What to Do With the Weird Things You Learn About Yourself in Isolation
Quarantine has illuminated my most annoying traits. But that might be a good thing.
Journalist Rebecca Solnit recently wrote in the New York Times that “every disaster shakes loose the old order,” and though she was talking about political regimes, I’m finding it to be true of personal behaviors as well. Like many Americans, my wife Alex and I are self-isolating at home, and while we’re thankful that our conditions are comfortable (read: we don’t have kids), the unprecedented amount of time we’re spending together has illuminated a few of my more unsettling traits.
I shuddered when these things were first brought to my attention, but now I’m trying to grapple with them. After all, it’s only when we truly know who we are that we can redesign who we want to be. Here’s what I’m starting with first:
I’m inconsiderately loud
There’s no way around it: I’m too loud.
First, I’m a loud typer. I attack my laptop, clacking at the keys as though my computer were really a typewriter. When I get excited about a thought, or when several thoughts demand to exit my mind in quick succession, it takes all the restraint I can muster to keep my hands from flying away from my laptop entirely, like birds of prey released from captivity.
That’s not all. I speak loudly when I’m on the phone. And I’m a loud singer. I’m even loud when I walk around — I open doors and cabinets heedlessly, the way pirates ransack ships. The other day, Alex asked whether I was aware there were other people in the house besides myself. Aargh.
I’m disastrously disorganized
In the intro to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo promises that “tidying can transform your life.” Unfortunately, that’s about all I’ve read of her book.
I’m disorganized. I pollute the rooms I inhabit, leaving increasingly hazardous piles of Daniel-detritus everywhere I go. I’m often late to meetings. I’ve lost just about every jacket I’ve ever owned. Last week, I caused drama by accidentally scheduling two separate virtual happy hours for the same day and time.