I have been cooped up since mid-March, avoiding exposure to COVID-19, and that’s fine. Even though it’s hard to take sometimes, I know this won’t last forever. I’m just glad this happened in my old age. Sounds counter-intuitive, as a younger and healthier me might have been able to avoid the virus, but as a younger person I wouldn’t have had the patience to stay home for so long with nothing to do. Now, I’m tired and welcome having nothing to do sometimes.
It’s not like I have absolutely nothing to do. I work at home, so there’s the better part of five days a week I’m busy. Normally, I commute a total of an hour, so I use that for extra sleep. Maybe I’m even getting two extra hours.
There are several friends I call once a week or every other week just to make sure they’re OK. They are women older than me and likely in better health. They also have family and friends they can call on for help, but it makes me feel like I’m doing something nice to check on them.
Then, there’s my mother-in-law, who is approaching 90 and also likely in better health than I am. I call her every day. We joke that I call her on my lunch hour — usually between 11 a.m. and noon. Working from home, you don’t feel like you have a lunch hour. You’re always in a bizarre state of working and not working. I’m sure it’s some kind of meditative state of being just like you have when you ponder whether a tree that falls in the forest makes a sound if there’s no one there to hear it.
I have another friend who is stressing real bad about the ’rona. He and his mother live together and he’s worried about passing it to her. I knew this would weigh heavily on him, so I decided I would call him every day for a “mental health check.” So far, he is holding up.
Some days we just check in with one another. He, too, is working from home, so sometimes when I call he might be busy and not have the time. Sometimes I call him back later, you know, “after work.” Sometimes we catch up the next day.
Sometimes, we are like middle school girls, staying on the phone for hours, analyzing books and movies, comparing and contrasting television shows or actresses, wondering how we got to be so old so fast. Honestly, anything is preferable to talking about the ’rona. That’s what the calls are about — getting our minds off our boredom and worry and concern and getting our silly on. If you don’t have a friend you can do that with, you might want to find one.
If you do, get started playing “compare and contrast” with a few easy ones: “The Addams Family” v. “The Munsters;” “The Brady Bunch” v. “The Partridge Family;” and “Bewitched” v. “I Dream of Jeannie.”
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