Are You Home Alone? We Are Too

Credit…The New York Times

We spend a lot of our days chatting with each other about things we see online, trying to make sense of it all. As everyone copes with the new coronavirus crisis, many of us are facing drastic changes, including illness, job loss and abandoning the office to work entirely from home.

This week in the Styles newsletter, Wait …, Lindsey Underwood, a Styles editor; Taylor Lorenz, a Styles reporter; and Dodai Stewart, a deputy Metro editor, discuss what it’s like to live alone right now.

Dodai: Technically I’m not alone. I have a misanthropic antisocial Chihuahua.

Taylor: I am completely alone in a 400-square-foot box with some plants, and it’s beginning to really take a toll. I don’t even have a rooftop or fire escape to go on.

Lindsey: I’m sure to many people with kids or other family members to take care of, being alone sounds like a dream. My roommate skipped town weeks ago in favor of a country house, so I’ve been sprung into the new world of living by myself just for this occasion. It’s been a journey! Plus, I got sick.

Dodai: Oh no! My fear is being sick alone (or actually dying here and no one realizes it). I sent emergency contact information to two people at work and a small group of friends. I have two friends and my brother on Find My Friends on my iPhone so we can see where each other are in the city. But if you are always at home and then something happens to you at home, that doesn’t help much I guess.

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Taylor: It’s a big fear of mine too. Find My Friends is a good idea, or location sharing on iMessage and Google Maps. I try to just call my family and friends a lot.

Lindsey: I have never talked to my mom so much in my life. It’s helping though!

Dodai: Zoom happy hours and Houseparty gatherings to chat with my sister and brother and friends have been soothing. I also read some friends’ tarot cards over Google Hangouts for fun.

Taylor: I’ve done Zoom happy hours with friends and shown up to some Zoom events. Aside from one with a few other digital culture reporters, most have left me feeling more isolated. My main sources of joy throughout this quarantine have been TikTok and “Tiger King.”

Lindsey: Yeah, I’ve realized I don’t have any actual hobbies. Watching Bravo, while my life’s passion, is not a hobby. I ordered a puzzle and a cross-stitch kit. I have never cross-stitched anything! Everyone online seems to be doing a lot more cooking. I love cooking under normal circumstances, but I haven’t been inspired to get into bread making just yet. Maybe next week!

Taylor: Are you guys keeping any semblance of “normal work hours”? Without kids around or a partner who wants to eat dinner at a certain time, I just snack all day, never cook meals, and time just all bleeds together. There’s a TikTok that’s like, “my work is my home now, my home is my work and my work is my home.” I think about that all day! Haha.

Dodai: I’m definitely working more than normal. Editing stories about the virus in the city could be a 24-hour job.

Taylor: What I miss most is the office. I’ve worked remotely before, and it’s been terrible for my mental health. Now I feel like there’s no escape.

Dodai: The cleanliness situation is bad. I have six bags of garbage that need to be taken out and a bunch of dirty dishes, and if someone else were here I would feel guilty about the mess and take care of it sooner. Instead I’m letting it sit, because who cares?

Taylor: I take my trash out every day, but mostly because my apartment is so tiny that if it’s messy I get stressed out. I definitely have been lax on showering or wearing anything but pajama sets.

Dodai: Trying to shower every weekday morning so I’m not disheveled in our video meetings, but I only wear caftans now. The shower also wakes me up. But after nine or 10 hours of work, the last thing I want to do is housework, which is why the dishes have piled up.

Lindsey: I have never looked worse. The only time I sort of care is when friends share screenshots of our FaceTimes or Zoom parties on Instagram. I’m like wait, I didn’t know we were going out in public! There’s something freeing in it, though. We have bigger fish to fry than whether my hair looks good.

(This conversation has been edited.)

Some other things to read this week:

Have a good week!

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