“One recent snowy Saturday morning, I coaxed myself out of bed, into semiformal attire and through the door to synagogue. It was the latest in a series of attempts to force myself to, well, do stuff, the kind of stuff that takes me out of my one-bedroom apartment and into human society.
During the service, I stood when everyone else stood, sat when everyone else sat, sang when everyone else sang. I made awkward small talk with my seat neighbor and high-tailed it home before the socializing began in earnest. But once I was safely ensconced on my couch and my frozen feet were slowly turning back to pink, I found I was glad I had gone.
It’s the way I’ve felt almost every time in recent months that I’ve compelled myself to get out of the house. It’s how I felt after I dragged myself to badly soundtracked group fitness classes, several cheesy parties and one lovely weekend retreat, at which I contracted a mild case of Covid. Going out and interacting with people again feels as if it’s going to be difficult — and it often is, at least a little — but I am always glad I did it.
Early in the pandemic, I was one of the millions of Americans who adopted new services, digital platforms and habits in an effort to be safely apart: Instacart instead of in-store grocery shopping, OverDrive instead of library trips, streaming workouts instead of the local gym. These services were helpful (sometimes essential) during the worst months, connecting vulnerable sick and elderly people with necessities, hurting restaurants with hungry customers, bored patrons with e-books.”