Quarantining: An Introvert’s Olympics
A Letter from Soné | April 2020
I have spent every second of the past twenty-something years trying to get out of plans. As my parents tell it, I “cried too much” as a baby – a conclusion that feels highly unfair, seeing that I didn’t want people looking at me. I just wanted to sleep.
I’m proud to say this quality has held up over the years. I’ve memorized the size any handbag needs to be to carry a paperback book, a list of excuses to dodge happy hour (“Sorry, doing my fifth load of laundry this week!”), and a list of powerful introverted women I can cite in case of the occasional side eye.
All that to say, when New York City entered lockdown mode in light of our latest supervillain (see: COVID-19), I realized: I’ve been training for this my whole life. I’ve arrived at the only Olympics I’ll ever be qualified to compete in and am going for gold.
Here’s how I get it done:
Rise and Shine!
What time do you wake up in the morning? 6AM? 9AM? It doesn’t matter – you don’t have anywhere to be. I suggest looking outside your window. See those houses, the (fewer) cars on the street, the people walking their dog?
You don’t have to talk to any of them today.
Revel in this as you shower. Allow yourself to sing the full rendition of The Police’s “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” as someone bangs on the door to hurry up. What’s your family going to do, leave? Oh right, they can’t. You may as well be happy.
As you get dressed, reconsider your power outfit. What’s your current go-to: A classic white button-down? A structured plaid blazer? Step back and ponder the merits of those fleece-lined sweatpants that never held you back in any way.
When New York City entered lockdown mode in light of our latest supervillain, I realized: I’ve been training for this my whole life. I’ve arrived at the only Olympics I’ll ever be qualified to compete in.
Slew of Early Morning Conference Calls
No more gulping down your morning coffee as you sprint between meeting rooms! Take a few sips as someone says, “Can you guys hear me?” for the fourth time and reflect on the peace that comes with not worrying about a spill.
Also, no need to silently encourage yourself to Speak Up. The beauty of conference calls is that we’re all riding the same airwave.
Speak at any volume you want. You will be heard.
Does your normal lunchtime routine consist of picking up a bowl from a fast-food joint and shoveling protein into your mouth? Let’s put that aside for now.
I highly suggest making a menu. Whether you title it “Quarantine Meal Menu” or “Dining Options at Chez [Your Name],” write down all the meals your cupboard currently allows you to make. Then, choose one and say it out loud.
Rather than slapping together two slices of bread, saying “I will have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a side of iced tea in a wine glass” means you are still dining. And therefore, you are still living.
There will inevitably be a moment when you start puttering around your home like a lost meerkat looking for nuts. Get your claws on that drawer you’ve been meaning to clean out for eight months. Finding that local sandwich shop rewards card (one purchase left before a free sub!) and your friend’s baby shower invitation will have you reflecting how far you’ve come as a person.
Probably not that far.
There will inevitably be a moment when you start puttering around your home like a lost meerkat looking for nuts.
Midday Slump #2
Text all your friends (including the one who now has a 2-year-old baby) and invite them to FaceTime. Do this as often as possible, while you can spend quality time with them from the comfort of your couch. This ensures that when we’re past this mess, you will 1) Come out of it a social winner; 2) Be exempt from real plans because you’ve hung out with them plenty.
And that, after all, is the real prize.
Celebrate your new lifestyle with a puzzle.
Evening Into Night
Personally, I’m a huge fan of putting on some lipstick, a French music playlist on Spotify, and revisiting my “Dining Options at Chez Soné.” No subway delays or windy weather to worry about when you’re going out to dinner…to your kitchen. And because the commute back to your bed is quick, you have time for an extra episode of Netflix’s “Love Is Blind.”
As you wind down, look out the window once again. The world is still here. You still have a roof over your head and a bed to rest your head on. So, think about what song you’ll sing in the shower as you prepare to stay in all over again.
And so it goes.
Until next time,