It seems there is no news except Covid news. And for the last 8 weeks or so, what other kind of news has there been? What else mattered?
But some of us still remain preoccupied with much more interesting issues, such as “Do aliens exist?”, leading up to the most pressing question on all of our hearts and minds these days: “And do they like coffee?”
I don’t actually have the answers, but I’m pretty sure that …
When it is warm and sunny I have a great capacity for sitting outside. I’m very talented at it. I can sit for hours accomplishing very little, something I am very proud of. Maybe I’ll read a bit, maybe write a bit, or maybe I’ll just put my feet up and drink coffee and enjoy being outside. I get a lot of thinking done that way, but my wife says it doesn’t really count as ‘doing’ something. We continue to disagree on that point. But more on that in a future blog, perhaps.
However, I digress… my real point is that I’ve converted.
Before the crisis I did all of my serious sitting on the back deck, completely ignoring the front porch. Too many people out front, more private in the back. Up until this April, I probably only ever sat on the front porch maybe 4 times during the 12 years we’ve lived in our house. I much preferred the privacy of the back deck.
Since the crisis, I’ve converted to a front-porch-sitter. There aren’t many cars going by anymore, but lots more people out walking. I sit outside with a coffee several times a day now. And I get to say ‘hi’ to people. It’s exciting. Many of them are complete strangers and often they will stop and ask me how I’m doing – at a socially responsible distance, of course. And the question ‘how are you doing?’ is no longer rote pro forma, but has become freighted with genuine feeling. And a meaningful answer is actually expected and even welcomed. It’s wonderful. It makes me feel less isolated and actually part of the human race again.
I don’t even have the chairs setup on the back deck yet. Why would I? There isn’t anyone back there.
…I also get excited about taking a car ride once a week to the grocery store now… but more on that in a future blog post.
Can’t go out. Going to the grocery store feels like I’m putting my life at risk. I can’t just watch Netflix or be on Facebook all the time. They’re about to outlaw going for walks, and in Toronto they are now handing out $7500 fines for going to the park…not that we should anyway.
In times such as these hobbies are important. People are learning to sew and are making face masks. People are learning to bake for themselves in huge numbers. There is something very comforting in homemade bread and buns. If there is one good thing that comes out of this crisis – and I think there will be many good things, actually – is that people are re-learning how to make and bake and do things for themselves. The kind of things our grandparents always did for themselves, but we’ve found it easier to just go shopping instead.
That’s changing now, since shopping for anything but necessities has been cancelled, and the necessities are getting hard to find.
Keeping yourself occupied with hands-on, practical things is important to maintaining ones sanity while in isolation. I’ve been learning to work with leather and make knife sheaths. I’ve also been learning to make knives.
Here’s a sample of what I’ve been making. Made from bulk, raw materials, not from a kit. I ground and polished the blade down from a bar of high-carbon tool steel. Solid brass bolsters are set off nicely by the black micarta handles, secured with brass pins to the tang. I hand-stitched the leather sheath.
Now, some of you may be wondering why, as a writer, I’m talking about making knives as a pass-time instead of writing. Shouldn’t I be using that extra time to get that next, long over-due, Jack Winters sequel finished? When loyal fans are patiently awaiting the next sequel, why am I fooling around making a knife? Good question. But here’s the thing. I spend all day in front of a laptop writing and sometimes it feels like, well – work. So I need a fun diversion that is also physical, hands-on and gets me off my bottom and on my feet. Otherwise I’m going to get fat and out-of-shape, suffer health complications, and then I’d never get the next Jack Winters sequel finished!
Staying healthy and fit is very important to surviving a crisis.