How Corona changed my life

It was February. I celebrated my birthday. I found a new apartment. And at the end of the month the first reports about the corona virus reached my ears.

I wasn’t particularly worried. After all, it was no worse than a bad flu, eh? So life went on as usual. Well, not quite, as I was moving house and that’s always a lot of work, but when you’re about 90% wheelchair dependent, things get just a little more complicated.

It was March, and it became apparent that this corona virus was actually quite a bit more serious than the flu. I was starting to feel uneasy about it.

On March 15 our prime minister declared what he called an “intelligent lockdown”, and although I wanted to go into self-isolation then, I could not. I was moving on March 25, and not only did I need to pack up my old apartment, but I also needed to get my new apartment ready – and I could not possibly do that alone. I needed the help of my friends.

By the time I moved out of my old apartment and into my new one, I was very unhappy about one of the movers coughing and sneezing. It scared the crap out of me, because it was abundantly clear that this virus was particularly nasty and catching it might have serious consequences for me.

After the move I was only too happy to go into voluntary self-isolation. I needed to unpack, and there were lots of jobs in my new apartment that still needed to be done. And I could do them at my leisure. The hurry was over.

Contrary to many others, who obviously had a hard time dealing with the restrictions, I actually enjoyed the social distancing measures. For the most part, anyway. I enjoyed the peace and quiet. The reduced traffic, the cleaner air.

Above all, I loved the 5 feet (yes, only 5 ft here) rule. No more people invading my personal space bubble. No more hugs and kisses. No more handshakes or other physical contact. It felt like heaven. It still does!

On the other hand, I regretted not being able to go to my music lessons or aikido training. Yet, even that had its advantages. Because, make no mistake, though I loved these activities, they were mentally exhausting.

Dealing with people is not an autistic’s strongest point. And if you are a neurotypical being, you’d probably be amazed at the amount of planning to goes into going anywhere. There’s so much you have to think about – which for most ordinary humans is a subconscious process – you’re already tired by the time you close the front door behind you.

It’s been a couple of months now. Most of the jobs in the apartment have been done – except for the ones that will be done by professionals hired by the council. I fully expect to have to wait till September – at the very earliest – before the workers will show up at my place. Meanwhile there’s not much I can do about that. And that’s OK.

Slowly, I’m settling into a new routine. I wake up, have a tea and a bite to eat. I feed the cats and scoop the cat trays. I might even get dressed, comb my hair and have a shave – or not, depending on whether or not I can be arsed, because who’s going to be seeing me anyway? The cats honestly don’t care.

I’ll swiffer the floors and do some other housework, and after that I start up my computer to get writing.

That’s probably one of the best things corona has given me: She brought my Muse back. And so I spend my days with my cats and my best friends: the characters from my story, The Elven Curse. Some of them have been with me for over a decade already, others only just came into my life. All of them are very dear to me.

Who needs to spend time with their real friends, when they’re already having so much fun with their imaginary ones? Who needs Netflix, when they only need their own imagination to be transported to whole new realms?

Bored? Lonely? Never!

I’m an autistic, and so far, Corona has made my life better. I hope I can continue to self-isolate and stay safe and healthy.

How about you? Do you love or hate the lockdowns and social distancing? And if the restrictions have been eased or lifted where you live, how do you feel about that?

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