During this, what historians may very well one day call The Great Quarantine, I’ve had plenty of time to think, as many of you have as well, especially if you happen like me to live alone. For those of us who just told the government we’re the entire population of our domiciles, if we want to hear conversation, we not only have to talk to ourselves, but we also have to supply the responses as well.
While waiting out my work furlough from my usual weekly full forty, I think I’ve come to appreciate beautiful weather days more. With so much time spent inside, on a day like last Friday, what a joy it was to work around the yard on spring chores under blue skies and shafts of solar energy!
During my sometimes thrice-daily walks, I see so many of my fellow pedestrians walking dogs. I have to laugh when I think of what must be going on in those canine brains. Surely, never have they ever been walked this often or this long. I have a feeling that once we get back to our normal business, the pooches will look back on this period of time in much the same way I look back on the youthful halcyon days of Whiffle ball in my backyard, a yard magically transformed into Yankee Stadium with an oak tree down the left-field line and a hickory tree down the right-field line that knocked down many a high-arcing drive and prevented Jim Fry’s, Wayne Neu’s and my home runs.
While I know many of you are probably on corona overload when it comes to newscasts and newspapers ever since that unholy union between bat and human in China became our problem as well, please allow me tangentially to use the topic to discuss what’s been going on within my four walls.
With so much home time, I’ve started looking around the house for projects. Since my toolbox is pretty much literally empty of socket wrenches and drill bits and such and also figuratively empty as far as any mechanical aptitude even if I had them, that means housekeeping projects.
I’ve long been disgusted when I’ve peered into the cabinet used for medicines beside the oven for an antacid tablet or Band-Aid. It’s a tangle of nearly or even fully empty prescription bottles and three-fourths-gone bottles of Nyquil and other partial products that show expiration dates that predate Obama’s senatorial days.
During my work in that cabinet, I actually found a box of Alka-Seltzer sporting an expiration date of February 1993. So fascinated was I, I texted a photo of the date on the box to my lovely daughters and my Lady Jane. While I don’t think Jane found that terribly unusual as she tends to hang on to items for long stretches herself, my daughters were appalled and sent back identical three-word texts, “Throw THAT out!”
I will tell you that before I tossed that ‘Seltzer, I had to experiment. I filled a glass with water, tore open the foil and dropped in two tablets, and the effervescence was spectacular! It appears in the world of products that have the life span of a California sequoia that those age-defying cans of Spam just may have some competition.
Another project I thought worthy of a chunk of time was addressing that low double-cabinet full of the varsity team for storing leftovers — Tupperware and Glad containers — and the JV squad I’ve amassed over time, consisting of cottage cheese and butter containers and jars, containers once I washed them, seemed too good to throw out.
Once I had the containers out, I counted them, 86 in all. I thought about stacking them in some sort of orderly fashion but eschewed that notion because I’d always be grabbing the same ones from the top, thus stifling the creativity involved in fishing around for just the right one. So, I shoveled them all back in and closed the cabinet doors. Organization is sometimes overrated, right?
Henry David Thoreau, the famous philosopher and avowed minimalist, would have been disgusted. From his signature book “Walden,” he wrote, “I had three pieces of limestone on my desk, but I was terrified to find they required to be dusted daily, when the furniture of my mind was all undusted still, and threw them out the window in disgust.” Were he here today, I’d tell him that it was easy to throw those out because you can’t store a single serving of leftover spaghetti in a stone!
I’ve also discovered the joy of increased reading with more time on my hands, thanks to my pal of over six decades, Mike Schepp, who generously passes along sports-related books frequently. Entertainment-wise, Netflix has been a godsend, especially when the streaming option delivered unto me Joe Exotic and all his “Tiger King” one-would-swear mythical associates.
Also, I’m doing my best to eat and drink just a little less and pray just a little more. Look, I know it’s been pretty tough these days, folks, but I have to believe we’ll fully get through this, as long as we stick together even if we’re standing on those taped X’s six feet apart at Meijer right now.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.