An introvert’s guide to living life while ‘social distancing’

An introvert’s guide to living life while ‘social distancing’By BRIAN COSNER, News Review Staff Writer

With two Kern County residents testing positive (at press time) for COVID-19, aka coronavirus, authorities are asking members to practice “social distancing” to aid the effort to slow the spread and mitigate its impact on our healthcare infrastructure – and ultimately save lives.

Social distancing means working from home, learning online, “visiting” with others via phone or the internet and avoiding large gatherings. While there are many for whom this lifestyle will be a difficult transition, these are things that others have accomplished, even preferred, for years. These others are known as the introverts.

Now some who know me may question my claim of introvert status – for truly I’m an “ambivert” (one who can function comfortably as either). But I live with a true introvert who has proofread this and says it checks out.

When it comes to working from from home, the key is location, location, location. Setting up in bed or on a couch could spell trouble. It’s important to find a desk or table in a “work-like” environment to help you stay focused. Avoid being near a TV or other screens because one episode of “The Office” can easily turn into eight or nine.

Being home alone in the 20th century doesn’t necessarily prevent one from being social. While there’s plenty of room to debate the philosophical differences between today’s countless modes of communication versus those in the past, people are more connected to each other in many ways than they ever have been.

Everybody from Zoomers to Boomers seems to have a Facebook profile. Anybody can create a group and host a “watch party” where you can collectively watch, comment on and react to a video from the comfort of your respective homes. You could even watch a movie together by doing a Facebook Live video from your phone (though I admittedly have not researched how kosher this is from a copyright law standpoint. So, maybe don’t.)

Websites and extensions like Watch2Gether, Gaze, Netflix Party, Kosmi and other sites give people collaborative online media experiences, some of which integrate directly with other websites like YouTube.

Now unlike Italy, Ridgecrest is short on high-rise, balconied apartment complexes and perhaps also less endowed with an inherently rich classical art culture so we may not be treating each other to impromptu performances of “Nessun Dorma” (if you’ve been on the internet, you probably know what I’m talking about). But we’re not short on musicians looking for gigs.

Melomania Entertainments had to unfortunately postpone its annual Ridgecrest Music Festival, which was originally scheduled for mid April. But meanwhile, Moe’s Music is collaborating with Mc2 to live stream a concert featuring local band “Dropkick Boomer” on Saturday evening, March 21 (see related story).

Moe’s co-owner Ashley Jones said the concert will be a “proof of concept,” with hopefully more live-streamed shows to follow.

Speaking of live streams, due to cancelled shows and other entertainment opportunities, The Metropolitan Opera is streaming live recordings of past shows every night at 7:30 p.m. on it’s website. Just go to the homepage (metopera.org) and click the “WATCH NOW” link. Links remain available until 3:30 p.m. the next day.

Most gamers already know that you can chat with friends at 2 a.m. from the comfort of your computer chair, surrounded by depleted cans of Mountain Dew and tubs of Utz Cheese Balls. But if you didn’t know – why not download League of Legends? It’s a free-to play cooperative game and with a built-in chat interface, you can team up with four friends and dominate the rift. If somebody asks you what you were doing up so late, my response is always “teamwork-building exercises.”

Remember those reports about how Americans today read too many books? Neither do I. Read a book! I’m sure you have books somewhere in your house that you inherited for some reason and never got around to. Stock up if you can and get some good reading time in. And if it’s a bad book – hey, you’ve addressed your potential toilet paper shortage.

With programs like Audible and Openculture, there are also countless titles available in audio form. Just sit back, listen and let a story pass the time for you.

So hunker down, wash your hands, stay safe and try to have a good time. Staying home doesn’t mean you have to be alone if you don’t want to. And if you do want to be alone – there are enough cat videos on the internet to watch by yourself until the end of time.

Story First Published: 2020-03-20