I’ve deactivated FaceTime for a reason
I can almost see the tiniest hint of a rainbow starting to form up in the sky right now; it brings me some hope.
I’m doing great. Mostly — sometimes, that is not a lie. The endless amount of hours we have spent alone, topped by underlying depression, has been genuinely exhausting. And, on top of that, I often find myself not wanting to talk to anyone.
Actual conversations have been far and few throughout isolation. I’ve missed the good ol’ days when I had to yell at someone at the bar to stop touching me — or acting like I’m listening to someone drunkenly screaming (at the top of their lungs) for me to play a pop song when I’m in the DJ booth. Nowadays, twenty-four hours might go by, and I realize I haven’t spoken a single word out loud — except to tell Jackson I love him, who gives me nothing but eye rolls.
I appreciate a good straightforward phone call, especially when a red-light flash warning text precedes it. I’m not much of a Zoomer; I loathe FaceTime with an unbridled distaste and disdain. So, much so in fact, that I gracefully pulled a Kleenex out of its box and covered my phone with it when someone FaceTimed me at 2 a.m. the other morning. “That little piece of Kleenex should teach them,” I said to myself.
On a regular COVID-19 day, I interact with just a handful of people. One of them is the Mexican stock boy at my bodega, who thinks Jackson’s name is Matthew (I’ve let him believe that it is over the past five years because it’s just less trouble). The postal clerk Audrey, who I visit almost every day, always says hello to Jackson and me. (She has such a kind manner and the most incredible amount of patience-which I’m starting to notice I lack lately.) And then there are the three brothers that operate the store across the street from me, and each of them genuinely treats me like family when I come in to shop. These are the folks I talk to regularly.
I’ve noticed that people have been reluctant to reach out to others over this past year. It has been challenging to talk and have an actual conversation, despite how much we as humans need that interaction. But some people simply don’t know how to reach out, and that’s understandable. I’m not always in the mood to talk anyways.
I go through periods where I think I have no one to talk to; we all know that’s not true. I know people in my life will always have an ear for me — but who wants to hear a broken-hearted saga of how much dog shit I scooped up this week.
I more often than not find myself going down a rabbit hole on social media. The truth is that I do genuinely like something when I “heart” it. But, there is a dark side to those endless nights of scrolling.
The world is regurgitating so much stuff at us right now; it’s a lot to handle. The amount of hate and racism that is happening is simply numbing. The police are still killing black Americans and getting away with it. Our transgender and gender non-conforming families are being murdered at an alarmingly frightening rate, yet their deaths go unnoticed. Most recently, the heinous attacks on Asian Americans are so repulsive they make me sick to my stomach. Our farm workers have not stopped getting food from the fields to our tables without fair pay.
I keep asking myself what the hell is wrong with people. Opening up any of my social media apps is a frightening gamble. I find myself continually gasping at the things that pop up on my feed.
I have to remind myself to breathe. And not beat myself up if I can’t answer that call or reply to all the text messages and phone calls. (Remember: no FaceTiming… or you will get the Kleenex treatment.)
In truth, I can’t wait to talk to you face-to-face, sans wearing a mask. I want to see your smile when I yell at you. But until then, please text first.