In isolation but not online much

My husband closed down his Facebook account.

He did so early this year and doesn’t regret it. It’s something I can’t do because as an author, I need to have a presence in cyberspace. But since isolation, I drift into my socials, take a quick look, then exit.

I’ve been enjoying a different life since we had to stay at home. Most days I walk, even with winter nearly here. These trips are usually with a backpack so I can grocery shop several suburbs away. On the days my husband doesn’t work, we go for an extended walk. Longer than my hour long shopping trips.

I’ve been reading, editing video and watching movies.

Before coronavirus hit close to home, we were planning renovations. For a while we moved out of home while new flooring was being laid, and so I could paint the living areas without having to deal with paint fumes at night. We packed a lot of furniture into alternate rooms (where new flooring wasn’t being laid) and somehow the book I was reading became trapped in the far corner of the kitchen. Even when I could hold it again, it lay untouched while features of our new look apartment were being tended to. I’m finally reading it again.

There are still some renovations outstanding but one thing that has been updated is our television. It’s bigger than any we’ve had before and so I’ve been treating myself to a film from our own collection most days.

This colour is called ‘Sydney Harbour’. It’s the feature wall behind the new TV. I wanted a dark colour to highlight whatever show we are watching.

I’ve also been editing video from a holiday we took back in 2005. I took so much footage back then that the thought of packaging it was too daunting. But now with time on my hands…

I’ve got a new appreciation for vanilla ice cream.

For my husband’s birthday last year I bought myself an ice cream maker. Hey! He still benefits. A friend’s favourite flavour is vanilla and besides making pistachio and Dutch chocolate with Swiss chocolate pieces, I’ve been experimenting to make the best vanilla ice cream. Creamy consistancy but not too rich. Not overpowered by sugar. Real vanilla pods.

Homemade vanilla ice cream.

I had the scrummiest homemade vanilla ice cream several years ago in New Orleans. I’m still trying to replicate it. Or at least, come close.

But I don’t check my social media in the morning anymore.

Some days I’m not even online. People visit us at home. My husband and I go for walks. I cook. I bake. I read. I play records or CDs or mp3s. I rediscover my movie collection. I learn to make coffee on our new espresso machine (a gift from a friend).

The organic world is so much more satisfying at the moment. It’s like comfort food. I still keep an eye on my socials. I check notifications and sometimes I check my feeds. I check certain groups and hashtags. Then I get back to real life. Or what we have at the moment.

However, I’m not writing.

With my husband working from home, I don’t have the peace and quiet I need. Before lockdown, I was busy on the sequel to Social Media Central, writing a chapter at a time based on my story outline. And yes some people on Twitter suggest ‘Just get it down on the page. You can edit it later.’

I’m at a stage where I can churn out an okay first draft. It will still have issues, but if I concentrate on it properly the first time around, it won’t need major surgery later.

I encourage you to distance yourself from social media.

When me and my husband walk together, we’ll say hello to everyone we pass. Many will respond while some, with earphones and phone, freak out when faced with an organic greeting. This is not a way to live life. It’s hardly living.

A cold morning park shot during a walk.

We are in a unique time when many have gone back to enjoying simple pleasures. And yes, sometimes you need technology for some of these. I have held the roving camera for a live online cooking class. I have chatted with friends in Dublin and Paris via webcam. In other words, I’ve used social media to actually socialise.

When all this is over, I’m ready to party like it’s 1999. No selfies. No digital record of the night I had. Just a healthy dose of face to face encounters.

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