Life In Quarantine
By Sharon McIntire I’m sure all the occupants of the cars that zip by my house around 8:00 in the morning are feeling very self-satisfied that they’re working and I’m not.I used to be very jealous, but then I worked out a routine. I’mquite happy now and delighted to share so that you won’t feel jealous, either. Please feel free to adjust it to suit your individual circumstances.Schedule During Solitary Confinement1.Get up with the chickens. That’s easy for me; my neighbors have lots ofchickens, and they come to visit. Don’t give in to the temptation to sleep in. You have only about two hours of freedom before the sun chases you back into captivity. And don’t take the time to get beautiful; it wastes that valuable freedom! Instead, camouflage yourself. I wear a hair clip, large sunglasses and a hat. Somehow people seem to still recognize me, which is worrisome, but I ignore it and pretend I’m incognito.2.Take the dog for a walk. If you don’t have a dog, you really should get one. (See No. 6) Try to walk where there are real people present –it’s the only time of the day you’ll get to see a real person. You can smile, they smile... Most even say good morning! It’s very refreshing.3.After your walk, you’ll be tempted to shower. Don’t. Spend the time outdoors until your body is feeling sort of medium-well done. Water plants, talk to flowers, pull weeds, sit in a chair with a cup of coffee or glass of tea and smell the fresh morning air.4.When you’re medium-well done, it’s time to admit defeat and retreat indoors. Take that shower, cool off, and prepare for solitary confinement.5.Clean something. Don’t get too carried away: you’ll need to do this again tomorrow. Cook something. Don’t get carried away: you’ll need to do this again today.6.Talk to the dog. Don’t skip this step; it’s your daily therapy session. Dogs are good listeners. If you have a cat, you can talk to it, but cats are funny: they listen like they think you’re kind of stupid. Dogs listen like every syllable that drips from your mouth is a pearl of wisdom. It’s good therapy, and it reminds you that you can still put a sentence together. If you don’t have a dog ora cat, borrow one from your neighbor. I don’t know about you, but all my neighbors have enough dogs that I probably could borrow one and forget to return the thing. I’m not sure it would be missed.7.Pick from the following (or do each one in moderation):Call someone and say hi. (Make sure it’s not the same one you called yesterday; you don’t want to wear outyour welcome.) Read your email. Interact with someone on Facebook, or wherever you hang out. Join a webinar and tell them you’ll buy whatever they’re selling. Don’t buy it. It’s the process that gives you a thrill. Opening your pocketbook is a real downerwhen you’re not gainfully employed.8.Get a good book. You can do that online and don’t even need to go to the library. That should take care of most of the morning, so have a leftover from whatever you cooked in the morning.9.Nap time.10.Check your email. Must have been something exciting that arrived while you were sleeping.11.Check your mail. Must be something exciting that arrived in your mailbox today.12.Write a story for Carlsbad Local newspaper. Kyle is always looking for new writers. You can spend the afternoon doing this, or work on it several days at a time. When it’s finished, spend another hour trying different formats to get it from your computer to his. By then you’ll be ready to throw the computer out the window. Be sure to open the window first: that sun is hot and a broken window lets in lots of heat.13.I don’t do 13. Thirteen is unlucky; we’ve had enough of that.14.Spend the remainder of the afternoon comparing computer prices online. Choose the one that can talk to Kyle’s computer, but remember you can’t buy it because you’re in solitary. Go outside and (quickly –it’s hot!) pick up the pieces. Bring them inside and begin looking online at tutorials on how to repair computers that took a dive out the window. This will keep you happily occupied every afternoon for at least a week. (And you won’t even have to write more stories!)15.I don’t eat dinner. If you do, now’s the time. Wash up from all the mess you made today.16.Dinner is over. It’s time to indulge in anything you want to do for the rest of the evening. Go outside and see if it’s cool enough for a walk around the block. It’s not, of course, but one can hope. Watch a favorite movie with a big bowl of popcorn. Discuss the highlights of the movie with the dog. (Remember: therapy).17.Watch the news. Set your timer for 30 minutes –that’s about all the news anyone can handle. Then switch to a comedy show, preferably an old one. Last Man Standing with Tim Allen always takes the bad taste out of my mouth that I get from watching the news.18.Too much TV is unhealthy, so find something productive to do. Where is that list of things you made five years ago that you never had time to do? Choose one of those projects and get it done. Wow –that feels GOOD!19.Find a crossword puzzle on your computer. You can get a new one every single day for free! And you don’t even have to spend an hour crawling under furniture looking for that piece you lost.20.Go find that new book and take it to bed. If you find it’s too exciting, try a new one because this needs to put you to sleep. Don’t forget: you have chickens to look forward to in the morning!I’m so glad we’ve got this solitary confinement licked! If it lasts another 18 months as we’ve been told it might, at least we don’t have to wear those funny-looking masks all day like the rest of those people who drive by my house at 8:00 in the morning.Though I find I rather like those masks: they hide –um -flaws. Maybe I’ll wear them walking.