Quarantine Chronicles Day 6: It’s peanut butter and jelly chicken wings night!

I don’t feel unique or special today, now that there are 75 million Americans in the once-exclusive Isolationland. In fact, if the isolated Americans got together and seceded from the rest of the country — think the South in the 1860s, but with perhaps a more noble cause—American Isolationland would be the 20th largest country in the world, ahead of the UK, France and Thailand.

Here’s a bit of advice from a journeyman hermit who’s in Day 6 of strict lockdown of the sort where I’m not even supposed to go out to get the paper, which doesn’t bother me as much as it would if I still subscribed to a newspaper:

Don’t get bored, Think of all the time you’ve been sitting at your desk going over escrow papers or budget proposals and thinking to yourself, “If I could just go home, I’d learn how to play the cornet or take a course in how to speak Flemish…” and then when you actually do get home, you don’t do the thing you were dreaming about but instead you put on your slippers, slide into an easychair with a cocktail or a giant bong and eventually pass out or, as you may term it, “fall asleep.”

And that’s OK for a while. I’m not here to judge you, I’m here to tell you how to live your life. So I’d recommend you, at a minimum, binge watch a season or two of some of the fine stuff that’s floating around on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney and other streaming services.

The best thing we’ve seen in a long time are the two seasons of “Patriot,” a deeply dark and extremely funny show that, judging from the title, you might think was another action-packed Tom Clancy knockoff, but it’s far from that. It’s difficult to explain and if you watch it, maybe you can take a shot at describing it. Don’t let the show’s four-star rating dissuade you.

The two kinds of people in this world are divided by those who gave it five stars and those who gave it one. After an extraordinarily bad job Amazon did in promoting the show, it has been canceled. Watch it now, then boycott Amazon until they bring it back.

Learning an instrument is on many people’s list of things to do someday when there’s a lockdown on most of the country.

Guitar is perhaps the instrument most people want to learn, and YouTube is loaded with guitar lessons for beginners. Nate Savage’s First Guitar Lesson for Beginners is a great place to start. Check it out and after 20 minutes you’ll be playing a competent version of America’s “A Horse With No Name.”

If guitar is too ambitious, you might want to spend a bit of time mastering the ukulele, an instrument that’s generally cheaper than a guitar and is just a little more difficult to play than a kazoo. For a beginner, try this Aussie bloke, Justin on YouTube.

And, of course, there’s a whole orchestra of other lessons on YouTube, including how to play the aforementioned cornet, but hopefully there will be a cure or vaccine for coronavirus before you master the horn. In fact, I’d recommend giving up now.

For those with a tin ear but with a nice set of cookware, you might want to take this down time to become a culinary wizard, and again, the internet is the place to learn. Me, I just want to make the occasionally palatable meal. Subsistence-level dining is the best I might be able to accomplish in the kitchen and there’s even a few good sites for those of us with limited imaginations.

My Fridge Food is one place where you just click off whatever ingredients you have in your food and pantry and it tosses out a bunch of recipes. It’s indicative of how low I’m running on supplies right now that I’m relegated, according to My Fridge Food, to a diet of mayoless chicken salad, beer cheese dip and peanut butter and jelly chicken wings, which the site describes as “it’s as good as you think.” I’m afraid that’s probably true.

Finally, I’m sure there’s no shortage of things you’ve gotta get done around the house. And if you can’t think of any, try asking your spouse for suggestions.

Happily, I’m well set in this category since the Barn gate came adrift from its hinges last night, plus the toilet seat needs to be replaced, and our housekeeper is in isolation, too. I don’t have time to fritter the day away with writing.

How are you spending your time in isolation? Let me know. I’m running out of ideas. Send tips and suggestions on how to pass the time until we’re all back at our jobs, however essential they may be. I’m at [email protected] and @grobaty on Twitter and Facebook.

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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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