A red plastic ball rolls down the hallway, though I’m not sure who hit it. Had to have been one of the cats, because everyone else is sleeping, I think. The vague sounds of the house settling is no unusual note to my early morning. In a minute, I’ll hear the jingling of tags on my dog’s collar, and he’ll want to go out — or, maybe not. I already hear the sound of the television in the front bedroom, and ah, yes, there goes the coffee maker.

For a brief moment, I consider laying back on the couch and dozing for a few minutes before I really just have to go — no questions asked. Of course, I don’t. I grab a shirt, my shoes, all the stuff I need to be socially accepted, though at this point who’s out there to judge me? Briefcase slung over my shoulder, I head out the door.

The sound of silence outside is palpable, tangible, even; like I could just reach out and grab it. Normally, there’s the rush of vehicles on the closest highways and the interstate, as well as the sound of vehicles warming in their driveways, or getting ready to leave. Today, and for the last week or so, it’s been almost completely silent. There have been no car doors, no idling motors, nothing. These days it’s just me, quietly getting in my car and heading on down to work.

The roads are virtually empty, too, which is even wilder. I meet maybe one or two vehicles on the way in, and one of those is usually police or EMS. Most aren’t inbound for a call either, just riding. It’s a quick trip to work, usually, because of how clear it’s been.

Work is a different animal, too.  It used to be full days of customers coming in to the storefront to get hot, brewed coffee, or to pick up bagged coffee from the shelves. Now, we still serve customers curbside — so, as to conform to Health standards in the midst of this crisis, but we’re otherwise empty. I’ve taken the opportunity to read between roasts, and sometimes write, but mostly just keep my head low and go about my day with as little human contact as possible.

Our cafe, which was full regularly, now sits empty most days. It’s an experience worthy of note, that’s for certain. There is truly something to be said about the precautions we’ve all had to take.

The biggest awakening I’ve had during this craziness is that as much as I’d like to say that I enjoy my time alone, in my home, taking my date nights in front of a television instead of a theater screen — I’m every bit the extrovert that both I, and my wife, know that I am. As Ariel says, I want to be where the people are.

For now, I just can’t. And you shouldn’t either.

So, take this time to grow, and learn. Become a better version of you. Use it to reflect, healthily, and decide who you should be when we come out of our cocoons.

 

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