Life in the time of social distancing

What do you do to keep from climbing the walls?

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The writer's advice during self-isolation: make your bed and wear pants. —Illustration Lexi Pline

The best advice I’ve read about maintaining your sanity while holed up at home is this — put on your pants. In other words don’t lounge around in your pajamas all day, get dressed just like you have someplace to go. Even if it’s just to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. This morning I didn’t actually get into my clothes until 5 o’clock in the afternoon, but I forced myself to do it and I got a good hour-and-a-half of quality pants time in before I got ready for bed. It’s important.

Another note on pants, you don’t need your wallet or any change in your pocket since you’re not going anywhere anyway — you probably don’t even need a belt. And that, in a small way, can seem liberating.

Another piece of advice — make your bed. Just because you’re confined at home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have rituals and discipline. I religiously make my bed every morning. It gives me something to do and I like the way it looks — it also makes it just that much harder to crawl back into.

Here are some other tips for making the time pass a little easier. A couple of days ago we had a virtual cocktail party on FaceTime with our son and a couple of friends. It went so well that we decided we’d do it again the next morning.

I haven’t tried Zooming yet but if there’s anything good that’s come out of social distancing Zoom may be it. The other night we watched James Corden doing a “Zoomcast,” with John Legend, Will Farrell, and lots of others. Pop star Dua Lipa performed with three musicians, two backup singers, and six dancers — all in separate locations flashing around on the screen.

I’m also very grateful to all the local musicians who have shared their music with us from their homes. Two of my favorites are Brian Weiland and his son Aiden who broadcast Music Time! every day from their home. Brian is a music teacher from Oak Bluffs, and Aiden has been dazzling Islanders with his fiddle playing since he was in grade school. Their little shows are heartfelt, extremely well-performed and sometimes kind of goofy. A nice combination for these anxious times.

Have you noticed that you’re getting a lot more memes in your email these days? I heard somewhere that a lot of jokes originate from jails so I guess in a way, with us all being prisoners in our own homes, we’re just cranking out the jokes/memes. Normally I’m not that much into memes — although I like what’s going on here, it’s allowing us all to reach out socially and share a laugh, and Lord knows we can all use a good laugh.

Having said that, although I enjoy the funny memes, one of my favorite clips going around, (not so much a meme as a short video) isn’t funny at all, it’s the video of animals crossing a stream on a log. Someone planted a camera in the forest and recorded all the animals that crossed over — bears, bobcats, raccoons . . . it’s mesmerizing. I sent it to my son-in-law and he said, “It looks like my basement.”

Speaking of animals, by now we’ve all seen “Tiger King,” right? These are good times for binge watching and, in my case, my choice is Ken Burns’ ”Baseball,” you can stream close to 20 hours at PBS.com. 

Geoff Currier using time in isolation to work on personal improvement. He’s growing a beard. —Joyce Currier

What I love about “Baseball” is that it takes us back to simpler times, times brought to us by the honey-drenched southern drawl of Red Barber on the radio, the times of larger-than-life heroes like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Jackie Robinson and the times of antic princes like Dizzy Dean, Daffy Dean, and Ducky Medwick. It also reminds us that even in the darkest of times — the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic — life goes on and sometimes even reaches great heights. You’ve heard of comfort food, to me this is comfort TV.

Aside from movies and memes, it’s hard to avoid — nor do I want to — the constant stream of coronavirus news we’re besieged with. What I do choose to avoid are the president’s daily campaign rallies being held from the Rose Garden. I find them unwatchable. I really don’t care what “the pillow guy” has to say. 

On an uplifting note, I watched Robert Kraft on CNN talking to Anderson Cooper and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, he was talking about all the masks he had brought in from China. We all know that Kraft is a good buddy of Trump, but what I loved was how well he got along with Cuomo, they appeared to be good family friends. And as an example of crossing party lines and mutual cooperation, Gov. Baker and Kraft even gave 300,000 masks to New York. That made me feel good.

But don’t think that all I’m doing in my social isolation is watching media, I’m also working on personal improvement. I’m growing a beard. Although it’s coming in so white, that by the time I come out of my cocoon and actually see people, I just might be mistaken for David Letterman. 

Oh, I hope I get out before that.