Emmanuel G Escobar
Staying at Home
Quality time in Quarantine
It feels that this lockdown will last weeks, if not months. And staying at home for many of us will be difficult to deal with in these challenging times. But some of us might be living under different conditions, which for them staying at home isn’t so bad. After all, it’s about balance of one’s life and activities, which can still be accomplished despite the social distancing measures.
For some people, to be confined in a closed space, can be a living nightmare. For me however, it is less so, and perhaps what I have been living for all this time. For starters, I seldom go outside or go for runs, though my lab group has been wanting me to. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if one day a large mob showed up outside my house with pitch forks and torches demanding that I go out to Saturday Park Run. Funny thing is that I used to enjoy running when I was younger, and sports in general. As a teenager I was part of the District Unified Swim Team in Cook County, IL, USA. But it’s not like I wanted to be part of that swim team, it was more pressured on by my parents.
The same thing went when I wanted to learn to play the violin, because growing up with my father listening to classical music, I thought that’s something he might approve. The same went for when I learnt to play the trumpet and the piano. I was 21 when I decided to self-teach myself to play guitar, and learn the songs that I wanted to play. As for recreational activities, I have always preferred the quieter arts: writing, reading, pretending to be different characters in theatre class. Not much interest for outdoor sports. Though admittedly I once signed up for a rugby team, though that was later when I was 18 and I didn’t do much, except tackle other players that appeared slimmer than me.
Anyway, I also have a fear of the outside, mainly caused by fear of crowds and open spaces (agoraphobia), though this is largely more a fear of leaving the comfort, or rather, safety on my home. I suppose this is a result of growing up in one of Latin America’s murder capitals, not to mention being born during a civil war. There’s always a freedom to be outside, but in places like this, that freedom is often robbed from you and living in constant fear is the way of life. So for the part of having to stay at home, that is not a big problem for me as it would be for other people.
When I first moved to the UK, I lived in London. It was fine until the stories of late night muggings with machetes started to surface around my East London flat. It took me more than a year to gain to confidence to visit the home of one of my closest friends, who lived about 30 minutes away from my flat at the time. I also have a trend of sleeping through events such as low magnitude earthquakes, and more recently, London Riots of 2011, despite living on one of the main streets were gatherings took place. I could see myself sleeping through most of this without worry of it going on.
Finally, I am very comfortable with the luxury of technology and access to the world without leaving my house. Let’s get it done quickly though. I use both MacOS and Windows; I grew up with using both, mainly the former at school and latter at home. Though personally my favourite is always going to be Windows XP, followed by Windows 7. Though, recently, in 2016 I moved almost entirely to MacOS, mostly for work-related purposes. Let’s be serious, no self-proclaimed PC gamer will ever acknowledge Macs as gaming machines. And as gamer myself, I keep a dedicated gaming PC in the background so I can play games. Second to my love of computers, I am fan of desks and monitors, and IKEA makes some really nice, simple working surfaces.
So self-isolation for gaming fanatic, hermits like me might not be so bad after all. And perhaps I am being too extreme in my description. I think I have been better at facing challenges and tackling my fears. And I feel that it is much easier to commit to something when there is a duty and responsibility to do so. Ironically, the duty for most of us right now is to stay at home, and minimise the time that is spent outside with others.
At least the sun is shining and the days seem to be brighter.
Edited on August 28, 2022 12:55 PM BST: Formatting and general edits.