TAYLOR: The COVID-19 quarantine blues

A recipe for 14 days in isolation

Only 14 days to go. This shouldn’t be difficult. I don’t expect quarantine will be much different from daily life in these COVID-restricted times.

I live alone. COVID rules won’t let me invite people in for dinner or coffee. The only germs I have to deal with are my own. So keeping the house spotless doesn’t have to be a high priority.

I have a freezer full of frozen food. I’ve got more books than I can possibly read. The cable is working and Google awaits.

This could be almost like a mini-vacation.

I can see the routines shaping up:

* Make myself some breakfast. Check my email for spiritual insights from Frederick Beuchner, Richard Rohr and Mother Teresa.

Sip a cup of coffee.

Read the morning newspaper. Skip most of the news stories. I already know all I want to know about COVID-19 sadistics. Umm, statistics.

The comics strips at least offer a chuckle. I do the daily puzzles, to keep my mind sharp.

I go look for my coffee cup. I know I had it earlier.

Household tasks call. I load the dishwasher with last night’s plates and cutlery. Toss the laundry basket’s contents into the washing machine.

I know I put my coffee cup down somewhere.

Heat up some canned soup for lunch. Put it into the microwave. Oh, that’s where I left my coffee cup.

Marilynne Robinson’s books beckon. I wonder what will happen to the old preacher. If anything will. I read until I drift off. A nap won’t hurt me.

I know I left a coffee cup somewhere.

I go to unload the dishwasher, to get a fresh cup. Oh. I forgot to turn it on this morning. I’ll just rinse out a used cup.

Why is the coffee pot empty?

And where did I put my book?

The phone rings. A friend, checking on how I’m doing. No symptoms, I say. Yet. Half an hour later, the Fraud Squad from an unnamed Credit Card Company calls about unauthorized purchases. I’m almost grateful for a pre-recorded voice to snarl at.

My coffee cup has vanished again.

I discover I didn’t start the washing machine. Oh well, I can wait until tomorrow for clean underwear.

I boil a kettle of water It’s about tea time. There are no cookies in the cupboard. I think about driving to the store. Then I remember; I can’t.

I find perogies in the freezer. I boil six in a pot on the stove. I slice an onion, chop some bacon, fry them both. Dinner smells delicious. I say grace, thanking God for life’s little blessings.

I go to the refrigerator for the sour cream. There isn’t any. I retract grace.

I read two back issues of National Geographic.

I turn on the TV to watch Jeopardy. Pre-empted by a basketball game. Switch to PBS for British murder mysteries. Nope. Instead, I have a choice between an exciting episode of Antiques Roadshow or live coverage of a Republican filibuster in Congress. With colour commentary. Watch it anyway. *

Quarantine feels like instructions for a knitting pattern: repeat from “*” to “*” until you run out of quarantine.

If only I could find that coffee cup…

Jim Taylor lives in Lake Country.


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