Home in the Time of Quarantine

By Katie Goldblatt

Home, for me, is nestled deep in Long Island suburbia. Here, the streets do not have sidewalks. There are no block parties or neighborhood cookouts; and for the most part, every person keeps to themselves and their families. Of course, when someone new moves in, people introduce themselves, but that is about it. The parents are friendly in the sense of politeness; the only bond is an unspoken agreement to watch over each others’ kids in case of an emergency (which they hope will not be the case). Meanwhile, I only have a single friend who lives on my street. The rest of the kids in the neighborhood? Our superficial acquaintanceships were contained to bus stops on curbsides and all but vanished when I transferred out of the local high school. No one played on the streets together, even though there was rarely any chance of danger from cars driving through. It’s not that the kids weren’t nice; some of them were. We were just more tied to our families. For as long as I can remember, my neighborhood has been a quiet, private place. At least, that was before quarantine arrived and upended the neighborhood and world as I knew it.

Now, I am not saying neighbors on my street are suddenly best friends; that statement would simply be untrue. However, there have been slight changes in the way things exist. Usually, if my family were to go on a neighborhood walk, we would rarely see other people doing the same thing. Nowadays, in good weather, we will see families taking their dogs for walks, siblings hugging the curb on bike rides, or even people drawing with sidewalk chalk at the edges of their driveways. Home has definitely become more lively. Since people cannot go outside to entertain themselves, they turn to their immediate surroundings. This has also strengthened the bonds between neighbors. Even though people still avoid physical contact like the plague, there will be smiles and well-wishes towards other families seen on daily walks. There seems to be more of a bond; a sense of camaraderie. Although I am unsure if these changes will stick around after quarantine is over, it is nice to see that my home and neighborhood has become more of a homey place.

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