Post Script: Single in the time of Virus


 by Frances Edstrom, columnist, Winona Post


Here we are, all hunkered down in our homes so we don’t continue the spread of the CORVID-19. I called my brother, and mentioned how hard it was to be all alone. We grew up with six kids and two parents, and were very often all at home, since back in the olden days, when school and work were over, people went home, had dinner, and stayed put. I went directly from there to college, living with about 1,000 other girls in a dorm, and almost directly from there to marriage. I am used to having people around.

He said, “Would you like to trade?”

But seriously, folks, with all the articles and TV news shows about this period of stay-at-home orders from the government, there is very little concern for single people. We’ve read about how parents cope with having kids around all day while they try to work from home, and how kids are being home schooled, or doing distance learning. We hear about schools and other organizations continuing to deliver meals to kids who need them. And the news is full of recipes for feeding the family now that restaurants are closed.

How about the 34-million people who live alone in this country and are now stuck at home? Who thinks about recipes for them? One pancake with one strip of bacon. Mac ’n’ cheese for one. One serving of birthday cake. It just doesn’t work, does it?

Singles are at a distinct disadvantage during this period of sequestration. While the rest of the population is searching for a quiet nook to be alone, we are rattling around in entire houses. One friend opined that perhaps a little solitude would be nice. To that, I respond, a mated person’s solitude is a single person’s solitary confinement.

All those families playing Monopoly and Sorry and Candyland? That sounds great to singles who are stuck playing solitaire, or computer bridge.

Reading, usually a single person’s refuge, becomes a burden. Libraries are closed, we’re running out of books. My friend Jim suggested I read Camus’ “The Plague.” Or how about Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death”?

The Friendship Center is closed, Sequoia Bridge is suspended, no card games at the Elks Club, no bingo at the Eagles Club, no swimming at the Y, all the social meeting places are closed. Restaurants are only doing take-out. What’s a single person to do? Sometimes we have to get in our cars and drive around town just to see other people.

Let’s hope this self-quarantine is over soon, and life gets back to normal. Until then, give your old mother/father/auntie/uncle/grandparent a call, or FaceTime. Try to talk about anything other than COVID-19!


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