Yesterday my husband and I made a concerted effort to not go anywhere.
We have enough food, enough toilet paper, enough entertainment. By the end of the day though, we were tired of lounging in our jammies saying to each other, “Isn’t this great?” The roast and potatoes and carrots tasted like Sunday dinner without the guests. Hmm. Maybe a shower and getting dressed would have helped the humor after twelve hours of forced leisure. Even our dog seemed lowly, dumped out on the carpet. I looked at his water bowl and realized that in the change of routine, we’d neglected him.
Still, I predict great things to come of this social quarantine, don’t you?
Boredom births games, boredom births conversations, and silliness, and sex.
I’d already seen several programs on the T.V. and just wanted to click off the power button. It felt like the reruns after 9/11. I decided to clean a room, and I found some forgotten treasures! In that little corner of heaven and for a couple of hours, I saw why cleanliness might prove to be next to godliness.
Explorations in the bookshelf, the stored software-to-learn list, webinars held on the back burner, homeschooling and getting to know one’s kids will all take shape.
All that attention kids need and crave from their parents will feel a little awkward at first. Arguments and fights will break out. They’ll look each other in the eye after a few hours and think, is this really happening? Do I even know this person in my house?! Then, the serious discussions will start to take place. Values, politics, meaning, personal strengths and weaknesses, the I-never and what-if discussions.
Things you never wanted to do, you’ll do, and discover you’re pretty good at it given some time.
After we slap our foreheads, remembering to feed our pets out of routine, we’ll tire of the couch and go out to weed the garden. Who weeds the garden anymore? Lawn services are the closest thing to beautifying the landscape we see around our neighborhood.
- So, we’ll go outside there, and find some twigs to tie into wreaths and furniture.
- We’ll decide to whittle a piece of wood into shape. We’ll find some glue or caulk or paint and start playing around. Our faces will relax. Smiles will be found.
- Families will tell stories about grandparents and ancestry and wonder whether they should plan to visit their past in another state, another country entirely. Budgets for historical discovery will be made.
- Designers will remember that they enjoyed drawing at one time, and they will begin to design upgrades to their houses. Negotiators, desperate for an income, will negotiate prices for work. The economy will plunge and adjust and perhaps prices will take a turn for the more reasonable.
- Inventors will grow industrious. I remember we had installed a gas fireplace with a self-lighting pilot light in our old home because, at the time, rolling electrical black-outs were an issue in winter. In this particular crisis, I’m not sure how helpful the self-lighting pilot would be to eradicate COVID-19, but I am sure that industrious minds will begin to invent heath systems, tools, and hacks for hospitals, homestays, working from home, and bartering.
- Would-be authors who have always wanted to write their masterpiece will begin an outline, a first page, a rewrite.
- People who fear big brother’s orchestration of society and privacy will invent new protections and products and ideas.
- Lawsuits will be settled outside of courtrooms. Fences mended.
- We will face our inconsistencies as human beings and personal failures won’t spiral into martyrdom into, “Yes, I’m the trash heap of humanity.” We’ll have the time to talk through specifics, and analyze behaviors, and practice improvement.
- Stress factors will release their vice-grip on life, and when we take a long look at what our parent or child is capable of, we will want to form a production line in the family to make the best ideas flourish.
- The wiggle worms will get in their cars and drive around to discover what is going on around them, what spring looks like, what birds congregating in gangly trees sound like in chorus.
- Adult kids will remember their neighborly shut-ins, their elderly parents and grandparents, and try to do whatever they can to assist them out of loneliness and fear. Concerted efforts to meet these needs will be met with surprising rewards.
- Those who enjoy singing will sing again, privately or from their balconies, together in their families, in devotion to their God and to each other. Songs will be written. Pictures painted.
- Family meals prepared and eaten around a dining room table. And, someone will say, “Thank you!” “Um, this is good. Is there more?” And, someone else will decide to eat together on the sunny patio and say, “What did you learn today from this strange isolation? Did you invent something wonderful?”
- And, a kid will say, “I found the sewing machine and decided to hem my pants, but then I tried to make something else, and guess what? I can sew!”
All of these things will happen because we are not toting each other to hockey, basketball, concerts, the gym, school, our places of worship, and work. Deadlines will not rise up and press against our very bodies for closet space. Instead, Leisure will introduce herself as the new skeleton in our closets.