"...Neighbors had kept their distance, believing she was destined for an early death and anyone she touched would be forced to accompany her. They were afraid of her disease as if it were fatal, like tuberculosis, but worse, much worse. What they feared even more...was that passion might spare them entirely, that they'd die conventionally, smug and purposeless, having never savored its blackness." ("Baskets," 157)
Celia herself is clearly horrified by living a life of numb affections, as reflected in her question for Pilar and I Ching ("Should I live for passion?"). It's not a surprise that she is able to see this same fear in the eyes of the women around her.