Contact – Without the contact:
It’s not that difficult in our age of technology. Pick up the phone, send a text, email, a good joke, a photograph of your day, especially to those who really are alone.
As my mother-in-law always says: “There is always someone worse off than yourself.”
Me: Where? I live so isolated I never get to see “someone”.
Write That Email:
That email that has been nagging you for years; I wrote (and sent!) the thank you letters I owed guests for my birthday bash two years ago. (They hardly remembered the party, let alone the gift, so I filled the emails with photos from the night. It took ages combing through the photos, but I had fun reliving the party.) Don’t give an excuse (though I did, it was most of the letter – besides all the pictures) – Just do it.
Call Someone Who Is Alone:
Find old Aunt Mildred’s telephone number and just call her (of course she will still be annoying – people don’t change just because there is a pandemic), but you will feel good and she will be happy – so it’s a win-win.
You might end up feeling terribly bad- not because she is still the World’s Most Annoying Aunt- but because she still manages to annoy you so much. And, even though you have been an adult for many years now, hopefully she will be happy that she still manages to annoy you and that means that you have done a good thing.
If it makes her feel bad, guilty, whatever, well, at least it’s given you both something to do for five minutes, and you can both use the rest of the day fuming in/over Life’s Little Annoyances.
Otherwise, if you really are a coward, and she has a cellphone, can use it, and she can still read, then Send a Text. Just show her that you are thinking of her – you don’t have to wish her well – but she will be happy, and you don’t even have to read her reply. Immediate Delete or tap Spam if you fear more are on their way.
With all the technology available to us to talk and see each other online, there really is no excuse not to use it. And you don’t even need their numbers! So video chat someone you have not seen in years. “Surprise!”
Remember: you are on video – get out of the pj’s and brush your hair. (But the really fun bit is “surprising” them in their Isolation Outfits.)
It does have the odd down-side though- they may not reply at first, because they are getting out of their now-ragged “Isolation Outfits”. Or, maybe they’re just ignoring your sudden appearance on their screen, but they cannot keep playing the “Let’s Pretend I’m Not at Home game”, so don’t be put-off! Keep trying! Or, just move on to the next unsuspecting person.
I sent a long, chatty Whats-app to an ex who lives in Japan and sat excitedly waiting for the even-longer, chattier, wittier “OMG-it’s-You” reply. Instead: Fine. You seem too.
There was not even a question mark anywhere, so obviously no reply or answer wanted.
And remember the hour difference. I like to think of that being the reason for the many extremely short, small-worded replies, maybe I am disturbing people in the middle of something, like the night?
Desperate times desperate measures: Facebook.
Facebook has actually helped me in the worst of times. When Zimbabwe was crumbling, and everyone was leaving, Facebook kept me together with friends, neighbours even girls from boarding school whom I vowed I never wanted to ever-frikkin see again. I have followed their lives, gawked/giggled at whom they married, watched their children grow up and their pets grow old.
And when their posts get too desperate or political, too full of My Meal photos or grand/god children, there is the magic touch: ‘Unfriend’.
If you are not out to show how many followers YOU have, it is also great to follow friends on a different level (or whatever topic amuses you). I have two accounts: the one is my Art and is open to the world. The other, is strictly for Friends, and is closed, and very, very small.
Turns out the guy with the most jokes is my sister’s ex-fiance… Who would have thought that an ex-Detective Warrant Officer would be that funny? (– because he wasn’t when they dated.) Create a Joke Group: you are contacting people daily (or hourly depending on the humour of the individuals) and you are getting a laugh each time they contact the group. Remember, everyone’s humour is different and you will notice it changing as Lockdown wares on… Just be polite, you don’t have to pretend to laugh, no one is watching. But you can continue sharing your jokes, and we all know that it’s so boring to laugh alone. Laughter is for Sharing. Sharing is Caring.
Our group is on Messenger and is called Laughter in the Time of Corona.
But honestly, there are a group of very lonely people in Isolation, and whom will sadly be alone for a while because they dare not venture out, and we need to be there for them, to cheer them up, making sure that their every day is a good day.
We do not go anywhere that involves people as we have to safe for my mother, otherwise we cannot meet.
I forward the odd, slightly appropriate joke from The Joke Group to others living on their own and hope that it helped put a smile back into their loneliness/isolation. We have certain people we make the twice-weekly video chat with, we have a family get-together and call or video chat – my mother-in-law is stuck in her apartment in Copenhagen and dares not to venture beyond the lift, and I know that she appreciates the calls, the pictures, (even the jokes), but she loves seeing us the most. That’s all she has without the real contact. I wish we did it more often.
And that old Aunt, well I wish that I had the courage to even do it. A text will have to do.