Writing Prompt: Quarantine

Bear's Den

Bear’s Den, a Trustees of Reservations park in Mass.

Sometimes the prompts hit just a little too close to home. We can ignore them in our 30 minutes of writing, but I usually forget that and flail ahead. Hence…


The first definition of quarantine, the noun, is “a period of 40 days.” Who knew? Why that? Biblical? Second definition pertains to shipping—isolating in port if suspected of carrying disease. Like those cruise ships, I suppose. Only the last two definitions sound anything like what we have going on now with COVID-19. “a restraint upon activities” or a state of enforced isolation.

Ah, it’s from the French for 40. Doesn’t explain how someone decided that length of time.

How long has this one been going on? Since March…24. When only nine people in the state had died. So way more than 40 days. And for some of us, continuing for the unforeseeable future.

I pity the extroverts. This has been torture for some of my friends, used to socializing and hugging, and now thrown into a lonely pit of despair with this shutdown.

For us introverts, however, it’s almost a gift.

“Wanna get together for lunch?”

“Sorry, no…Quarantine.”

How long will I be able to keep that up?

“There’s a vaccine now, let’s see a movie.”

“It hasn’t been tested on enough people yet.”

“It’s been a year since the vaccine, let’s go shopping!”

“But it’s only 50 percent effective, and they still don’t know all the side effects. Can’t risk it, sorry.”

Once the apocalypse is over, and I’ve no doubt we’re in it right now—I’ve been predicting it for years—I wonder what the world will look like. The only ones left will be us introverts, hunkered and hiding. We may never know there are others out there, each of us alone in our houses. I suppose the city introverts will clue in when they see a few faces in the windows across the street. We’ll ease out of isolation slowly, like bears from hibernation, and look at a world changed, emptied of the partiers, the maskless masses.

We’ll revel in the silence. There are slightly more introverts than extroverts—according to the first page pulled up in a web search, so it must be right. Therefore roughly half the world population will succumb to COVID. That could only be good for the planet. That’s one way to cut carbon emissions.

Us survivors will create new businesses, inspired by contactless curbside pickup. A new civilization based on not approaching another human within six feet. Might make procreation difficult, but not impossible. Contactless sex. We can build robots for that. Turkey basters will be back in vogue.

A world of introverts. Even I can’t imagine the possibilities.


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