column nick greenizan

COLUMN: Taking a page from the hermit handbook

The excitement of going out into the world has worn off

We were out of cream, and in our coffee-addicted household, this constituted a real emergency.

I was left with two options – make a quick 10-minute trip to the grocery store, or drink my coffee black.

I chose the former, which meant I actually had to – gulp – leave the house. I put on pants and everything.

Talk about a chore.

It was at that point that I realized what I had become – or more accurately, what this pandemic had made me into: a recluse.

About a year ago, we were all heading into the first few days of what at times has felt like a never-ending lockdown, and I recall the excitement that even the most mundane of errands would bring.

We have to get groceries? Sign me up. Need a bottle of wine? I’ll go. We’re out of laundry detergent? Where are my keys?

Every little outing felt like a trip to Disneyland. There were times I felt like a dog in a car. If it was safe to drive with my head out the window, cheeks flapping in the breeze, I might’ve done it.

What a difference a year makes.

Last summer, I wrote a column about how great it felt to get out and go for a walk – I may have compared myself to a prisoner on day parole – but now? Now, I feel like I’ve grown accustomed to my hypothetical cell, even though most actual prisons don’t allow inmates to have king-size beds and flat-screen TVs.

This transformation – from bemoaning the fact I can’t leave the house, to complaining now that I have to – follows a path akin to the five stages of grief.

At first, there was denial – “This COVID thing isn’t that bad. It’ll be fine,” – followed swiftly by anger, bargaining, and depression – staying away from family over the Christmas holidays only made it worse.

There’s a line in one of the more recent Rocky movies, where Sylvester Stallone’s title character says, “If you stay in one place long enough, you become that place,” and while my house and I don’t have a lot of similarities aside from a few unsightly curves and a tendency to be cold, one thing is the same – both our foundations are firmly rooted in the ground beneath us.

All of this is to say the excitement of going out into the world has worn off – a thought that I freely admit would be right out of the hermit handbook, if such a thing were to exist.

This feeling was further cemented last week, after my wife and I signed up for Amazon Prime, the expedited shipping service brought to you by everyone’s favourite billionaire. (The merits of such a service, and the company in general, is column fodder for another day).

I know grocery-delivery services aren’t new – and have only increased in popularity during the pandemic – but we’ve never availed ourselves of them, mostly because we live not more than four blocks away from two grocery stores.

But things are different now. The last year has changed us – and probably not for the better. Whereas before, a trip to the store seemed like a novelty, now, the novelty is in not having to go at all.

I’m sure at some point, that too will wear thin, and I will once again throw open my door and go outside. But for now, I’ve moved beyond that fourth stage of grief and into the fifth – acceptance that indoors is my happy place.

At least until I’m once again faced with the prospect of drinking black coffee.

Nick Greenizan is a reporter at the Peace Arch News.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sports broadcaster and 30-year high school football coach Farhan Lalji. (Image via farhanlalji.com)
Farhan Lalji chats about the new B.C. high school sports governance proposal

Lalji, a 30-year high school football coach, thinks the new proposal will be bad for student athletes

Delta character - and former White Rock resident - Pansy May Stuttard inspects a loaded revolver in the cover photo for Jim Dwight and Gary Cullen’s fascinating biography, Lord don’t want me Devil won’t take me. Contributed photo
West Coast’s ‘Pistol-packin’ Pansy’ lives on in colourful biography

Infamous Delta character ended her days in White Rock and South Surrey

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo)
Surrey councillor trying to get policing referendum on the table, again

‘I’m sending it back for clarification,’ mayor decides

(Photo: MOSAIC/Facebook)
Organization receives $10K from B.C. government to tackle racism in Surrey, White Rock

Funding to go toward forum for International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
‘In grief for our dying world’: B.C. climate activists embark on 4-day protest

Demonstrators will walk through Vancouver for the first two days before boarding a ferry Sunday morning

Most Read