Welcome to life in 2020, dear readers.
Recently, there have been increasing concerns worldwide over contracting and spreading the Coronavirus, especially to the more vulnerable members of society. We’ve collectively decided that using the word “quarantine” is way too scary for the general public. Instead, so we don’t frighten everyone, we’ve shut down all public gathering places, restricted travel and decided to call it “Social Distancing.” You can go out, but you probably shouldn’t. But if you do, stay at least six feet away from everyone.
Even if you decide to leave your Fortress of Solitude, where are you going to go? Restaurants, movie theaters, bowling alleys, the gym and casinos are all closed. You could still read, but libraries are closed too. Schools are closed, so you must entertain little Susie and Johnny without taking them outside your 65 by 100 piece of property.
Luckily, I am part of a workforce that can work remotely, so I will not be affected from an employment perspective. I may get cabin fever at some point, but this “social distancing” is affecting men differently than women.
Hockey, basketball and baseball spring training have been shut down. Without sports on TV, men have lost our best excuse for every potential non-life-threatening situation. We can no longer say we’re “watching the game.”
Simple requests like, “Please take the garbage out” can no longer be followed by, “As soon as the inning ends” anymore. I can no longer answer a simple Tuesday night question of, “What do you feel like doing tonight, honey?” with, “I’m going out to watch the Islanders game.”
Previous excuses for getting out of a weekend “Honey-Do” list like, “I’m meeting George at Gannon’s for a beer” or “I’m heading to The Matador for a cigar” are no longer options. What’s a fellow of a certain age to do?
Word of caution? Don’t ask your wife.
“What do you mean you can’t think of anything to do?,” my lovely bride responded when I was lamenting the closing of these leisure activities.
“Why are men the only ones who can’t think of anything to do?” she deadpanned.
“You know what I mean, dear,” I tried to explain, only digging a deeper hole.
“What about cleaning the bathroom or doing a load of laundry tonight since there’s no game on?” she offered.
“You were home all day working,” she continued, “Why couldn’t you run the vacuum for a few minutes during your break at lunch?”
Ouch. I started to mention we had a Roomba for that but decided to cut my losses.
The weather is getting nicer outside, and my “Honey-do” list is not only growing, but it’s also now a “Honey-You-Better-Do” list.
On Saturday, I grabbed my toolbox and repaired the wooden fence in our backyard. Then, I fixed the gate on the PVC Fencing that wasn’t closing correctly to keep Louie the Labrador from escaping. After almost a full hour of hard labor, I was ready to wave the white flag.
Ordinarily, this would have been a great time to crack open a cold one and watch some spring training baseball. Instead, I’m watching professional bowling on ESPN.
Of course, not having sports to watch at some point might become unbearable. In the past, both baseball and hockey have had prolonged strikes due to labor difficulties, and the sun still came up every morning. But when they close the cigar lounges, it’s getting serious. How can any virus survive in that smoky environment anyway?
If you are unsure how to pass the time during these trying times, be creative. Start a jigsaw puzzle. Read a book you’ve previously enjoyed from your library or order one online. Play board games or cards with your family.
Just don’t ask your wife what she wants to do.
Paul DiSclafani, a Massapequa resident, is a 2018 Press Club of Long Island award-winning columnist and an Anton Media Group contributor since 2016.