Isolation has been tough. God made us social creatures, dogs and people alike.
Posted in , Dec 2, 2020
I miss hanging out with other humans, apart from my wife Julee and Jaseem, the cashier at the Quickmart down the road (sometimes his sister takes the register). Other than that, my contact with humanity has been woefully lean these past nine pandemic months sheltering here in western Massachusetts. It’s been doubly hard on Gracie, who loves people almost as much as she loves other dogs.
Yesterday I took her into town so she could get in some socializing, and she ended up dragging me into one of those little specialty craft shops the Berkshires are known for. The reason was apparent. There was another dog shopping, and Gracie wanted to say hello. Badly.
In a store full of pricey knickknacks, a golden retriever’s tail is a lethal weapon. I stifled it and pulled hard on her leash to slow her down. She extended her quivering nose, and gradually I let her greet her fellow canine. I felt for her. She was used to having an active social life at the dog run and around our Manhattan neighborhood, the way I was used to and probably took for granted all the people I interacted with every day at work, at the gym, in our building or simply navigating the narrow, downtown sidewalks near the Guideposts office. I even miss the people who would aggravate me by walking too slow.
Afterwards we went for a hike. Down the trail came a couple of medium-sized mixed breeds triggering a zoomie frenzy on Gracie’s part. Soon leashes were entangled, and I went flying. “They miss other dogs,” the owner said, unsnarling the leashes while I dusted off my dignity. No kidding.
God made us social creatures, dogs and people alike, and these months of isolation have been hard and lonely and unnatural. I even miss strangers, as strange as that sounds. I miss people I might have met. Or just plain people watching. Yet there is hope on the horizon with news of vaccines that can protect us against the virus. It fills my head with visions of sunny, maskless strolls in the park with Gracie and me greeting all comers without fear. That might be the worst part of all this, that we have come to fear our fellow humans.
Yet God did create us to seek out community, and He will bring us together again. Soon, I pray. Between now and then I will stay safe and deepen my appreciation for the society of other people, people I never realized it was so hard to live without. Then my own metaphorical tail will be wagging.