Let me start off by saying, I would 100% prefer the nerves I feel re-acclimating to society as NYC continues to reopen to the crippling lingering effects many people experience after covid. And if you’re an anti-masker, don’t even come at me! I do not have time to argue science with you. If everybody wore a mask back in April, then maybe I would leading a semi-normal life right now instead of wondering if I’m going to find Jimmy (Martin Mull) from the “Snap Out of It” episode of The Golden Girls a tad too relatable when this pandemic is over.
While I have loads and loads of normal regular times neurotic anxiety, I’ve never had social anxiety. But after spending months and months only seeing like, oh I don’t know, the same five, the thought of a full-length conversation face to face with ANYONE other than one of those five people seems a little spooky.
In all fairness, I went on a blind-friend date (which is a blind date with a new friend, not a romantic blind date) last weekend and it felt surprisingly normal. But it was like 90 minutes of walking outside, which as much as I want to claim to be a fit healthy person is not how I typically socialized in the pre-quarantine life.
So what I’m talking about is getting cozy in a bar or sitting next to a total stranger on a subway car (gasp). WTF is THAT going to feel like??
Okay now join me on this journey back to 1990 and let me paint you a little picture of what’s going on with The Golden Girls. Sophia and Dorothy are volunteering for Meals on Wheels. Dorothy complains that Sophia is talking and visiting with the meal recipients, which honestly is kind of the point of Meals on Wheels, but there’s this one door where they don’t even knock because that person just wants the food left outside the door.
Dorothy catches a glimpse of the man as he retrieves the food and immediately believes him to be a scammer because he is both young and physically abled. So Dorothy follows this man into his apartment and rudely grills him because he doesn’t have any illnesses that she can SEE with her EYES. Ugh.
Even though he shouldn’t have to (because he’s on the freaking food recipient list) he tells Dorothy that he hasn’t left his apartment in twenty-two years, so that she will let him keep his damn food!
Dorothy apologies and immediately leaves only to complain to Sophia that it’s such a bummer that this poor dude is all alone and there isn’t anything she can do about it. WHICH ONCE AGAIN. IS THE POINT OF MEALS ON WHEELS. (We know this show is smarter than that so don’t worry, it’s all a big set up for character development.)
Off-screen Dorothy and Jimmy have a big heart to heart. We don’t get to hear it, so I guess they didn’t want to pay Martin Mull that much for his shooting time, but we do get to hear Dorothy describe to Blanche later on that the stress of the tumultuous 1960’s caused Jimmy’s agoraphobia. Blanche is all like yeah I get that but things are fine now so how come he isn’t hanging out with everybody???
Eventually, Dorothy gets a call from Jimmy who says he is ready to stop isolating. Sophia warns Dorothy that she isn’t a psychiatrist and should check her ego. But come on have you met Dorothy?? She is nothing if not egotistical.
As it turns out, Jimmy doesn’t want to leave his apartment. He wants Dorothy to move in with him and be his bride. Uh. Oh. So that’s something else to be concerned about once everyone gets fully back on this streets. Note to self: do not marry the first person you talk to.
Dorothy tells Jimmy that the feeling is not mutual. Jimmy becomes depressed and doubles down on self-isolation.
Note to self: do not put all your eggs in one basket. Expect rejection from the “love” your trauma-bonded brain tells you that you’re experiencing. GET BACK ON THE HORSE.
Jimmy refuses to speak to Dorothy the next time she drops off his food, so she seduces him by slowly listing the names of the Chicago Seven in a bedroom voice. Geeeez Baby Boomers, am I right?
Jimmy confides in her that he would really love to shop for his own groceries, so she convinces him to go to the store with her — where he just so happens to be the one millionth customer. There are many streamers! Balloons! And a grand prize trip to Mardi Gras! But Jimmy runs away immediately because woah what an overwhelming reintroduction to the world.
Dorothy returns home defeated, only to find Jimmy minutes later at her door with a sweater she left behind at his place. Dorothy’s generosity has convinced him that he would like to rejoin society. He’s even willing to go to a counselor if she will give him a ride.
Very Special Lesson: Hmmm this seems like a very inaccurate depiction of agoraphobia. But I do think it seems like an accurate depiction of someone who is just a little socially anxious after self-isolation. But if Martin Mull could walk to The Golden Girls House in Miami heat after 22 years inside his apartment, I can probably get back on the subway someday.