A “nothing whatsoever to do with Covid” post

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 …

Do aliens drink coffee?

I’ve become a front-porch-sitter

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.

Does anyone else feel like this?

I no longer find post-apocalyptic movies entertaining.

Some of my favorite books over the years have been: Lucifer’s Hammer, Alas, Babylon, Childhood’s End, and One Second After. And who will ever forget great classics like The Day of the Triffids, On the Beach and A Canticle for Lebowitz. I loved these post-apocalyptic books. I’ve read them all more than once. I even wrote one myself about 4 years ago: The Girl With No Shoes, about time travel and a civilization ending plague.

And some of my all-time favorite movies have been The Quiet Place, The Bird Box, Signs, and I Am Legend, to name just a few. I own the DVD of Signs and binge-watched The Bird Box three times one week on Netflix about a year ago. I loved it.

But now that I feel like I’m in one, I no longer find them quite so entertaining.

I’ve had a few co-workers make comments along these lines (over the phone, of course, while on con-calls). One said that he “feels like he’s a supporting cast member in a sci-fi movie.” Another one said that she “feels like she’s been dropped into a sci-fi plot.” These comments all came unprompted, without a leading question. I found it interesting because I was feeling the same way. When I commented on this to my brother, he quipped: “What took you so long? I’ve felt like I’ve been in a dystopian nightmare ever since Trump got elected.”

I was really looking forward to the release of The Quiet Place II this March in movie theaters. But I never got the chance. All the theaters closed due to the virus the same week it was released. (Does anyone else see the irony in that?) Maybe Netflix will stream it, but I no longer care. It’s going to be a very long time before I’ll be in the mood to watch it.

In the past I’ve had to watch these movies alone or with a friend or one of my adult kids, because my wife doesn’t like them and will leave the room if one is on. She much prefers stuff like Call the Midwife, Doc Martin and Downton Abbey. At Christmas time she binge watches cheesy Hallmark holiday romances. Shows that usually put me to sleep before the opening credits are done.

Like everyone else around the world, my wife and I are in self-isolation at home. Fortunately we both have jobs that are suitable for work from home. My work sent us all home with our laptops two weeks ago and told us not to come back until further notice. My wife’s employer sent them home with their computers and telephones last week. She’s setup in the dining room and my ‘office’ is now in the living room.

We won’t be going out anytime soon, and there is suddenly a lot of time after work to read books and watch TV. And I have absolutely no interest in apocalyptic books and end of the world movies. My wife found out that Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey, has a new series on Netflix: The English Game, about soccer in the 1870’s. She wants to watch that.

Sounds good to me Honey. I’ll make the popcorn. And after that’s over, I’ll even watch Call the Midwife with you.