This last week I’ve seen more people than I’ve seen in possibly the last three months. Maybe the last half year. It’s been…odd. And exhausting.

All of these other people are already fully vaccinated. Blaze and I were the plague rats, as it were, though I’ve had my first vaccine and Blaze will get his first jab today.

As I had suspected would happen, I’ve completely forgotten how to people. I felt incredibly socially awkward. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to respond. I feel as though I’ve forgotten how to hold a conversation.

One of the people I was talking with brought up how some people have just gone feral.

And that struck such a chord for me.

I’ve gone feral. Reintroduced to the wild after being domesticated. Well, mostly domesticated.

I live in the middle of nowhere. There are trees and greenery everywhere. I’m not crowded in with houses and neighbors.

There was so much time last year when I only saw people at a distance. I had changed my eating and buying habits so that I was only going to the grocery store once every ten days. I really kept away from everyone. I might talk a little with a cashier, but that was it. When we got food to go, which we might have done once a month, Blaze was the one who fetched it.

I would go to the library parking lot to work, but again, that was seeing people at a distance, and not that many people. I didn’t interact with anyone.

I’ve talked on the phone with people. A lot of people. I have at least one phone call per week with someone, frequently more than one. But that’s different than seeing someone who’s sitting across the table from you.

As an introvert, being around other people is exhausting. I’d figured out how to do it, during the Before Times. I’d actually gotten pretty good at it. I’m going to have to relearn all of those skills as well.

If I decide to get tamed again.

I’ve never had a great need for other people. I mean, they’re nice and all. This last year has shown me that I need more interaction with people than I’d thought I would. The phone calls have helped.

But now…Now I’m standing in that chasm facing crowds again. And I’m just not feeling overly eager to step across it.

I keep telling myself that it will be nice to see people again. I know that I want to be able to hug my friends again. I miss being able to do that.

And yet…and yet. After that hug, I may just want to disappear again. Go back into the woods. Watch from under the trees, at a safe distance.

So if you see me and I seem skittish, trust me, it’s me, not you.

How are y’all coping with the brave new world ahead of us?