Day 7,245,612

The quarantine continues.

It’s not really day 7,245,612. Just feels like it. Stir crazy? You don’t know the half of it. Or the eighth of it. How does Solomon express his stir-crazy-ness? Screaming. Lots of screaming. He’s just a kid. Six year-olds have big emotions. So they scream.

How do I express my stir-crazy-ness? This silly thing. I guess I’m just a kid, too. Thirty-nine year-olds have big emotions. We just come up with different ways to let them out.

It’s not like I’m not busy. Or working hard. I teach Tuesday and Thursday morning. From 8:00 – 12:00. Via Zoom. I bounce from one virtual meeting to another. Meetings with advisees. With students. With colleagues. I still have all sorts of writing deadlines. Academic tasks. So don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I have time on my hands. I still have stir-crazy-ness, though. And I’m trying to find better coping mechanisms than screaming.

I hope you are finding better coping mechanisms than screaming, too.

***

I’m healthy. Katie is healthy. Solomon and Samson, too. Knock on wood. Throw some salt over your shoulder. Shout Hallelujah. Health is more important than kicking this stir-crazy-ness. I’ll take social distancing over the Black Death, thank you very much.

There’s confirmed cases of the Covid monster in State College now. Confirmed cases of students at Penn State with the bug. The pastor of the church where our kids go (went?) to daycare had it, too. The Corona monster.

I spent most of last week indoors. We went for a family walk or a family drive each day. Very familial. But, for the most part, I was relegated to my office. To a screen. Drinking coffee. Snacking. Getting fat. Working on papers. Playing Dragon Quest. So it goes with life in a bubble.

Our elderly neighbor walked over last week. While the boys were riding their bikes on our driveway. She’s a very kind woman. She got very close to Katie and the boys. Too close. Social distancing? Who needs it? Not our neighbor, let me tell you what. She also brought a deck of cards and Play-Doh that she had in her garage. A gift for the boys. Very kind. But I’m trying to take this whole we-might-all-die-any-second thing pretty seriously. So I won’t pretend I wasn’t irritated by the interaction. I shook off my anxiety and fear that she was crawling with Covid monsters. Enzymes and molecules and whatnot. Kindness is important too, so I told her to let us know if she needs anything. And then I let the boys play with their new cards after she left. After we washed our hands 7,245,612 times.

Such is life in the quarantine.

***

I don’t know how this will end. When it will end. What things will be like after it ends. This feels like a significant moment. In my life, yes, but in all of our lives. Even for those of you who don’t fear the Covid. That would be fun satire. A parody of “Don’t Fear The Reaper.” Seasons don’t fear the Covid, nor do Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and the insane.

That’s part of what stir-crazy-ness does for me. Makes me want to joke around. I can’t help it. The stories I’m writing and recording with my friend Ben are embarrassing. And I can’t help but worry that serious people would make serious judgments on my character if they were to seriously see them. But sometimes I don’t want to be a serious person. An adult. Sometimes I want to play. And I’ve loved connecting with former students, actors, and improvisers as we’ve recording dumb readings of our dumb scripts. We’ve laughed together. And here’s something I know – serious adulthood be damned – laughing together is a good thing.

I repeat. Laughing together is a good thing. I’m willing to risk embarrassment for laughter. The condemnation of serious people. The slings and arrows of judgment and scorn. I like laughing with people. So sue me.

Here’s something my favorite author Kurt Vonnegut wrote:

Laughs are exactly as honorable as tears. Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion, to the futility of thinking and striving anymore. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward

-My Favorite Author K. Vonnegut

That’s a nice quote. Frustrated? Exhausted? I’m both of those things right now. I hope you are, too. Because that means you’re taking the Covid monster seriously. And you should be. But that doesn’t mean you can’t laugh at it.

So the quarantine continues. Stay safe, America. Stay safe, the universe. There’s heavy principalities and powers moving out there. But there’s good energy, too. Laughter is good energy. Find something to laugh at today, will ya?

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