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Shell Shocked: Hunkering down

By Staff | Mar 31, 2020

Art Stevens

It was the worst of times. It was the worst of times. I need to differ publicly with Charles Dickens who started his famous novel “A Tale of Two Cities” with the line, “it was the best of times.”

There’s nothing “best” about living in the age of the coronavirus. Hopefully, we will find both a vaccine and a cure for it as soon as possible and relegate coronavirus to a distant memory bank as soon as possible. But in the meantime, we’re all hunkering down like a colony of recluses. I haven’t seen another human being in two weeks.

Naturally, I’ve grown a beard because who needs to shave when no one can see you? But like the rest of you out there – and I assume you’re all still there – it can get boring staying at home twenty-four hours a day. Yes, I’m watching Netflix and Amazon Prime more so than ever but my neck is getting sore from watching so much TV.

Now I know how prisoners who are confined to isolation cells must feel. But no one is there to put trays of food under my prison door. I’m left to fend for myself. This must be what it’s like after a nuclear war – stuck in your sanctuary rationing cans of sardines and tuna fish. Thank God I’m stocked up on vodka and wine. God, I’m so bored. I must find more things to do. I’ve been toying with some options.

I’m thinking about writing the great American novel. It would take place in Sanibel and would describe a world without Bailey’s and Jerry’s supermarkets. I was going to call it “The Agony and the Ecstasy” but that title is already taken.

The novel would fictionalize the war between the pickle farmers and the ferry boat captains in 1895 when Sanibel was a shell of its present self. But the fact is I’ve never written a novel, don’t really know how to go about it and am even more bored thinking about it.

I could always knit a sweater. But who needs a sweater heading into the warmer months? But here again, I’ve never knitted anything in my life and it would take me two years to learn how. I’m hoping that our lives will be normal again by that time.

I could spend time learning how to cook so that I can prepare gourmet meals for myself. But the thought of cleaning up afterwards leaves me cold. I have a phobia about washing pots and pans. I thought I was over this phobia, but I’m pleased to say that I’m not.

I could learn how to play the guitar online. But I don’t have a guitar. I have nothing that could be used in place of a guitar unless you think that I could assemble a makeshift guitar with scraps of metal and wires. But I don’t have those around either.

I suppose I could meditate for two hours a day but meditation to me is boring also. Imagine sitting around chanting a mantra like a Tibetan monk. My mantra would be “lemme outa here” and that would be counterproductive to begin with.

Maybe instead of a novel I could write a Broadway musical. Let me think about that. I think that a musical based on the movie “The Invisible Man” could be a hit. But what actor would want to play the role of someone you can’t see? Everyone would turn the part down and then I’d have to play it myself. Would you pay good money to see me swathed in bandages with my entire body covered? No, I didn’t think so.

So how else can I pass the time before it’s safe to leave my house? Well, I could play a game of self-poker and play all four hands. Or I could count the number of strands on a broom. Or I could sing in the shower for an hour a day.

As you can see, it’s desperation time. Can someone, anyone, suggest an activity that relieves a giant case of boredom? If you do, I’d dedicate a column to you.