It’s usually infuriating to be “overtaken by events” — i.e., to have the news cycle rush ahead without you, so the timely article you’ve written becomes irrelevant before you have a chance to publish. Today, though, I’m thrilled to announce that my COVID test came back negative before I was able to submit the essay I wrote while waiting in quarantine.
But this means I can’t even lean on your sympathetic instincts and plead that you should read it anyway out of pity because I have COVID, because, uh, I don’t. So just do me a favor and pretend the time difference between Australia and the United States is even longer than 14 hours, and here you go.
So HERE I AM IN QUARANTINE [let’s say], and I’m lucky enough to have a house bursting with able-bodied adults who can easily handle everything I normally do, and who aren’t allowed to leave. Still, it’s hard for a mother to give over the reins of control, and I can’t help thinking about what’s going on beyond my bedroom door. I’m doing my best to keep busy with soothing, productive, restorative activities (shut up, Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame is too productive. It produces feelingings of awesomeness), but part of my brain is keeping up a little list of things I hope they are doing while I’m in quarantine.
You think I’m going to say “I hope they are flossing every night!” or “I hope they are dusting behind the antimacassar, or I’ll know the reason why!” But no. This is a different kind of list.
- I hope they are crunching all the things. I have misophonia, which is an almost unbearable neurological problem . . . .for everyone I live with. It means they can’t eat popcorn during movies, can’t eat chips when I’m in the room, can’t even eat an apple at an apple orchard without sending me shooting away in rage and disgust like a rocket of neurological rage and disgust. It’s a terrible condition and I feel awful about it, but I’m 45 years old and it’s getting worse, so what can I do.So when the wonderful aroma of forbidden popcorn wafts under my bedroom door at night from the land of the living, I rejoice and am glad. Fresh hot buttered popcorn is a gift from God, and it’s a sin and a shame that they don’t get to enjoy it more often. But they better get it out of their systems before I get out of here.
- I hope they are watching Spongebob SquarePants. Go ahead, watch the ugliest, screamiest cartoon in the world which actively liquifies the dignity center of your brain with every frame! I can’t stop you! I won’t even try, because I am watching equally stupid things in my room. And anyway, deep down I have a suspicion it’s not really such a terrible show, and the only reason I’ve been forbidding it all these years is because I’m uptight and the enemy of joy, but also I’m too old to change.
- DO NOT MESS WITH ME. I WILL SEE YOU ALL IN HELL SO DO NOT MESS WITH ME. Sorry, I don’t know how that got in there. I guess I was just thinking it loudly.
- I hope they are enjoying some excellent home cooking. I mashed a bunch of Instacart buttons and had some groceries delivered, and with the results, my husband came up with a meatloaf that’s much better than anything I ever made, and he’s been sleeping on the couch all week.His back is killing him and he STILL made better meatloaf, and he served chips on the side, too. I hope they are enjoying their Daddyloaf while it lasts, because when I bust out of here, I’ll bringing a head full of ideas about vegetable-based side dishes and perfectly good meals that people normally like until I had to mess with them.
- I don’t exactly hope they are setting fires, but I assume they are. I would. We used to set fires all the time when I was little. We used to set toilet paper rolls on fire and watch the orange flame lick its way in between the layers, with our long, thick braids dangling over the flames as they rose. It was wonderful.My kids, however, have shorter hair, so it’s fine.
- I hope they are thinking ahead and wondering if we are actually going to have one quarantine after another this coming winter, and with this in mind are buying extremely hinky looking indoor playground slides that fit over the stairs from super sketchy Chinese websites that are almost certainly scams, and even if they aren’t, our house is set up in such a way that anyone who slides down the stairs will almost certainly break their nose on the wall at the bottom of the stairs, the wall with a torn poster of Mother Teresa on it.Oh wait, I’m the one who bought that slide. It was me, and I’m not sorry. It was so cheap and it looked like so much fun. A stair slide! My gosh! Who cares if it’s a scam and they’re emptying out my bank account as I speak? I don’t need money anyway. I’m detached, like Mother Teresa. Whee!
- I hope they are finally realising that they can, in fact, knock before they come busting through my door like a full team of SWAT police with a red hot warrant. If it takes a deadly virus to make the little tykes mind their manners, that’s just mother nature sticking up for me for once.
- I hope they are enjoying not seeing me with a moustache, because when I come out, I am definitely going to have a moustache.