“Quarantine Life” – or “Shelter in Place” or “Stay Safe At Home” or however you define our altered existence in the time of the COVID-19 global pandemic – has its challenges.
Staying away from other people is Job One, so that means exercising independently (walking and/or running very early in the day or late at night allows you to avoid everyone except vampires, werewolves and, oddly enough, mimes). One should also make only guerilla runs to the grocery store and pharmacy (if you buy and eat enough bananas and chocolate, I’ve learned, you’ll find that the need for toilet paper decreases dramatically).
Beyond the restricted movement, however, is the fact that you’re stuck in the house with whoever else shares that house.
For me, that’s not a problem at all.
With female human Mary, male canines Charlie and Steve, and male felines Thor and Bane surrounding me, I’ve got it made.
I love them all and want to spend as much time with them as I can.
In fact, the only real difference now is Mary being at home 24/7. While I walk the dogs and clean the litter box under normal circumstances anyway, I don’t have to walk Mary or clean her litter box at all.
She’s low maintenance in that regard.
No, my only concern during the quarantine is how much of me they’ll be able to stand before this crisis passes. Even though I’m clearly a Trophy Husband, I’m on record as saying that I get on my own nerves. I can only imagine what effect I have on others.
The animals seem to be taking it well – so far, anyway.
We still have our own basketball team (I’m the center, Charlie and Bane are forwards, Thor is the point guard and Steve the shooting guard), but due to social distancing we don’t have any opposition.
To be fair we didn’t have any before – when I knocked on doors asking if anyone had four animals in their home and wanted to play interspecies hoops, the response was underwhelming.
I did get to interact with police officers a couple of times, though.
Without sports we do a lot of in-house plays these days.
Right now we’re rehearsing The Shawshank Redemption and I have to tell you – Thor really brings the passion to the role of Red Redding.
But I do wonder how this all impacts Mary.
Monday through Friday she’s still working from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., so my task is to make sure the animals stay out of her way. She has transformed a bedroom into an office, so she can close the door and conduct business as normally as possible.
But sometimes I forget she’s working (or pretend to forget) and interrupt her.
For reasons I can’t adequately explain, I like to pull my pants up to my man breasts and strut around the house. Often this leads to dancing – glorious, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo-inspired dancing.
When she’s on the phone or conducting a meeting via Zoom, this is probably distracting.
In addition, I catch myself thoughtlessly (and sometimes loudly) singing songs I’ve written. Last week it I was stuck on this ditty, sung to the tune of Frère Jacques:
I miss soccer, I miss hockey,
Roundball too, roundball too
I wanna see a cross-check
A hard foul that draws a tech
He’ll shoot two, he’ll shoot two.
Also – according to Mary – I’m prone to making annoying noises.
In fairness, the bodies of people my age tend to make annoying noises on their own. These days when my stomach growls it sounds like a couple of gremlins trying to have a conversation, and when I get up off the futon it’s as though someone just poured milk on a bowl of Rice Krispies.
Beyond that, I have a tendency to make random sounds just for the hell of it.
Mary calls one of them my “old man voice,” which is basically just me talking in a manner in which an old man would talk. There’s a lot of grunting involved.
Another is a high-pitched cross between a whistle and a sucking noise. I don’t really know why I make it but when I do it causes our critters’ ears to perk up. Once when the TV was on it disrupted the satellite and the next thing you know we were watching a Japanese network.
Long story slightly shorter, I’m a walking, talking irritant, but Mary doesn’t do anything that tests my patience.
Neither do Charlie, Thor, Bane or Steve, except for the occasional vomit, diarrhea, barking or clawing events.
I’m lucky in so many ways, not the least of which is that quarantine life for me is still basically just, well, life.
I hope Mary can say the same thing a few weeks (or months) from now – especially after I’ve had a chance to develop a few new dance routines.