Audio books vs loneliness

This article about a new mother using audio books as a way to combat the loneliness of existence while you are a servant to a needy tyrant got me thinking about being a stay-at-home dad. Ten hours a day trying to figure out some frigging thing to do while pushing a stroller around town with a pack on my back reminiscent of a medieval pedlar. I kept a couple books for reading during naps, as well as journals and pens for writing in, but the nap-trap comment really drives it home. I wish I’d had audio books back then. On the bright side, I never had to have a little vampire suck out my life essence through my nipples, so I suppose I can’t complain.

In these quarantine days, I miss the casual conversations. Gone are the spontaneous chats on the sidewalk or over cubicle dividers, in cafes or across playgrounds. For all of us, life is transformed.  For many, life is quieter. Personally, this retreat from daily socializing feels somewhat familiar.  Last year, I withdrew into my home to nest with my newborn daughter.

Thankfully, I had audiobooks to rescue me from the sleep-deprived tedium of keeping an infant dry, fed, and mostly content. Then and now, narrators of audiobooks helped me feel less lonely.

Nesting with a newborn, while supremely cuddly, also feels isolating. Like many new parents, I was often “nap-trapped”—sometimes literally pinned down under my snoozing baby. Even when freed from the couch, the baby’s sleep schedule kept us tethered to home. It was a cozy but lonely time, one when I longed for adult conversation. I’d go for any conversation, really, as my baby cycled through her limited vocabulary of vowel sounds. To fill the blurring hours of feeding, diapering, and shushing, I turned to audiobooks.

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