The Quarantimes Week 5: The Misanthropes

April 17th, 2020

We’ve hit a turning point where even my most misanthropic daughter voluntarily told me she misses seeing other people.

It was the same morning that I myself, a consummate misser of people, began to spiral down. Suddenly, this “temporary quarantine” seems to be morphing into a permanent new way of life. Schools aren’t opening back up this year. Summer camps are on hold. Events that were supposed to happen months from now have been cancelled.

I am starting to wonder if life will ever be the same. It doesn’t help that it’s snowing in mid-April. I put my garden in; then, snow. My mother says New Englanders call it “nature’s fertilizer.”

Later, Phoebe and I went for a walk in the woods while Jon was bringing Eliza to her weekly venom therapy shot. The Carriage Trail behind our town’s tiny little library runs along a brook for about a mile or so to a bridge. We’ve done it several times. 


One thing I’ve been struggling with in the fives is the push and pull of needing me all the time but also not listening to me at all. So when Phoebe veered off course and decided we should cross the brook via a downed log, I at first resisted, but then acquiesced. I was tired and did not feel like putting my foot down.

When we got across the brook, which was really a river this time of year, I tried to head her back in the direction of the car. I assumed our adventure was complete, since I had already let my daughter lead the way across a mossy log over a rushing stream in low-40-degree weather. But when she realized my intentions, she had a minor fit. She did not want to end our outing so soon.

Again, I started to resist, then thought, why not humor her? I had an hour before my work call was scheduled to begin.


For the rest of the adventure I asked her at every turn which way she thought we should go. Of course, I steered her in the right direction, because, to be honest, I don’t entirely trust her sense of direction. But I could tell that she felt in charge, and that was pretty cool. 

I was late for my call. I let Phoebe watch YouTube videos of cats peeing in toilets for a solid hour while I was on the Zoom. And I found a tick on her while we were making dinner. Still, I’m calling this adventure a success.

What I’m doing:

My old friend Rebecca’s yoga class on Zoom on Fridays at 2 ET, which I am pleasantly surprised to be really into. Pardon my yogese but it has an incredible energy, and she’s just a real solid teacher. I’ve always appreciated that Rebecca has this way of combining articulate dialog with a very calm, common-sense presence. If you want in on this class, go here. (There were well over 200 people there the first week!)

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What I’m reading:

LIVING THROUGH A PANDEMIC OR POTTY TRAINING A TODDLER? on McSweeneys — the last point is the best.

Now’s a Good Time to Teach Your Kids to Play on Their Own

Independent play is a skill your kids will use for the rest of their lives — and a way to claim some time for yourself during quarantine.

What I’m listening to:

Ryan Adams Instagram covers by request are epic. 

What I’m eating:


What I’m working on:

It’s all about the remote work right now. I’m helping a lot of my technology clients write about how they’re weathering the shift to 100% remote, and how they’re enabling it for clients: The Quick Pivot to Remote: Lessons Learned from Helpshift

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