You’ve been there. Your kiddo’s been sick, or you’ve been sick, and you are on lockdown; a self-imposed quarantine. Not to be melodramatic, but being in the house for now going on 3 days is starting to feel like an experiment. Not gross or demeaning like that reality show and beacon of debauchery, Big Brother, but like something far more domestic and yet…. psychologically intriguing.
The first hours were consumed by tending to the little guy with the stomach bug who looked up at me with his big brown “why me mommy?” eyes. As he finally started to mend, he dismissed me from my spot next to him to wander through the house like a phantom in yoga pants and a hoodie, far enough to give him some space, but not so far that I could not be at his beck and call. John was officiating the lovely wedding of two lovely people and was busy shuttling Jake to football games and maneuvering through baseball sign-ups and Sunday duties at church.
The at-home assignment was mine.
I didn’t notice my demise until a good 32 hours into the… “experiment,” and this is its manifestation.
Cabin Fever List of Things I Learned While on Lockdown (2010 edition)
- The bottoms of the living room curtains don’t match up. I looked at it for a minute and tried to fluff them, but they are linen and don’t really fluff. Eeeh….*shoulder shrug*… whataya gonna do?
- Tetris is therapeutic. It’s science, yo. Jake’s weekend assignment is to prepare a speech about a development in science. And thanks to the fine folks at Oxford, we now know that the best video game ever, Tetris, can ease the flashbacks associated with some milder cases of post-traumatic stress. But not Pub Quiz, the other game in the experiment – so don’t try Pub Quiz – because what Oxford is surely implying is that Pub Quiz is stupid and does not fix PTSD. Just to be clear….this is a class project. I do not assign him speeches about science for fun, though if the ‘tween eye rolling persists, I may give that a whirl.
- Now two weeks after the glorious World Series, MLB Network is still going strong. Only now the on-air “analysts” have all the time in the world. We were about an hour into the Cliff Lee “analysis” before I cajoled Jake into changing the channel.
- Captains in football have a C on their jersey.
- If there are weird hard-to-find ingredients in a recipe, I simply will not make it. I will not scour the Internet looking for ideas on suitable substitutions – I will just simply not make it, and I will, henceforth, edit my recipes accordingly.
- If you stare at Hex Nano Bugs long enough, you forget they are little vibrating robots and not real bugs. And then when you do realize it, you can’t decide which scenario is actually freakier…actual bugs or robot bugs.
- There was a week this summer where Jonathan Franzen and his serious face and serious new novel “Freedom” made it into every magazine I subscribe to. Good for you Franzen, you should relax a little and enjoy it.
- The BRAT diet is quite addicting, and somewhat luxurious if you haven’t been the one doing the throwing up. Saltines and white toast and rice and applesauce with Gatorade to wash it down. I’m enjoying it because by tomorrow night, I’m sure mac n cheese will surely be back in the request queue, and I’ll be obligated to re-introduce vegetables into my repertoire.
- Every door slam is loud and suspicious. By the end of day 2, I was that lady. Peeking out through the curtains (not the uneven ones) to see just what everybody was doing out there. Noticing when they left and when they came in. What time did they check their mail? How long did their gardeners stay? Why on Earth do the neighbors on the corner have the U-Haul trailer every weekend?
- Being tucked away inside provides one an odd sense of security when there have been multiple mountain lion sightings in the neighborhood in the last week. Perhaps said mountain lion saw me peeking through the curtains, and thinks I am taunting him, and is now lying in wait behind that Pontiac Grand Am across the street.
So If you were to peer down into the living room right now where I am typing this, and you were to look past my messy ponytail and oversized hoodie (heat rises! It’s cold down here! Be nice, or I will make you do a speech on air density) and you could zoom in on what I’m writing you would be relieved that it does not in fact say All work and no play makes Colleen a dull girl. All work and no play makes Colleen a dull girl. All work and no play makes Colleen a dull girl*. I’m not typing that, so don’t worry.
Necessary Sidenote: Rear Window is one of my all-time favorite movies, but I always thought Jimmy Stewart’s character was a bit much. I totally get him now, and that’s after just over a day of being at home. If I was restricted to a wheelchair and blue button down pajamas in my 3rd floor walk-up, I’d have the cops investigating every one of my neighbors, I’m sure.
Not-as-necessary Sidenote: I was in fact stuck in my San Francisco 3rd floor walk-up apartment for many many days after my knee surgery years ago, but most of that was spent in bed, and I could not sit by the window and spy on my neighbors which is for the best. I had already discovered to my dismay, that the older couple across the courtyard preferred to eat breakfast in their underwear. During that stint at home, there wasn’t fancy “wi-fi” so books and the E! Network were my windows on the world while John was at work. One of the Deacons from my church showed up with a casserole. Nobody had ever brought me a casserole and I didn’t know casserole etiquette so the entire operation stressed me out. The lady was very nice, but anxious to drop it and go. I can’t blame her, I probably looked kind of scary – wild eyed and pale from the sunlight deprivation. My dad would call me at the same time every day to check on me, presumably to ensure that I hadn’t lost my mind.
*and yes, oddly enough, The Shining is my other favorite suspense movie of all time, though I far prefer Grace Kelly’s outfits to Shelly Duvall’s.