Like everyone else, I have been marooned at home for months. I realize I have no reason to complain, since that would make me sound like a spoiled brat.
I have a lovely house, fabulous food cooked by my sweetie pie, a well-stocked wine rack and some spirits socked away just in case the Zombie Apocalypse rears its messy head. Then there’s the chocolate drawer in the fridge, where regular people probably keep fruits and vegetables. But, after recovering from an overweight childhood where I was yelled at every time that ancient refrigerator door latch gave me away, I keep all that sweet stuff available just because I can. My house! My fridge! My rules!
I also have my trusty Kindle on which to read, daily newspapers delivered to my front door, and Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO Now. Add to that my dog and a few kitties who are always happy to sit in my lap, and well, gosh, I’m quarantining in luxury.
And yet…I’m struggling.
“What’s on tap for tomorrow?” my sweetie pie says at the end of every day.
At which point we smile sadly, since there is generally nothing on tap. For excitement we go to the grocery store, once we’ve rigged up our masks. The other day, we had to pick up something at the dry cleaner. That, depressingly, was our singular outing that day.
I can’t help but think of Billy Murray in Groundhog Day, where as Phil Collins – a cranky weatherman hemmed in by a snowstorm – he’s trapped in a never-ending loop, repeating the same day over and over.
“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same,” Phil opines in the film. “And nothing that you did mattered?”
As anyone who’s seen the film can attest, Phil is pretty much a complete jerk. At least, he was at the start, but as the same day continually repeats itself, Phil becomes a better person.
“Have I gotten nicer during quarantine?” I asked my sweetie pie.
He looked over the top of his reading glasses. “Are you looking for me to say yes?”
Feeling no need to have him elaborate, I left it at that. Clearly Phil was responding better than I to the sameness of the days.
I wondered why this lockdown was not working for me. Pre-Corona I had too much to do, a situation that had me longing for retirement. Now that I’m retired from teaching and football officiating, shouldn’t I be happy?
According to the article “The Mental Health Survival Guide to the Pandemic,” in Psychology Today, “As people practice their social distancing and hole up in their homes, two prominent feelings are likely to emerge, boredom and restlessness. Many are already experiencing these feelings.”
“When our routines are disrupted, accomplishing the priorities in our lives can be severely compromised. Many people begin to feel lost. They aren’t quite sure what they are supposed to be doing with their time. They begin to have too much free time on their hands. They come up with some tasks to do, but at the end of the day, they may feel that they didn’t accomplish as much as they normally do. This leaves them feeling distressed, bored, or restless.”
Yep and yep and yep!
What can we do with all this free time? I was considering my options when I caught a glimpse of my two cats, calmly reclining, spooning with one another. Since spending my days at home, I’ve noticed, for the first time, just how much those kitties sleep. After their breakfast, they settle in and rarely move until dinner time, which apparently does not leave them feeling “distressed, bored, and restless.”
Perhaps there’s a lesson in that somewhere. Maybe one need not accomplish a lot each day to be content.
“Where are you going?” my sweetie pie asked.
“To take a nap.”
“Good for you.”
He didn’t have to say, “Maybe that will make you nicer.”
Wild Horses on the Salt
A woman flees an abusive husband
and finds hope in the wilds of the Arizona desert.
Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint
Order your copy here: http://mybook.to/wildhorsespb
Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.
Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.
Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?