Part of the fun of writing for Retro is knowing that, given our relatively shared demographics (age, education, affluence, political persuasion, etc.), we are likely to hit very common chords in our stories. Stories that will resonate — be they happily or sadly — with each other. Layer on top of this the lives we have all been forced to live these last weeks under the shadow of a pandemic and we are likely to hit even more common chords.
Of course, this is also a euphemistic way of saying that our options have become incredibly limited of late. For, while such commonality may breed greater collegiality, it also makes originality that much tougher. For example, I am willing to bet that none of us will be writing about having gone off to a Fantasy Baseball Camp this spring to see if he/she can slip a 90-MPH slider past a former Major Leaguer.
Accordingly, I am doubtful that my experiences of the past several weeks, primarily hunkered down at home, are that different from many others’. So, rather than suggest otherwise — e.g. my isolation is somehow different and more interesting than your isolation — let me just present, in a stream of consciousness manner, a number of points as to my own experiences. If I were more industrious, I might have converted them to power points with flashy graphics and charts but, since I am more or less living in sweatpants these days, any expectations of such industriousness on my part would be delusional.* And if a couple of them resonate with any of you, well, then my work here is done.
- My wife and I regularly remind ourselves how fortunate we are to have gotten away for a wonderful vacation in New Zealand in January and, more generally, how fortunate we are to be (so far) healthy, safe, and financially secure.
- I try to stream at least one on-line lecture a day, either from The Great Courses or from a link to free Yale courses my older daughter sent me. They are principally in the areas of classical music and language and linguistics. They are very purposely not related to law or accounting — the areas of my professional life for decades.
- I have also had a ton of Zoom meetings with my various non-profit boards. The first wave primarily dealt with postponing or cancelling major events and the second wave with applying for SBA loans. Now we are just trying to deal with institutional matters as well and as regularly as possible. In the process, I would like to think I have become a fairly proficient Zoom techie — though that usually just means just reminding others how to unmute themselves.
- We have also started having Zoom “cocktail” parties with friends and family. Actually very nice, as there is no need to worry what you’ll wear, what you should serve or bring, or driving home afterwards. And, in many ways, these parties have resulted in more frequent — and more appreciated — contacts with people we love and care about than likely would otherwise be the case.
- Streaming movies and series. Lots of movies and series.
- Weather permitting, a long walk together every day and some (solo — duh) time on the elliptical machine every day. I’ve decided that running outside with a mask on and while observing social distancing rules is just too damn difficult.
- Grocery shopping once a week and going out to any public place (e.g., grocery or liquor store, pharmacy, post office, restaurant for take-out, etc.) no more than once on any day. For tips as to how to (hopefully) safely have an annual car inspection, contact me off-line.
- Reading. Lots of reading. And thank goodness for Kindle. Also, doing the Times’ crossword puzzle every day, even the really easy ones early in the week.
- CNN. Especially for Cuomo’s pressers.
- Screaming and yelling about Trump’s latest insanities and about the idiocy (at best) and sheer evil (more likely) of Republican politicians.
- Noticing for the first time (though I really try not to) just how much more toilet paper women use than men.
- See No. 1 above.
*And they are numbered rather than bulleted only because I couldn’t get the Retro bullet point function to work. And, yeah, I didn’t bother too hard to try to fix that.