Opinion

Isolation diaries 4 - what a Tangled web I weave

By Andrew Johnston

“AND so I'll read a book/or maybe two or three. I'll add a few new paintings to my gallery. I'll play guitar and knit/and cook and basically, just wonder when will my life begin?”

Parents, kids, actually anyone, give Tangled a watch or re-watch in quarantine, it’s incredible.

Those are words from the opening song of the film, as Rapunzel sings about her life being stuck in a tower.

It’s a fitting isolation film because our long-haired princess has spent her entire life locked away from the world, with no human interaction other than her mother.

I sat down and watched it the other day as it is one of my favourite films, and I needed a bit of a cheer up.

Spoilers for those of you who haven’t seen the film, she gets out of the tower and meets a lot of people.

The reason I think this film is a good watch right now is because I, like so many out there, am starting to really realise how much I miss people.

No one will ever accuse me of being the most social guy, but it’s starting to really dawn on me that I am missing the interaction.

A few nights ago I ran into an old school friend at the supermarket while I was collecting food; and spoke to her for about 30 seconds as we both walked towards our cars.

I haven’t spoken to this person for close to eight years face to face, and yet this was just about the highlight of my week just because it was some form of human interaction (though at a safe distance.)

I’ve been back in Tasmania for the better part of a month now, spending two weeks in isolation and then leaving the house once a day to go for a walk, and every few days to go to the shop and collect food for the house.

And, naturally, on those occasions I’m not trying to talk to people.

In fact I am doing the complete opposite, walking the longest way possible around people so we don’t get too close.

Same goes at the supermarket or getting take away food.

I’m there, but I’m doing everything that I can in order to stay as far away from people as I possibly can.

Again, sounding like a broken record, but this is what we have to do.

I get it, I really do, and I’m going to keep doing so.

But I’m starting to realise how much I actually miss simple things, such as stopping and saying hello to someone in the aisles of the supermarket.

I sat on my phone, sending some messages to people to see how they are, just to check in a couple of nights ago.

This was when I think it finally hit me.

We have heard about being isolated together and how important it is to stay connected.

But sending a message isn’t the same, doing a video chat isn’t the same.

Isolation is exactly that, isolation.

And it’s a pretty empty feeling.

We aren’t supposed to be alone as people, and yet for a lot of us, we are.

And that is a sad feeling. I’m tired of this, and it’s only been three weeks.

This is going to go on for so much longer.

Even understanding why we are here and what will happen, this is not going to be easy.

And now I think it’s truly starting to set in for me.

PS: If you are going to watch Tangled, also watch Big Hero 6. It doesn’t fit the theme as well as Tangled, but it’s an excellent watch and you will thank me for it.