If I don’t go into the living room, I will miss my partner talking on the phone to surgeons who are cancelling elective surgeries. And if I do go into the living room I’ll miss what’s happening in this room—namely, waiting for a Zoom link to load.

And if I go to the kettle-boiling event in the kitchen I’ll miss the squirrel hopping around on the fire escape, and you can never predict when that will happen again. But if I watch the squirrel I’ll miss our social plan for the foreseeable future: sitting on the couch wearing noise-cancelling headphones.

If I stand at my windowsill anxiety-stroking the leaves of my plant, I’ll miss whatever is going on in my closet, and I’ve never been there before and I’ve been meaning to go.

And while I’m here, repositioning my desk against a different wall to create a sense that I have left the room in the past ten hours, I’m missing being inside all my friends’ homes while they reposition their desks against another wall to create a sense that they’ve left the room in the past ten hours, and I didn’t go to that yesterday, either.

I’ve already committed to squeezing inside our storage space for the next half hour to recount the number of toilet-paper rolls. The only thing is, then I’ll miss crouching in the living room and picking my own hairs off the carpet in order to create a sense of control over the uncontrollable. It can be so hard to judge what really is better for your health: a more intense workout of jumping up and down in place in front of your stove or a more relaxed workout of floor yoga poses beneath your bed. Either way, I’ll know that someone, somewhere, is having a Google Hangout without me.

If I sit on the edge of the tub telling myself to be brave, I’ll miss standing at the window, looking down at the street, and thinking that one good thing about not having a dog to walk is that I don’t have to touch as many doorknobs. And who knows when I’ll get another opportunity to take a selfie with that dog from sixty yards away?

If I maintain my public image by choosing a fly outfit, walking down the street with confidence, and looking into the dark windows of shuttered restaurants, then I’ll miss ordering the “It” cocktail to go at my favorite bar in a Styrofoam cup.

And if I go to the grocery store to wander the aisles of canned food which have nothing left but artichokes in a jar and dented cans of pearl onions I’ll miss Skyping with my friend while we say over and over, “This is so crazy,” and maybe this is the one time someone really cool shows up to that.

I would sit at the dining-room table with a thermometer in my mouth for the second time today, but I’d hate to miss listening to my partner negotiate airline refunds, especially since it’s spring break.

And if I call my primary-care physician to ask if my cough is coronavirus-related I’ll miss the tri-daily bannister sanitation, and I already responded to that event on Facebook as “interested.” And if I go to my primary-care physician’s office in Manhattan for a test I’ll miss watching another hour of a dystopian show that used to scare me when I could still leave the house without wearing latex gloves.

And if I test positive for the virus and go to a hospital I’ll miss lying on a hospital bed in a gymnasium. And if I go to a gymnasium I’ll miss the while-supplies-last pop-up shop of disinfecting wipes. And if I recover from the coronavirus then I’ll miss being injected with the new vaccine.

But if I don’t get the new vaccine then I’ll get the coronavirus. So it’s really hard to judge what the best move is.

Honestly, sometimes I just want to stay home and do nothing at all. ♦

Source: www.newyorker.com/feed/everything