4 April 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not

 

Dear Diary,

Three of the humans who live here in my house left for the day to go work at the farm, AND IT IS SILENT AND I LOVE IT AND MAYBE THEY COULD STAY THERE A FEW NIGHTS??

Now, listen, Diary; I LOVE those humans. I do. I ADORE them. But two of them are the Talkers around here. They’re the Extroverts. They’re the Insatiable People Needers. They’re the Men of ALL THE WORDS.

So, SO many words, Diary.

They talk to think. They talk to muse. They talk to figure out the whys and the wherefores. They talk because they Saw a Meme. They talk because they Read an Article, so [Statistics] and [Projections] and [Experts Say] and [They Can Therefore Deduce.]

They talk because they’re contemplating clipping their toenails or considering making toast or weighing the merits of going for a walk now vs. later, morning vs. afternoon, overcast vs. sunny, one dog vs. two, short lap vs. long, wooded path vs. neighborhood — ‘oh, and does anyone want to come along and chat?’ 😳 

 They talk about what’s for dinner. Also, what might be for dinner tomorrow. Also, what they had for dinner yesterday. Also, what were their Favorite Dinners of All Time. Also, Favorite Ethnic Foods. Also, Favorite Car Snacks. Also, Favorite Breakfasts and why aren’t beans on toast common in America? And how come mom has never made blood sausage? And what’s the difference between Vegemite and Marmite? And why don’t we eat more cantaloupe?

They talk about the mail. Has the mail come? How about now? How about now? Who has checked the mail? Do we know for sure the mail hasn’t come? Did we go all the way to the box and look or are we just making assumptions? What came in the mail? Anything for me? How come the 3-pack of duct tape I ordered from Amazon isn’t here yet? What do you mean duct tape isn’t an essential item? What if I’m having a duct emergency? 

It goes on, Diary.

And on and on.

Of course, I’m not being fair to them. Not very fair, anyway. Because they’re not getting credit for all the chattering they’re NOT doing. They’re not receiving trophies for all the times they think of talking but zip it because I beg for No More Words. Just, like, FIVE MINUTES OF NO WORDS, PLEASE. 

I really feel like we’ve made a Massive Quarantine Error, though, in sorting folks by household. Boxing people up with their families. Making us live and breathe and eat and talk with these humans 24/7 instead of 14/7 like we’re more accustomed to. 

It would have made much more sense to sort us by common interests.

A Reading House full of couches and fireplaces and tea and crumpets and bathtubs.

A Productivity House for the folks who are all QUARANTINE = ACCOMPLISH ALL THE GOALS. They get access to spreadsheets and protein powder.

A Makers’ House with sewing machines and a wood shop and crafting supplies and welding tools and STRICT INSTRUCTIONS to leave all safety guards in place BECAUSE THE EMERGENCY ROOMS CAN’T HANDLE SEWING YOUR FINGER BACK ON RIGHT NOW… although I suppose you could ask the quilters for assistance.

A Green House for people putting in victory gardens, with starts already poking out of their egg carton containers, and for all those with a menagerie of indoor plant children in adorable pots.

A Gaming House.

A Reality TV House.

A Talks-During-Movies House.

A Pristine Cleaning House.

WE COULD HAVE HAD ALL THE HOUSES. 

When we have a president again who believes in things like Pandemic Preparedness and doesn’t, you know, fire the team of experts working to ready us for such an event, do you think we can add House Assignments to their list, Diary? I feel like it’s a reasonable request. 

With love,

 

 

 

P.S. My Talking Humans are back home now, and, indeed, I have been unfair, for zero of them are currently talking. #WhenYouRealizeYouMightBeTheProblem #TheCommonDenominatorWhenYouAreIrritatedIsYOU 

P.P.S. I DID use my time wisely while they were away. I taught myself to play I’m Not Wearing Underwear Today on the piano.

Badly. But also… accurately. I feel it’s the Song for Our Time.

P.P.S. I can’t decide which house I belong in. I mean, obviously the Reading House is my first pick. But I feel like I qualify for the Gardening House since I’ve kept Enid alive for a record-breaking twenty four days now, AND I’m so good at vegetable gardening I can do it without even planting a garden.

That’s a sweet potato plant right there.

Or possibly a yam.

Are you allowed to apply for the Gardening House if you don’t know the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?

P.P.P.S. Um… do I plant that now, or what? 

P.P.P.P.S. Please let me know what house you’d join, what houses we need but I failed to mention, and any additional qualifications for said houses. I feel like it’s a good idea to give the Pandemic Preparedness Team a head start when they get back to work (HOPEFULLY AFTER THE 2020 ELECTION) — they’ve got to make up for lost time. 

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
15 comments
  1. omg yes. The pattern of the last 2 weeks has been that the teenagers, those of few words and long silences, sleep as long as we will possibly let them (past noon now that it’s spring break here) but the TALKY ONE somehow has his sensor tuned to us and is up AND TALKING before we have time to make coffee, which is entirely too soon. The other day he spoke to me and I responded, naturally, with a quote from Stranger Things S1E1 which I *hoped* would be self-explanatory, “Mornings are for coffee and contemplation” to which he responded by repeating himself, more loudlier.
    I would be in the long-hikes-with-audiobooks,-and-knitting-in-the-evenings house!

  2. Sign me up for the reading house but only if we gather once daily to play games.

    Fortunately this is what my house looks like because I live with myself and my roommate (being childless never felt so good). We go to our corners for most of the day and then come together each evening for Rummy or Rummikub. #livingthequarantinedream

  3. While I wouldn’t feel good about parting with adorable and demanding small children (ages 3/5/7) for the months of this “stay home”, I would definitely vote for all those with children of such young ages to have two special rooms attached to homes (that 100% definitely have an awesome and fully fenced yard wherein neighbor dogs can’t come try to lick my terrified children, not like townhomes surrounded by concrete and bark mulch, hypothetically speaking). Both of these rooms would be sound proof with padded walls. One equipped for children’s amusement and safety. Sure there could be a security camera so parents could peek in, but they wouldn’t have to because #sosafe. The other would be for the parent(s) who is sensitive to noise/constant demands/wants just 5 minutes to talk to their partner without any other effing interruption, etc. This would put years back into these guardians lives. Please consider, Pandemic Planning Committee.

    Sincerely,
    How Much are 100% Noise Canceling Beats Headphones Again and is There Anyway There’s Enough Change in the Couch to Buy Mama Some Sanity?

    1. We just this morning were contemplating if it would be possible to soundproof the game room… wish I could lend you our yard; we could timeshare it.
      The problem with the headphones– because I tried, by turning up my music on my earbuds, to do this? But then people kept talking to me specifically, expecting responses… the nerve!

  4. I’m in for the Reading, Coffee, and nap house. But I also need some cats too. What an awesome idea you’ve had Beth! They definitely should have discussed this and given us time to sort ourselves before imposing the Stay At Home thing!!!

  5. Can we also have separate houses for those wanting to get up with the sun and those of us who insist on sleeping in to the unreasonable late hour of 8:00am.

  6. I’m on board for the Reading House Sandy is designing! But #WhenYouRealizeYouMightBeTheProblem made me laugh out loud! How often that realization has hit me!

  7. I’m in there Reality TV house! I love it all from the HGTV shows to Survivor to Married at First Sight to A Shot at Love. Bring it on!

  8. Yes, yes, the reading house please, with Sandy’s suggested addition of chocolate and clotted cream and fresh fruit – yes, only if I don’t have to cut the fruit.

  9. I think a lot of people I know would opt for a childfree house…

  10. Reading house. Hands down. Can we add chocolate to the menu? Also scones and clotted cream and maybe fresh fruit that someone else has already cut into perfectly-sized pieces. Maybe the reading house needs to have floors separated by genre (fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, etc.), so that if people want to interact with each other at some point, they can trade books and gossip about the characters. Also, then the bookshelves can be stocked with the most relevant books. (I claim a room on the fiction floor.) Oh! and it needs tissue boxes for when the book makes you ugly cry.

  11. Definitely Reading House, but could we add coffee? And maybe a masseuse?

  12. Napping House. Also, I think separate houses for Reality TV categories are necessary. I love me some HGTV but don’t put me in the same house with people who love Survivor or Amazing Race. I know how to use a drill, dang it!

  13. I’m down for the Reading House- also need a Napping with Puppies House and an All-the-Wine House… But maybe we can combine those?

    1. I like the way you think! Maybe the Reading House and the Napping With Puppies House and the All The Wine House could be a compound. Pick your house as needed!

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