The Quarantimes 3: The 4 Flavors of Quarantining

April 3rd, 2020

Yesterday I watched my daughter pop a shiny object she called a “jewel” in her mouth. I freaked out and screamed SPIT IT OUT!!!!! It turned out to be a vitamin gummy. My husband and mom watched me in alarm and mentally nudged the bottle of xanax in my direction.

I am not sure what stage of grief I am in. It seems like a mashup of anger, denial, and acceptance — with a sprinkling of unhinged.

I have a few outlets. One is obviously wine. Another is reading (not the news!) and a third is my beloved bullet journal.

On the first of every month, I set an agenda and intentions for the month ahead in my bullet journal. This is called the “Monthly View,” and it typically looks something like this:

 That was March. Almost none of these things ended up happening as we swiftly went into shelter-in-place toward the beginning of the month. Caylie did not come visit me from Mexico. I did not get to see my friend Ingrid’s daughter in her school musical. I didn’t get to take my stepfather out to dinner to celebrate his 14th year of sobriety. We didn’t see my friend’s band, Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, live with my whole Western Mass tribe. We didn’t attend the Off the Wall arts benefit in town. And Jon didn’t visit his mom in Utah. 

The last thing I did socially was lunch with Antonia on March 20th at an eerily empty restaurant in Brattleboro, where I held my breath as the server took our order. I’ll remember that date fondly, A! Until we meet again!

Here is what April’s monthly view looks like:

I enjoyed getting it down on paper anyway. This is a snapshot of a moment in time, a record I am keeping with keen curiosity for the future.

Just because there is nothing on my calendar, though, does not mean I’m bored or un-busy. It just means that every day is a similar routine of trying to keep my freelance writing business afloat while entertaining small children and spending an awful lot of time sanitizing things and strategizing how to get groceries.

At this point in our collective quarantine I’ve noticed four different factions emerging:

  1. The self-care contingent: Learn a musical instrument! Practice a foreign language! Pick up a meditation practice! These people do not have children or have to scramble to keep work afloat right now. They’re actually in danger of being bored. Note that some of them are channeling their free time into things like making masks for healthcare workers, and that is a beautiful thing.

  2. The “you don’t have to be productive right now” faction: So many memes emerging about this one. Every one of them makes me cringe. They should be followed with *Assuming you don’t still have a job and small children who thrive on routine.

  3. The working-from-home parents: These are my people and I feel them deeply. We belong to Facebook groups called “Quarantined with kids support group” and enjoy watching other moms lose their shit in their cars on YouTube. Solidarity.

  1. The willful individualists who don’t like being told what to do: These are the ones using dubious statistics taken out of context to insist that sheltering in place is absurd and we should all just go about our normal lives. Screw the old people; the government can’t tell me what to do. 

Regardless of what group you belong to, note that they’re all valid choices (except the last one, obviously). 

I am definitely a number three. So far in these weeks of quarantine I’ve had time to watch two episodes of Tiger King, read about a third of a book, learn zero new languages, do zero meditating, go for a few mentally necessary but not calisthenic walks, and keep my fruitless dream of doing yoga with my kids just barely alive. 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

What I’m reading:

My second-cousin Ben Bangs’ daily briefings on Facebook from his farm in rural Northern Vermont are giving me daily joy. I am pretty sure they are set to public

 What I’m watching:

Like everyone, I am into Andrew Cuomo’s boss handling of the New York breakout in his daily briefings on Facebook Live.

What I’m coloring:

This coloring project with my kids this weekend: 

Download here 

What I’m eating: 

I have never had a rice krispie treat in my life. I see them wrapped in cellophane at shitty coffee shops and bake sales and think, why would anything eat that? Which is why it’s extra weird that I made some the other day. 

Of course, they were hippie rice krispie treats from the Cookie + Kate food blog: 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

They didn’t have any actual sugar, but were sweetened with honey, and since I didn’t have any chocolate chips left, I resorted to very dark, bitter chocolate sweetened with honey. Out of pecans, too, but we had walnuts. And we had some co-op brand “rice crispy cereal” on hand I bought recently that no one was eating. 

What I’m working on:

For Jane VC: How To Pitch A Venture Capitalist Virtually

For Eventbrite: 4 Tips to Ensure Your Wellness Event is a Safe Space for Attendees

For Eventbrite: New to Live Online Events? Here’s Your Plan


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2 Responses to “The Quarantimes 3: The 4 Flavors of Quarantining”

  1. Lindsay says:

    Thank you for calling out group 2! There is so much “hey you don’t have to be productive” in academia because, hey we won’t lose our jobs (we don’t think). Many think we shouldn’t want our students to be productive either. But those kids that thrive on routine at five, just may be university students who (totally unlike myself at 19) want to write their papers and be taken seriously. It’s a balance of course. Some students will be watching younger siblings or feeling the stress of family members out of work. Hard to give everyone what they need but the “end of productivity” team is missing something (likely toddlers).

  2. Liz Hamilton says:

    Rice crispies never sounded so good!
    I am planning on making some cauliflower soup today.
    Making food I don’t normally make & cleaning out my cupboards is a way of being productive & keeping my
    mind off of what’s going on.

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