THIS IS US

The Season of Digital Rooms

Escape from a plague reality

Lisa Renee
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readJan 19, 2022

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Photo by Sergei Solo on Unsplash

Since the pandemic sent us home and slowed us down, reality has been reduced to the four familiar walls. I, however, have discovered digital rooms and now reality has some stiff competition. I’m not sure if this was in my life’s original script, or if it’s a sad development of plague times. But now that the TV is smarter and I am possibly less so, I’m spending more time on my couch, with a virtual room on the big screen.

It all started with this:

I woke up very sick on Christmas morning and everything was canceled. The one invited guest (my son) was warned away and home testing ensued — because to be sick in a plague is to isolate, test, and panic. We didn’t eat the fancy cheese or open the bubbles, and I spent the day slumped on the couch with tissues and tea, feeling spectacularly sorry for myself. My sweet husband, Steven, made a lovely holiday dinner while I was soothed and distracted by the above video on the big TV.

Days of testing and isolation showed that I did not have Covid, just an average, whole-body sickness that slammed the year’s door with a depressing thud. The brioche I made on Christmas Eve was a big fail, and I was in a mood for days.

My daughter introduced me to the world of digital spaces and it has transformed my third plague winter. I’m an enthusiastic member of the spectator class, and will read, watch, and listen to whatever the makers give me. (I will also, often, judge and reject, but that’s a different essay.) The previous pandemic winters have been about reading, writing, baking, and generally expanding my interior horizons. I don’t know how to write anymore, the brioche failed, and the interior is a wasteland. This year is all about escape. I don’t want a hard escape from reality (there are drugs for that), just a soft slide into an adjacent reality. A close reality that is less taxing and more relaxing than this one. Digital rooms — a virtual reality, of sorts — can be a balm for pandemic…

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