People who are in self quarantine really have no idea how weird it is to be a base level essential worker through this whole thing. I don’t mean a doctor or a nurse or someone else working round the clock to put a stop to it or find a cure. I mean a truck driver or a gas station attendant or a retail clerk. Because everything is basically normal, only a little bit off, and then again not as off as it should be.

Every day I get up. I go to work. I sell people things. There are fewer people coming through and they’re buying more because they’re stocking up or they haven’t been shopping in a month, but there are still lines, like always. There’s plexiglass between the cashiers and the customers, and no dividers, and we have to continually yell at people not to put their items on the belt until we’ve finished the previous transaction, and they ignore us or argue with us, same as always. The more rules we have, the more rules there are for people to ignore. And the longer it goes on, the more normal it gets. Pretty much no one thanks us for coming in to work anymore. People are starting to act like we should never, ever run out of an item. It’s just blanket assumed that we will have hand sanitizer and soap and toilet paper and people are shocked when we say we’re out.  But there are still ads on the TV in the break room telling us all to stay home and the more the customers ignore social distancing, the more management puts pressure on us to set a good example, until we’re expected to follow standards that are physically impossible.

The longer this goes on, the less ‘essential’ I feel.

And then I come home and get online as always and there are all of these people asking what you’re doing while you’re stuck in quarantine and coming up with fun things to do when you’re in quarantine and talking about what you’re going to do when this whole thing is over and you can finally, finally leave your house. Everyone just seems to assume that you, the person reading their words, are in quarantine, because everyone’s in quarantine. It’s like this big, international, universal experience that you’re not a part of.

It feels like fifteen years from now everyone in the world will be looking at each other and asking “Remember what it was like to be cooped up in the house? Wasn’t it awful?” and I’ll just be sitting there going “…….no, I don’t. I didn’t do that.” And people will look at me and wonder how I could not know.

This absolutely so much. My daily routine has not changed. My commute on a bus full of other essential workers has not changed. Social distancing and masks are impossible at my job so personal interactions have not changed. It looks and feels so normal save the thick layer of tension and anxiety and how silent the bus is.

And I absolutely do feel so cut off and unable to relate to everyone I know in quarantine, to all the jokes and memes and frustrations and shared experiences. It’s really hard.

I’ve mentioned a few times it’s like being in a parallel universe. It really, really is.

It is so much worse now.