Isolate means to be alone or apart from others. Technically, I’m not isolated. I’m around other people when I go shopping, but it’s been exactly one month since I’ve seen or talked to anyone I actually know in person.
I’m depressed. I’m grateful to have a job that allows me to work from home right now. Still, it’s difficult to be alone so much.
This past Wednesday, one of my co-workers sent our department an email, in which she explained her current situation and how she was dealing with social distancing. Then our boss sent an email “to encourage everyone on the staff to share your experiences during this difficult time.”
Out of the ten of us in our little department, I was the only one who didn’t respond. I couldn’t. I was depressed and extremely irritable. I knew anything I wrote would’ve been snarky, so I didn’t say anything.
I live alone, and I have no family nearby. I’m the only one in my office in this situation. What could I have said that wouldn’t bring them down or seem bitchy?
A lot of them talked about how great it was to go outside and listen to birds. It might’ve just been my irritability, but I couldn’t relate. All I could think to say was this:
I had a lot of tree branches, junk, and trash in my backyard, so I spent a lot of time cleaning, organizing, and throwing stuff out. It was difficult, sweaty work, and I hated every minute of it. My only interaction with wildlife was the snake I had to kill in the back yard and the dead crow I saw in the front yard.
The snake slithered out from under a pile of wood I was moving. I tried shooing it away, but it wouldn’t budge. The little guy kept rearing up into attack mode, so I cut it in half with a shovel. It’s two halves slithered and twitched separately for what seemed like hours. It was more like minutes, but I was impatient. Just to make sure it would actually die, I sliced it again with the edge of my shovel, this time closer to its head. Then I went about my business. When I came back about an hour later, it had finally stopped moving. I shoveled the pieces into a trash can, put the top on, and left the can in the outside heat while I finished cleaning up the yard. A couple of hours later when I took the top off the can, the smell of death slapped me in the face.
I didn’t kill the crow. The crow killed itself. It landed on the power line in front of my house, screeched, and dropped to the ground. Its crow friends screamed and flew away. They didn’t even check on their friend. When the screaming stopped, I walked over to check out the dead guy. It was big and black and looked like it had no head. I crouched down a little, stood back up, and then walked to its other side. Yep, no head. There wasn’t any blood, so I assumed its head was bent back underneath its body. Technically, it had landed in the neighbor’s part of our shared front yards. Otherwise, I would’ve shoveled it into the trash can with the dead snake. But since it wasn’t in my yard, I left it. A few days later, I saw two construction workers who had been working on the gas lines in my neighborhood with a shovel and a plastic bag. They shoveled the crow into the bag and drop the bag into a trash can my across the street neighbor had left by the curb.
Can you imagine if I had emailed this story to my co-workers? I don’t think their delicate natures could have handled it, which is why I posted it here instead.