ for a man or woman to ‘be alone.’ Perhaps it is God's way of saying, 'Listen, I know it seems otherwise, but trust me, it's not good for you to be king.' After all, it's from life's lofty places that we are most in danger of believing life's most deadly lie: ‘you shall be as god.’
May it be soon be deemed safe to return to one another, maddening though we can be to one another. I say that, not just for the sake of our sanity or our pocketbooks, but for the sake of our souls.
Be wise, be well.
All the best,