Omicron isolation makes me long for the simple joy of hanging out with a friend | Sophie Brickman

Omicron isolation makes me long for the simple joy of hanging out with a friend | Sophie Brickman

Omicron isolation makes me long for the simple joy of hanging out with a fr...

We don’t realize how important physical contact is in building and facilitating and servicing relationships

Earlier this fall, in the quaint days when our variants had progressed only an eighth of the way through the Greek alphabet, I made a seemingly impractical trip: I unstuck myself from the couch where I’d been working the previous 18 months, kissed my husband and three children goodbye, and traveled to a DC suburb where, for 10 waking hours, I sat next to my friend on her couch, and worked, and hung out with her three children. Then I commuted six hours home.

After months apart, during which we’d communicated almost solely in sentence fragments on WhatsApp, we had a single hour of child-free chatting over a bottle of wine – at 9 o’clock, we were both too tired to stay awake, so crawled into beds in adjacent rooms. And when the sun rose, we teamed up to shove tiny feet and hands into boots and gloves while, perhaps a little too on-the-nose, Elton John’s I’m Still Standing blasted over the living room speakers, then drove the girls to school. On the relaxation scale, it clocked in closer to “gut renovating your apartment” than “spa”. But those measly 10 hours, full of random, unprompted hugs and the knowledge that we could just exist, in the same place, with no real agenda – Eating takeout! Chatting in a car! Or while doing the dishes! Blowing raspberries on the one-year-old’s tummy as the other one plowed through emails! – replenished a part of my social life that has languished perhaps more than any other lately: a type of socializing that falls under the heading of hanging out.

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