The fantastic and, generally, under appreciated John Lennon song, “Isolation” contains the following lyrics:
People say we got it made
Don’t they know we’re so afraid
We’re afraid to be alone
Everybody got to have a home
I don’t think the wonderful ex-Beatle was being especially prescient concerning our current situation with Covid-19 but I do think he instinctively understood the myriad of feelings one might experience while enduring a forced segregation. His somewhat unique plight was being, perhaps, the most famous artist in the world and falling in love with a person that his enormous number of fans would not accept. His emotional isolation from the world he lived in was painful and raised questions of personal freedom, racism and an intrusion upon his own life choices from people he didn’t even know.
Fortunately, Lennon was able, as great artists tend to do, to use his pain to drive his creativity. His beautifully raw first solo record, “Plastic Ono Band”, is mainly about his life, love and struggle. To those who’ve never heard it I can’t recommend it any more fervently. For those returning to it, I believe it can be a source of positivity in this specifically challenging period. Also, not a bad time, in general, to go back (or begin) listening to complete albums. Most of us absolutely should have the time to do so at the moment.
As we are all now faced with a conscious and necessary effort to isolate and separate from anyone other than our own families I have no great words of wisdom other than the obvious. This situation should be taken seriously and every effort should be made to isolate and social distance. This is not negotiable and is the only hope to get things headed back in the direction of normalcy.
For my family that means doing whatever work we can from home and otherwise trying to pass the time productively, meditatively and not generally freak out. At the moment I’m looking at three, way past their prime, bananas and contemplating baking banana bread. I’m taking my time with it and may even have this be my evening activity. The bananas can wait. How much blacker could they get anyway?
My wife is taking work calls which I think is fantastic. Any sense of ordinariness is welcome and I’m happy to have her occupied by what is usually just another day’s work.
My son, when not playing video games online with his friends, is now considering what graduate program to enroll in when, hopefully, schools are open again in the fall. A very strange feeling to get long awaited and diligently earned acceptance notices in the middle of all of this. It all seems to fade into the background as we wade through these strange days. However, any whiff of conventional good news linking us to the past and a hopeful future are welcomed. Notably, the discussions comparing and contrasting the various programs feel especially sweet and meaningful.
The hardest day to day aspect of isolation for my family is the absence of my daughter who remains at boarding school. Safety-wise, she couldn’t be in a better situation right now. We miss her terribly and the only saving grace is that, I suspect, she’s happier right now being with her friends than stuck at home with the family like many teenagers would be.
As for me, I’ve already went for a hike, chopped some wood (sounds more masculine when written down – the actual execution was not pretty but all my digits remain intact), texted with nervous friends/relatives, ate first and second lunches and am still, at my own pace, eying those bananas.