My cousin posted on Facebook the other day:

Guess we can’t say ‘avoid it like the plague anymore’…

It was kind of serendipitous that she wrote this recently, as my scheduled topic for today is about my neighbor and how she thinks I have the plague.

Ok- she doesn’t actually think I have the plague…

Ok- maybe she does think that…

Here’s the story:

A few weeks ago I entered the lobby of my building, armed with groceries and a smile under my mask. As I approached the elevator I saw one of the women from my hopefully temporarily defunct book club.

I gave a big “Hi” while remaining about five feet away.

M retreated backwards. She literally cringed and I could see her eyes and forehead tense up.

She didn’t say “Hi” to me. She just looked panicked. A woman I’ve had innumerable conversations with over the past twenty years.

She told me she hoped I didn’t mind but she was taking the elevator by herself.

She then proceeded to look straight ahead at the doors as they opened and she ran in and elbowed the DOOR CLOSE button about a million times.

What’s the expression- “deer in headlights”?


She ran away from me like I had the plague…

Because, you know, I really could have the plague.

Of course, my building has a rule that if you have the plague you must disclose it and quarantine yourself- but it’s not like anyone actually listens to rules- so…

But anyway-

There are some people that are totally scared of catching Corona. I get it. I really do. I have lived through this nightmare too.

But, I wonder if many are ever going to recover.

We have now gotten to the point where we don’t trust our neighbors. We have now gotten to the point where many are afraid to leave their houses.

Will these people ever be able to get over their fears of living through COVID 19?

Will they ever be comfortable going to a store?

Saying “Hi” to a neighbor?

Sharing an elevator?

A year from now- will they still be scurrying to and fro like mice avoiding a cat?

Will people want to leave their houses ever?

Or will they exist in virtual life?

Work from home?

Zoom parties?

Amazon orders?

Netflix nights?

Anything to avoid human contact?

Will we become a society of introverts?


79 thoughts on “Avoid it Like the Plague

  1. I’ve been doing anything I can to avoid human contact for years. To that end getting married and having a child haven’t helped my cause but the plague hasn’t changed much for me. Still rather there wasn’t a plague though…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we’ll come through it in the end and learn to socialize again. I keep hearing how Covid is going to kill the theater and kill the restaurant for good, but if the Black Death of 1346-57 couldn’t do it, and subsequent epidemics of sweating sickness couldn’t do it, Covid isn’t going to do it, either.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t think theater will die. I do think Broadway will though. I don’t know if they will ever be able to do those productions again


  3. Makes me sad….for her, for you. So much fear, Our neighbor who lives on the farm just to the west of us was a little like that initially, heck, so was one of my sisters. Eventually, both of them have lost 80% of that initial panic. It takes a lot of energy to keep that level of hyper-vigilance up.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve never been an overly active person in terms of socializing with a lot of people and enjoy my own, quiet time, immensely but frankly, my friend, I AM CLIMBING THE WALLS. I want some human contact again. Seriously. Even just mingling in a book store or something. Argh.

    We have to adapt. And we will. And those of us are figure out how, we can share and assure others and hope they, too, will find a way. But certainly, life as we knew it before will either not return to the same functionality, or, if it does, will do so very, very gradually. Again, we have to find a way to adjust. It’s not easy… I feel depressed and anxious about those things more than I care to admit sometimes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was talking to a friend yesterday (zoom) and she was being relentlessly positive and I’m like…I’m surviving not thriving. I will write about this eventually

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I hate that it’s resulted in so much fear. Of course we need to be cautious and do whatever we can to keep ourselves and others safe. But the social distancing and isolation isn’t healthy. People are made to connect with each other. Even though I’m an introvert and a loner, I still need human contact. You can’t even smile at people anymore. I just think it’s sad how disconnected we’ve all become. Zoom, texting, even talking on the phone can never replace face-to-face, hugs and all that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There’s a point where too much vigilance is equally as distressing as too little. What’s the point of the human race if we’re going to exist in our own bubbles?

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I see a mix. I have friends and family back home in Kentucky who seem to be living as normal a life as they can with masks and distancing. I have friends here in Maryland who never leave their house and are mad that they have to go back to work a few hours a day. I didn’t do much with others here before the pandemic so my biggest change has been lack of travel and not having in person book club. I’m pretty sure my book club will never meet in person again which means I will be quitting book club because I hate Zoom book club,

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Initially we “were all in this together” and there were many acts of kindness being performed in the unlikeliest of quarters. There now seems to be a divide developing between the generations, the young and old, and my concern is that when the full force of this pandemic hits economically, what then happens with this division.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. God willing we will transition to a ‘new normal’ and some of us will be able to connect and some won’t, but we won’t take offense to it. We’ll simply know that they lack trust or are fearful while others of us will be more willing to connect and be kinder to our friends and neighbors. I’m sorry this happened to you. This is her issue and not yours. Big hugs LA

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Yes, I’ve met much the same extremes and been surprised that some whom I’d considered stoic and even impetuous have become totally reclusive. As Eilene said, I think things will return to normal – in time. We’ve just not had to live with deadly infectious diseases for about 80 years, so, this has spooked many. I also think much will depend on how successful any vaccine is and wonder how folk will be if it’s only as useful as the flu shot?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Well I don’t have it that bad but there are situations I avoid. Mostly situations with a lot of people and masks are optional. Here in Iowa masks are not mandated and depending on what part of the state you live in some places don’t wear them at all. Plus large groups and Iowa’s numbers still climbing don’t add up well to me!! It was like living in another country when we went to Colorado a couple weeks ago because they’re everybody wears mask even on the trails! Now would I treat someone like they had the plague or avoid everything. No. I can’t say I am In fear of the virus but I respect it enough to play the safety rules. Although today, change of subject, I am going to leave for the hospital around noon and be with my daughter when she has my very first grandbaby!! Nothing like a new baby to bring optimism!! So I have hope and faith in humanity and believe this virus will be gone soon!!!!

    Liked by 4 people

  11. I believe we will get to a new normal that involves a bit more awareness of how sickness travels, but until we have PROVEN medicine/vaccine for this people will be wary. Some people have jumped in wholeheartedly into going back into society without precautions and it has worked against them as well as the rest of us. I know we are all sick of this and what it has wrought upon us, but being an adult and seeing the results of others actions I feel as this will last longer than anyone wants.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There is no guarantee with a vaccine. This is more like a flu, therefore will mutate. Plus, I know almost no one who wants to get the vaccine. How’s that going to work?

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I think she saw a ghost behind you. With most of them locked up in their homes, I heard the ghosts are out in the open. Surprise, surprise, ghosts don’t need to wear masks.😂
    Okay, jokes apart. This corona thingy is making people behave weirdly. I am not saying what she did was right. At the same time, thinking from her perspective – she really doesn’t know where you went shopping or if you are asymptomatic or all that corona-scaredy-thingies about social distancing.
    We lock our gate by mid-morning – it is not that we are avoiding people. But if someone pays us a visit, we are obligated to call them in, tea and snacks, blah blah. We really do not know where they have been in the past few days or if they washed hands regularly after coming home, wore masks, etc. Are we willing to risk the chances of getting infected for the sake of being ‘friendly neighbours’? Definitely not.
    This will continue until they find a cure and everybody is vaccinated. This will be our new normal for a while.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Not everyone’s alike. Some people are more scared than others. 🙂 Though it is frustrating at times to see them behave like that, there’s nothing we can do about it except give them time to accept the new normal.
        Okay, I am being ‘look at the brighter side of any situation’ kinda person today.🙈

        Liked by 1 person

  13. My guess is that your neighbor doesn’t necessarily think you have the virus but felt suddenly uncomfortable with how to say she wanted to go in the elevator alone. I believe that in general our world is forever changed. Each person will deal with the shadow of the virus differently but that doesn’t mean it’s not on everyone’s minds. The very young who manage to not get seriously ill will hopefully grow up in a world that feels “normal” to them, much like those of us who no longer felt much threat from polio.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In this case, my doorman said she’s become nuts, like she’ll make him put her package on the floor away from thing and let it sit for an hour before she’ll get it. But out building also has an elevator rule. If you want to ride the elevator alone, you must allow people who have no problem sharing the ability to go up first.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Back when all this started, back when we were told to NOT wear masks, there was talk of herd immunity being attained by the population being exposed to the virus. Whatever happened to that discussion? Did it go into the pockets of Big Pharma never to see the light of day again? It is a shame that something that initially united us is now dividing us. I vote for a return to normalcy with reasonable precautions for those who have medical conditions.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ok…here’s my two cents. I think New York is holding tight because we achieved herd immunity. My husband and I were at full throttle until we were shut down. We were at a Broadway show the last night there were performances. We were at the gym, in the subway, movies, restaurants….in short, I find it almost statistically impossible that we weren’t exposed. I think everyone left in the city was exposed.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. I’ve never gotten the flu shot, even when I worked in the doctor’s offices so I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get whatever vaccine they come out with for this thing. Some good may actually come out of it but I really don’t think there will ever be a complete return to what life was like preCOVID. I wonder about those people who think the virus will mysteriously disappear in November.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I probably fall deeper into the fear group. I’m not an overly trusting person in the first place (life had repeated that lesson a few too many times for me), but I’ve also seen first hand how few people actually follow rules or care about anyone other than themselves, so I just don’t trust that other people are being safe. And I’m already a huge introvert so sticking at home is just fine with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t trust anyone or anything, and I’m actually quite risk averse. But, my mother is the most nervous person in the world and I know how she is, so I try to push through with certain things….so…it’s a tough call

      Liked by 1 person

  17. sigh.
    I for one am not a social butterfly. Yet, I was thinking how much I enjoyed meeting new people from activities I was involved in; drum circles, theater, art exhibition. I yearn for those days. I even miss catching a movie in a theater.
    my wife and I are homebodies though, so again not a HUGE change.
    Just when you remember back to having choices, that’s when the new “far from normal” hits like a ton of bricks.
    I have no problem with contact free deliveries, not out of fear of the virus…More so because my level of awareness doesn’t match everyone’s.
    Haven’t had encounters with people like you have, and it seems to have gotten kind of lax at my job.
    I’ll tell ya though, I was so grateful an art museum we like to visit reopened, that was by far the greatest joy of 2020.
    Here’s to the future La

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Nothing like a serious crisis to reveal people’s weaknesses. Great way to ‘herd’ people into groups that agree on how to react to the virus crisis. Also it shows the weaknesses of many of our leaders, our tenuous supply of essential goods , and our dependence on other countries for medical supplies. As for avoiding people, think 9/11. Some people never recovered from that trauma and the country as a whole was forced/taught to become suspicious of various groups and to be afraid of looming terrorist threats. The more easily frightened and vulnerable people will become more afraid and more dependent on being told what to do by experts and government. The others will fight helplessly against the present and coming increased restriction of freedom.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. We are living in difficult and challenging times! I’m learning to read eyes and body language for signs of distress and people who need more space from me. I keep telling myself not to take it personal, it’s about the virus, not necessarily me. C

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Nothing last forever, not even pandemics (though it sure feels that way sometimes). I worry about the toll its taking on mental health and I do wonder if we are turning into an anti-social society. But I think in the end we will overcome this as individuals and as a society overall. However, I think those who were already struggling with mental health issues will have a tougher time getting over it. All the more reason to be kind. I hope your neighbor gets over her fear, I hope we all do.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. As an introvert I can only hope we become a nation of introverts. Those darned extroverts have been controlling the social scene/business world for too long. I’m thoroughly enjoying the sense of freedom that comes from not doing anything social, at least for a while.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Great post LA, with many great comments. Someday we have to return to normal—not sure when that day is, but hopefully sooner than later. I agree there are many mental health issues associated with the pandemic. My kids are out of the K-12 school system—but I really feel for parents with school age kids trying to make difficult decisions.
    My son is starting his first year of college. Crossing my fingers that all goes well. His university has changed many things due to the pandemic–I’m hoping for his sake that things will be more normal one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My daughter is virtual this semester. She’s an orientation counselor….she’s doing training virtually, 9 hours today, and through Friday….I can’t imagine Freshman doing virtual orientation

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I don’t know. If we don’t go out we can’t build our immune system. We cant stay inside forever. The longer this goes on I’m not sure anything will be the same and where do we go from there?


  24. I remember after 9/11 when they shut down all the planes for a week. I remember thinking how life will never be the same. It hasn’t been. Somewhere along the way, though, we adjusted to a ‘new’ normal. Here we are about 20 years later doing the same thing. Unfortunately, what we are adjusting to is just trying not to get this bug and die. On one hand, do I want to live in isolation forever? Hell, no. On the other hand, do I want to live to see another day? Well, yeah. It feels like I’m put in a dichotomous position and I really don’t like that. But, so what…

    You’re right, there are no guarantees in life. You may take all of the precautions and still get this damned thing. Or as a friend of mine does, act as though it doesn’t exist and just go your business. As she tells me on the rare occasions that we talk on the phone, she hasn’t caught it and doesn’t expect to and she isn’t going to “not live,” meaning — she needs her social life and she might as well be dead without it. So for her, she has to take the risk because “social death” is something she can’t abide. With my health conditions and because I want to continue to live as best I can, I am more or less isolated. I don’t zoom (I’ve been told that I’m not missing much), and I don’t really spend much time on the phone except for the rare call here and there. My social life at this point is all online and my blog is not working as well as it should be (as you know), so it is definitely a trying time for me. I’m praying for a vaccine that works for more than 50 percent of the people it vaccinates.

    In the meantime, while one day looks much like the next, I know that it won’t always be like this. I look forward to getting the vaccination and then…we’ll see how things go. I think everyone’s gotta live the best way they can given their own set of circumstances. If we can manage to not judge one another for doing that…well, hell…I’m not going to ask for the impossible and the vaccine, too, I suppose. Mona

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s really a difficult situation. Last week I saw another friend of mine die (he was diagnosed 8 years ago with pulmonary fibrosis. Last year they said he needed a lung transplant. Received it on June 29. Complications.) and I watched him for 8 years waiting for tomorrow to start a business, move to a better climate, meet a guy to spend his life with. He kept waiting for things to get better… now I get that no one wants to get sick, but I see the malaise that has developed amongst people. The mayor of a large city which will remain nameless stated that the rise in murders is due to people being bored by corona restrictions…. so malaise is winning. But yeah….it’s a tough time….we don’t want to die, yet we don’t want to stagnate either….

      Liked by 1 person

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