A COVID-19 Grobaty family reunion last summer, from left, Ray, Hannah, Tim and Jane. Photo by Ray Grobaty.

It’s Day 50 of living safely at home. A celebration in isolation.

This exile was amusing for a few days back in mid-March, hanging around in sweats and slippers with my dogs and having plenty of things to write about. Now it’s turned into waiting for the mailman, watching masked strangers walk by the house (it’s great Nextdoor fodder: “People wearing masks keep walking by my house! I have reported it.), making coffee and figuring out what I’ll have for breakfast and then lunch and then dinner and then read and fall asleep and wake up and make coffee and wonder what I’ll have for breakfast….

In the early days it was all about self-improvement, crafts, organization. Learning a new language. How’s that going for everyone? Pas bon? No bueno? Le Lelei? (I should have chosen Samoan. It seems easy, like singing.)

Cleaning things up around the house? I gave it a bit of a go, but for the last couple of weeks it’s been mostly treading water by spending the first half the day making a mess and wrapping up the second half by cleaning it up.

There have been a few moments of joy interspersed between hours and days of boredom.

Yesterday, our son Raymond dropped by to visit from one end of our sweeping greensward while my wife, Hannah and I chatted with him from the safety of the porch. The dogs rushed out in open defiance of the social-distancing rule and hopped all over him for a while and then dutifully brought potentially coronavirus-laden germs back to us. So, that was a nice break.

And today is shaping up to be an extraordinary day with the possibility of exotic travel! I’m out of prescription meds, so a field trip to the pharmacy is in the cards, plus the dog-food cupboard is bare, so there’s another excursion to the Paw Shoppe for a couple of flats of hearty beef-and-potato stew and some extra items, maybe a twined set of pig ears.

But largely, days are spent in front of the computer, either writing this ridiculously long series of columns that is giving “As the World Turns” a solid race for endurance with similarly long stretches of nothing happening, or trying to keep up with COVID news.

Staying abreast of COVID facts, while recommended for those of us locked in our rumpus rooms and atriums with nothing to do other than continue to plug away at the Sunday New York Times special puzzle issue chock full of 48 mind-twisters to savagely kill time, is nevertheless depressing and has me calculating when my 100th column on a single subject should be coming out: June 23.

I can’t even imagine it. Perhaps the highly collectible No. 100 will be about the progress I’ll be making with my Ant Farm and my jar of Sea Monkeys, with a note about the joys of abandoning Amazon and instead ordering products from the back of comic books.

My concern now, in keeping up with the news, is if/when we’re ever going to flatten the curve, because we aren’t right now, and who’s going to win this battle between scientists and health officials largely in favor of staying safe-at-home for a bit longer, or business leaders who want to get the ball rolling again and the sooner the better.

There are good points to be made from both sides, though fouling up the equation are the rabid and loud liberationists, who think COVID-19 isn’t all that bad, if it’s even a thing. Plus, well, everybody dies, especially the weak and the aged, and demonstrations in several states tilt some folk into thinking that perhaps a nice cleansing wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, especially if we can all golf and go out to restaurants again like normal human beings used to do.

But, while there are good points to be made for each side in the lock-down/spring-open debate, the bad points for each side are worse than dismal. Keeping things closed, especially in Long Beach, where those closures extend to conventions and concerts and all that they bring to the city, would mean the city will have a slim chance of recovery for years. Whereas the down side to bringing those things back could have a rebound effect on the virus and make this pandemic of epic, historical proportions.

My tendency is to do whatever Gov. Newsom, working with advice from his health and medical experts, says is the correct and safe thing to do, because he’s been more right than wrong so far, despite all the grousing from everyone from level-headed businesspeople to the Trump-sign-wielding demonstrators and the money-driven decisions made by the governors in some states who are opening things up quicker than the disease is spreading. Without the restrictions Newsom has imposed, COVID would have a lot more deaths in the Golden State, maybe even yours and mine.

Tim Grobaty is a columnist and the Opinions Editor for the Long Beach Post. You can reach him at 562-714-2116, email [email protected], @grobaty on Twitter and Grobaty on Facebook.