A whole new form of social sustenance grew up within a five-block radius of my house. I started to go for regular evening walks with a neighbour, and we grew genuinely close; we were each other’s decompression valves from the pressures of a hectic life largely contained within four walls.Orange Lingerie Parent friends came over to drink beer and play in our backyard with their kids; we weren’t going anywhere else. (A moment of appreciation for the birthday party circuit reprieve.) When the weather got warm, on a whim, I invited a parent friend last minute to come with us to Jacob Riis beach with his two little boys, and he came. He told me of his years working as a PA on film shoots and how he met his wife when she was married to another man. We’ve texted maybe twice since, and yet I still feel sort of close to him. I mean, the bad art friend thought that she was genuinely close to the woman who mocked her behind her back – who is to say what really constitutes intimacy?
In the summer of 2021, when a tantalising glimpse of a vaccinated normal was within our sights, my family moved – for a year – to another city. Suddenly, my pandemic-precipitated neighbourhood intimacies vanished, and I found myself bringing my kids to school amid a sea of unfamiliar faces. There was only one coffee shop within walking distance, and an old lady yelled at my six-year-old for standing too close the first time we visited it, so repeat visits to establish a friendship with the baristas held little appeal. Pink Lingerie Visiting the office – which I had begun to do once or twice a week in the summer – now required a three-hour train ride. Most of the time, when people in the office gathered for a meeting, I was one of the silent squares hovering on a conference room Zoom screen, straining to catch some of the casual cross-talk.
I felt as though I was starting over with my own private pandemic: isolated, rarely going anywhere, but exhausted all the same. And if the actual pandemic gave me back the time I had spent commuting or attending events that didn’t, ultimately, have much meaning to me, this new personal pandemic didn’t give me anything that I wasn’t already accustomed to having. I already knew the rhythms of a work-from-home life, the faint thrill of only washing my hair twice a week. Printed Lingerie Without my neighbourhood friend to pressure me (and vice versa) into an evening walk, I often let the workday drift into the evening domestic shift (dinner, bath, bed) without so much as a gulp of fresh air between them.