We might not have had as much snow as storied New England winters (thus far, knock on wood), but the winter of 2021 has spawned a special strain of cabin fever—pandemic fatigue. The cure for it is seeing your friends in person, even if you have to freeze your tatas off to do it safely.

New England Winters and Cabin Fever

Only the winter of 2015 compares to the infamous Blizzard of ‘78, in the annals of modern New England lore. If you’ve ever read the Long Winter, it felt like that. Unending snow that never melted, and everyone was pretty much stuck inside all the time.

Cabin fever: Snow halfway up the windows after a blizzard
Snowed in after one of the countless blizzards of 2015. Somerville, Massachusetts, USA
Snow hanging dangerously off the roof of a building
The snow hanging off the eves in the winter of 2015. Somerville, Massachusetts, USA
Shoveling out after a blizzard
And, oh my god, the shoveling. Somerville, Massachusetts, USA

In the midst of the winter of 2015, after one of the millions of blizzards, my dear friend texted me:

You know  in the olden days when people got cabin fever and then axe murdered their whole families? Yeah, I have cabin fever. I’m coming to get you, and we’re going out.

Perhaps I should have looked out for sharp objects, but instead I happily joined her for a quiet night out at a local that felt like the grandest of adventures after so much time in my apartment.

Snowy view out the window
Cabin Fever 2021. Somerville, Massachusetts, USA

Winter of 2021: Cabin Fever with Pandemic Fatigue

Flash forward to the winter of 2021. I don’t think we’ve had as much cumulative snow as we had in one of those 2015 blizzards, but stuck inside all the time? Oh honey.

I’ve had something like two social engagements this year that did not involve Zoom, and the last one was nearly a month ago. This winter sees 2015’s cabin fever and raises it to pandemic fatigue.

The Cure: See Your Friends, Even if You Have to Freeze Your Tatas Off to Do It

I realized I needed some human interaction, so I texted the same friend and her husband (somehow we hadn’t seen each other since the Illuminations Tour), and earlier this evening, we ventured out to Cambridge Common. We sat outside, despite the considerable cold, for drinks, snacks, and desperately needed live conversation.

Months had passed since I’d been to an outdoor restaurant—October, I think? Right around when it got bad around here again. Anyhow, Cambridge Common has a good set up—lots of space between tables, and the tables themselves are big enough to distance. And, let’s face it, early evening, outside, in February, doesn’t exactly draw a crowd. While I don’t plan on making a habit out of going out, I felt safe enough.

Over mac-and-cheese bites that are greater than the sum of their parts (another friend introduced these to me, and they are the delicious) and drinks, I caught up with my dear friends. Nothing special. Just a relatively quick evening out (it was freezing), but, like that trip out in the winter of 2015, exactly what I needed for my cabin fever.

I was having so much fun that I didn’t snap any pictures, except of this flock of turkeys crossing the road that we saw on the way to the bar.

What about you? Do you have cabin fever and pandemic fatigue? What do you do to cure it (please don’t say axe murder)? Let me know in the comments!

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