Saturday, March 14, 2020

Still Life with Robin: How to Enjoy Your 14-day Involuntary Stay-cation

Waldo in Self-Quarantine
by Peggy Robin

The number of people in our area who are self-quarantining keeps going up and up. Should you self-quarantine? Read this: And if your doctor or health professional has advised you to do so, how do you do it? Read this:

Now, for those who are already in self-quarantine or getting ready to start, here's the tricky part. How do you keep yourself from suffering from that inevitable, accompanying side effect – cabin fever?

If you’ve got good, high-speed internet with TV streaming, Skype, Zoom, and other live-time communications, you’re pretty much set. You know you will be able to order everything you could possibly want and have it n your doorstep within a matter of days. You will have no lack on entertainment, especially with so many first-run movies available on demand on your TV screen. And of course it’s the perfect time to binge-watch any multi-season series that you missed out on  before -- probably because you never had the time.

Don’t have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or some other source of movies or TV shows? DCist to the rescue, with this very helpful piece on ways to get free streaming:

So….after you’ve caught up on all eight seasons of Game of Thrones, now what? Here are a few ideas:

Virtual travel. Had to give up that planned trip-of-a-lifetime? Wherever it was you were going, whatever it was you were hoping to see IRL (in real life), you may find you can view in a more in-depth way in VR (virtual reality). Definitely true for any famous work of art you can name. You know you will never get a really worthwhile look at the Mona Lisa, or anything else on display in a museum that is always packed under normal conditions. As for rare species -- almost any David Attenborough documentary will show you scenes you couldn’t possibly expect to see, even f you spent the rest of your life living in a well-camouflaged hide. See a bird of paradise make a bower and do his amazing mating dance. Watch the rare and incredibly elusive snow leopard stalk a goat in the Himalayas. See Antarctic Adelie penguins steal rocks from another’s rookery. No, you won’t be seeing any of that on your average 10-day tour. Take a fraction of what you would spend on your trip and upgrade your TV system to get the largest sharpest picture and the highest quality streaming, and you will. 

Dining in. You may not be going out to eat but you can still try out new restaurants. An amazing number of them have become very creative about getting their food out to their patrons, adapting their recipes for home delivery, and expanding their delivery zones. There’s virtually nothing you desire to eat that can’t be set to go from the restaurant kitchen straight to your table. You pay online, including the tip, and the delivery person stays safe by ringing the bell and talking to you through your security doorbell-cam, and all you do is bring the food containers inside – if they've been transported in a warming bin -- just open and serve. 

Spring cleaning. 'Tis the season to de-clutter. At last you’ve got the time you need to make a thorough inventory of everything in your closets, and in your storage bins up in the attic. Don't forget to do your bookshelves and cabinets, too. Triage (or quat-age): keep; sell; give away;, throw out. Just remember that whatever you touch needs be thoroughly sanitized before it leaves your home. To be on the safe side, best to set the charity pick-up date for after your quarantine is up.

Puzzles and board games. Scrabble, chess, Monopoly, every sort of card game, crosswords, brain teasers – all available in online versions. And then, of course, there are the Settlers of Cataan, the World of Warcraft, Minecraft, Fortnite, or the zillion others with legions of online fans. Or get retro with some old-fashioned physical things, like Jenga, jigsaw puzzles, the Where’s Waldo? Books, and “Second Glance” in the Sunday Post Magazine.

Crafts. Too much virtual life, not enough tactile sensation? You need to knit! Or crochet, or embroider, or tat lace, or make a patchwork quilt. Don't worry, you can order the supplies on Amazon.

Home workouts/yoga/exercise programs. There are more options to keep your body moving, no matter your age, body type, condition, or proclivities, than I can list, so I won't even try. With or without specialized home equipment, as long as you have an internet-enabled screen where you exercise, you will be able to find a program/subscription lesson, to guide your activity, whatever it may be.

Books/Audiobooks/Podcasts. Do you have a list of books you wish you’d read but never had the time? If you’ve got 14 days to kill, "War and Peace" could be just the thing. Or Moby-Dick. How about this for the most appropriate classic you never read: Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year.  (9 hours 17 min, $13.99 on Audible) -- very long but if you’ve got 14 days to kill, you can do it. Prefer new content to the classics? Find some podcasts you like – but watch out because they’re addictive, and once you’re hooked, you’ll never have enough time to listen to all the good stuff that keeps on coming. Here’s a recommended top-50 list to get you started:

….And finally, for the vast majority of you who are not confined, and are going about your daily business – be sure to call those who are in self-quarantine to ask if they need you to run any errands for them. Or stop by and drop off a casserole. Say hello through the doorbell-cam and make someone's day. Seeing you will be like getting a fresh bouquet of flowers. Or you could drop that off, too!

We will get through this together. As Dan Rather used to sign off his newscasts back in the day, “Courage.”

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.   

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