Right now mobile home parks are teeming with visitors and spring breakers. Where I live, our two swimming pools, golf course, tennis courts and other amenities make peace and quiet a thing I vaguely remember existed. As I sit in my patio in the morning, loud-talking walkers go by, wrongly believing the world is interested in what they think. Quietly to myself I say, “shut up you people and go home.”
Yes, they are a boon to the economy but I long for Easter when Canadians and northern state residents make their pilgrimages home. I fondly remember that come June, I could lie naked on the road outside and no car would go by for an hour.
Am I a misogynist? Do I hate people? Not really, but I want to interact with them on my terms. That’s why I don’t live in a condo — otherwise called “beehive” living — where you hear your neighbors above, below and on either side. My mobile home is perfectly placed with the boundary fence behind me that provides a large lawn, and only one neighbor 15 feet away on either side.
It’s said that extroverts spend time with people to recharge while introverts seek quiet and shrink from people to regroup their energies.
That is certainly true about me. Two weeks in the hospital and eight weeks in semi-quarantine were prescribed for my recovery from pneumonia. Now immortalized as the “Whoopi Goldberg” disease, doctors called it “community acquired pneumonia,” whatever that means. It’s doctor-speak for “you could catch it anywhere there’s a crowd.”
During the first two weeks at home, I coughed up phlegm until my ribs felt broken. I smoked the “peace pipe” otherwise known as the nebulizer, to calm the inflammation. By week three, the cough disappeared along with the “goobers” of phlegm. I wasn’t prepared for Phase Two of my recovery, otherwise known as “The Walking Dead” phase. By three in the afternoon, my mind became foggy and a profound exhaustion overtook me. My recliner became my friend and I couldn’t move for eight hours. I watched what seemed like 100 hours of TV and read 20 books.
I tried to accomplish one task a day, either loading the dishwasher or doing one load of laundry. As I improved I would sit on the floor and go through one kitchen or bedroom drawer a day, pitching what I didn’t use. Then I went through my bookshelf, removing books that no longer interested me. My box of costume jewelry was next, followed by my linen closet. All these things were accomplished in the morning while I had use of my brain.
During week three of my self-imposed quarantine, I went for an X-ray, which showed my lungs had healed by 30 percent. Now in week four, not much has changed. The fatigue begins at lunchtime and gets worse as the day wears on.
What is the silver lining in all this? I stopped being contagious when I finished my medicine. But the nurses gave me face masks to wear when I run errands to protect me from others germs. But it has the delightful effect of being a people repellent. They think just the opposite; that I am a danger to them, not the other way around. But it’s become a great prop to use when I go out. People spread like the Red Sea when they see me coming.
So, it has guaranteed a quiet, unremarkable recovery for me. I’ve thought of sitting outside in the mornings when the walkers move past. One look at me and they would find another route. Best of all, my neighbors still think I’m contagious as well. It really cuts down on annoying visits to borrow a cup of sugar. I’ll come clean one day. But for now, this introvert is enjoying the seclusion, and still has DVDs to watch and books to read. Isn’t life good?
Cristina Coffin, Largo