Hey, my name is Daniel and I’m a Social Distancer.
I’ve been practicing Social Distancing for… man, I don’t know, it’s been so long now, it’s hard to believe. It started as such a casual thing, kids around me would go on a retreat, I would stay home and play with legos. My church group would have a lock-in, I’d stay home and talk to friends on AIM. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, it just felt right. Years went by and I started to understand how strange it was that I chose that path. People my age made friends, joined clubs, had parties, and smiled together while I stayed in my room and watched stacks of DVDs from the library while drawing characters and creating stories in my mind. I know this sounds kinda sad but, it’s my life and I like it!
I know it’s not for everyone… well… at least it wasn’t. Now EVERYONE is trying to be a SD (Social Distancer) and, honestly it’s weird for me. I guess I just feel like it’s always been so odd to everyone I know but now it’s trendy and everyone is into it but that doesn’t just erase the years I had to defend myself for my choices. People on the internet are acting like they just discovered this concept “Yeah! Social Distancing, everyone is doing it, it’s this thing where you stay home and be by yourself! Not only is it good for staying physically healthy, it’s great to have some introspective personal time!” YEAH. NO DUH. Whatever… it’s fine. It’s FINE.
It’s funny because that’s one of the most obvious ways Jared and I are different. It was actually last month when I was out in LA that I remarked on the fact that he will actively make an effort to talk to someone that is virtually a stranger, maybe they met one time in some specific situation and don’t actually know anything about each other. For me, that is a recipe for PURE AVOIDANCE. I can’t be seen by someone who knows my face and nothing else, that’s just asking for obligatory small talk. NO THANKS DUDE! But I guess that’s just how you know how long I’ve been in the SD game. It comes so naturally, I don’t even have to think about it.
So all you folks out there just jumping on that Social Distancing bandwagon, I hope you’ll get a chance to appreciate just how much work goes into maintaining this lifestyle and won’t be so confused next time I turn down your invitation to come bar hop with you and your horde of loud, well-adjusted friends! It's not that I don't like people, I just don't like not being alone most of the time...
For some of us, it's just a way of life, you know?
Right on! I have been known for not leaving the house for four days in a row, over long weekends, and I constantly had to defend myself – now I’m going the distance and haven’t left for ten days! And I just can’t believe the number of invites I receive to jump on Zoom for all sorts of virtual social activities. I don’t have that kind of time AND I am not feeling isolated. Sure it’s kind of weird to get grocery delivery and wipe everything down – it’s a bit OCD, but, I’m not chomping at the bit to run outside or join virtual happy hours, yoga sessions, communal art lessons, concerts, etc. Don’t get me wrong – it’s great that others are offering these outlets for the socially disconnected distancers. But frankly, not being forced to socialize is a relief for once. If only the extroverts who push introverts out of their comfort zone could finally understand – now that they’re ordered to keep their distance – that they are now experiencing a version of the hell that’s imposed upon introverts, for their ENTIRE LIVES, not just during a pandemic.