Quarantine Chronicles Day 16: A slow day in Isolationland with a log in the fireplace and a whale of a quarantini

It’s Day 16 of being cloistered like a Carmelite and I’m sitting in my well-used easy chair looking out the window. My neighbors across the street have a garden bursting with a fireworks explosion of roses, so the view could be worse, though I’d appreciate a little variety. Maybe something along the lines of a dancing pony.

The rosiest prediction (to stick to our floral theme just a moment longer) of when we’ll begin to emerge from this pandemic is the end of April, though mid-June is looking more likely. On June 15, if I continue my impressive streak of wellness, I’ll be submitting Quarantine Chronicles Day 92. That one will be easy for a change, because I’ll have lots of material: What Shall We Do Now That It’s Over? I Was Kinda Secretly Hoping for 100 Days. And 101 Fun Craft Ideas You Can Do With Your Overhoarded Toilet Paper.

For now, out of an abundance of caution, I’ve just purchased my Spring Line of Corona Couture online: Sweat pants, four T-shirts and a new pair of slippers. Should be good enough to last another 76 days.

And don’t worry about me and my fireplace logs (Your concern is palpable; don’t deny it). In the “My Boss Is Better Than Your Boss” contest I’ve extended my lead. You’re basically mathematically eliminated. Yesterday, David Sommers, my beloved publisher, snuck onto my porch to deliver a box of Duraflame fireplace logs and, much more heartbreakingly, a jug of Gray Whale Gin, a spectacular tasting quarantini base with hints of flora that you’d find along the California Gray Whales’ migration route, from hand-zested limes from Baja California to the kelp beds of Mendocino. I’ll never go back to machine-zested limes. Everybody else: Tell your bosses to up their game. It’s getting embarrassing.

Logs, loudmouth and loungewear. I’ve got everything I need to remain in hibernation.

Lindsey Dobruck, whose name rings a bell, comes up with a suggestion for passing the days: “Now is a great time to watch all the films on ‘AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movies’ list,” she writes. “I prefer the original list to the 10-year anniversary edition, but to each their own. Both have ‘Citizen Kane’ as No. 1, but an equally fantastic journalism movie, ‘It Happened One Night,’ drops from 35th to 46th. ‘The Best Years of Our Lives’ is steady at No. 37, a real tear-jerker if you haven’t seen it.”

As for which AFI list is better, it’s a close one for me. I’ve seen 63 on the original list, and 64 on the 10th anniversary list. And I’ve seen 100 on my own list, which changes daily. But, anyway, go ahead and watch a movie.

Reader Cynthia Evans is enduring her own life of isolation with her husband. She writes, “At least we aren’t sick. I keep calling people cuz I’m lonely and need some socializing, but then I realize I have nothing to talk about—having had another day of sitting obsessively reading the news, walking the dog and then watching ‘Ozark’—which I think is quite good. Oh yeah, and eating. So glad to have a show the DH and I can enjoy together. Thank you for your journal. I hope you don’t have to write it for too long—it’s only until Easter right?”

No, Easter is shaping up like halftime.

As for a daily playlist, 16 isn’t a very sung-about number except for creepy leering tunes about underage girls. But, thank God, as always, for the Replacements, right?

Here, listen to a fine demo of the tune. I got a window needs looking out of. Throw on a log and hand me that jug.

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.
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