Wouldn’t it be nice if we woke up this Wednesday (Apr. 1) morning and a gigantic megaphone belted out, “April Fools! There is no coronavirus pandemic!”? Sort of like Orson Welles’ radio depiction of “The War of the Worlds” that was broadcast on Oct. 30, 1938, claiming that aliens from Mars had invaded New Jersey. Thousands of Americans were terrified before it was determined to be a radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel. No such luck with COVID-19. It’s real and doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
As days and now weeks of social distancing pass by, I’ve wondered if it is more difficult for extroverts than introverts. In general terms, introverts don’t mind quiet and aloneness — for a while, anyway. Extroverts are more likely to thrive on social contact, groups and activity.
I had a colleague at the law firm where I worked for many years in Seattle, a fellow paralegal, who is the consummate extrovert. She was unflappable in the face of any kind of adversity: working with attorneys who were difficult at times, serious family medical issues, or any kind of office challenge. Her smile and pleasant behavior were undeniable.
Gifted with a beautiful singing voice, she belonged to various singing groups over the years including an award-winning quartet. The firm hired the group one Valentine’s Day to deliver a “singing Valentine” to the office. We all stood in the lobby as the quartet sang The Turtles song “Happy Together.” What an upbeat time that was!
I wondered how Syd was doing with all this. She retired about the same time I did and has kept up her singing with a chorus, until now. I noticed that she posted a picture of a group of women meeting together online. I asked her if she could tell me more about the picture.
She answered, “Twenty-five of us met for the first time using a teleconferencing app. We shared our stories and some tears and laughter for an hour. We’ll continue to meet every week and add rehearsal type activities, including some singing, to our ‘meetings.’ Lots of choruses are starting to meet this way. It’s definitely a wonderful way to stay safely connected. Thank you for asking, my friend!”
My personal extrovert friends here in the valley are spending a lot of time on the telephone checking in with their social circle and beyond — a little like the old days when the telephone was our primary means of communication.
Adaptation. We’ve all been forced to adapt to this current reality in different ways.
There has been some concern about second homeowners hunkering down in the Methow. As I walked down the lane, it occurred to me that two-thirds of the homes are “second homes” and most all, if not all, are currently occupied by their owners. These folks are part of the fabric of the valley. They serve on boards, they volunteer, they contribute financially to nonprofits, and they mind their Ps and Qs with respect to the beautiful valley. As Winthrop Mayor Ranzau stated, “They have a right to be here.” I hope we can all respect them, in return.