Lonely in a crowd

Crowds worry me.

It’s not a new thing. I’m not a terrifically social person. But a trip to the beach showed me a new element to my discomfort with crowds. Now I’m worried about a virus.

I went to a state beach in Connecticut. It was, my son assured me as I drove there and he and his family waited on the beach, not too crowded. They’d arrived at 9 a.m.

I got there by 11 a.m. There was nowhere to park. It took me 15 minutes to find my family in the crush of people filling the beach.


“I can’t believe this,” my son said.

We didn’t stay long. If I’d taken a picture, it would have looked like every “look at these idiots” picture people have posted since beaches started reopening. No distancing, no masks. Fresh air, everyone seemed to conclude, eliminated any risks. I doubt the fresh air was up to the challenge it faced.

Now I’m wondering – should I be isolating, just in case? Am I being paranoid? I do not want to be the person who spreads this thing. I don’t want to be the idiot who let down my guard too soon and put other people at risk.

It’s another side effect of coronavirus: free-floating anxiety.

Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.