New Fears from Pandemic Me

Or, a year and a half in mini-phobias

I realized I ought to counterbalance the habits list, because these eighteen months haven’t been all new quirks and self-improvement and bleak jokes about the End Times. Here are some things I’ve developed irrational, or maybe rational, aversions to—some of which are really just the habits’ flip sides.

  • Stepping into a new establishment alone, be it a bar or café or shop or museum (I’m simultaneously more eager and more apprehensive to talk to strangers; I apparently need a friend with me in order to get up that nerve right now)
  • Random, small, possibly ambient noises (I’ve become a lighter sleeper overall)
  • A read receipt of longer than a couple days (did they die? did they decide they hate me? which is worse??)
  • Missing out on events that happened years ago or never happened at all because my timeline is screwed up beyond recall (the other day I woke up panicked about being late to a job I had in 2017)
  • Forgetting what people look like, or finding them so changed I don’t recognize them and re-introduce myself (I have done this twice in my life)
  • Or seeing people I haven’t seen this whole time and not knowing whether to be like “so what have you been doing with yourself during the plague” or “so what are we getting up to today as we actively move on from the past”
  • The internet cutting out altogether with no plausible explanation, leaving me alone
  • Not finishing all the books I planned to read/listen to
  • Finishing all the books I planned to read/listen to
  • Being on a date and then going and spoiling it all by saying something stupid like “you’re vaxxed, right?”
  • Slight potential symptoms of any illness whatsoever
  • Just sitting in silence sometimes honestly

Published by Cecilia Gigliotti

Cecilia Gigliotti (she/her) lives in Berlin with a beloved ukulele named Uke Skywalker. She co-hosts and produces the music commentary podcast POD SOUNDS. Her free time goes toward dancing, reading books new and old, drawing cartoons, taking city walks, and devoting too much thought to the foibles of her heroes. Connect with her on Instagram (@c_m_giglio, @ceciliagphotography, @pod_sounds_podcast) and see what else she's up to (

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