So recently I stepped out to go to an outdoor mall to pick up some food alone, wearing my mask of course. I hadn’t been out in such a public outdoor space with quite a few people surrounding me since March. The experience was was not a pleasant one. I could feel my face turn up into sour when someone stepped too close to me or if they were walking too slow to my liking. Thank god my facemask was covering up half my face because my face is essentially a canvas for my emotion so without my mask it would have been pretty obvious how I was feeling. I just remember speed walking my way through the mall, annoyed at all the people surrounding me over the smallest things like blocking my way or stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to take a stretch. At that moment I realized I had slowly become a bit hermit-like. See, these actions done by people prior to quarantine would not have bugged me before but now that I’ve spent so much time with myself at home, the smallest inconveniences caused by others has truly become a pain point.
As for the rest of the experience, I rushed through the mall as fast I as I could to get my food and left. I’ll admit part of this reason was obviously due to social distancing but the other half of it was I hadn’t been around this many strangers in while and it was quite a bit uncomfortable. Where to look, what to do with my hands, what do while I’m awkwardly waiting for my food, was anyone watching me? It honestly made me questions if I wanted to order from such a public setting such as an outdoor mall again. This was for obvious reasons because malls aren’t ideal for social distancing but also, I’m ashamed to it say it but because I was uncomfortable seeing so many people again. I know that obviously you should make an effort to minimize contact with others as much as possible. So yes, it makes sense that I was in a hurry to just pick up my food and leave. But what I’m also trying to say is that wasn’t the sole reason I was in a hurry. I felt very self-conscious and as an introvert this has always been something I’ve dealt with. But a mall hand’t bothered me before. Now that I’ve grown accustomed to being in the comfort of my home I’ve slowly forgotten how to adapt to situations where I’m uncomfortable.
Although I’m not saying I’m a recluse, I still hang out with friends in my circle adhering to social distancing guidelines. I will say, I don’t feel totally at ease stepping out alone. I haven’t done it in so long and I’ve gotten too used to interacting with my friends over virtual zoom meetings and the convenience of ordering all my groceries/shopping necessities online to be delivered. Now I am going to have to consciously make an effort, when I do step out even it is to just to grab a bagel or coffee to not have such a bad attitude and not see stepping out of the house as an inconvenience, but more as way of getting back to some normalcy.