I’ve become a boring person living a boring life in my boring house, thanks to Covid-19.
It seems Covid and boredom were made for each another, like best pals. Ah, sweet boredom.
Do I appreciate all this Covid-delivered boredom? Well, yes, I guess, more than somewhat. I’m kind of a boring guy anyway. At least that’s what my wife Jean and friends say.
I sigh that Covid has confined me to doing nothing, but I also like having nothing to do. Does this sound like an overdose of self-quarantine?
Jean and I sit around making lists of things we’re going to do if and when Covid goes away. But then reality returns and tells us that we’re too old to take on those things anyway.
The aerial trip to France, the cross-country drive to California, the long weekends at the beach and in the mountains — all Covid-manufactured pipe dreams.
All this stay-at-home boredom, I’ve learned, has led to a big increase in the demand for books and booze. We sit and read because we’re bored, and then we take a sip to alleviate the boredom. Sounds like a Catch 22.
There is no escaping the reality of this pandemic. We stay in to play it safe, like the medical folks tell us, and yet we dream of being outside doing multiple things.
Our desire is to open everything. Our reality is watering holes and other gathering places open at select times, with limits for numbers and social distancing.
Outside is the unknown. Inside is the safe known. Better to play it safe than to take a chance.
The medical people tell us the grand re-opening day for everything is coming. Look up, it’s on the horizon. But, it isn’t quite here yet, though we are in our second year of the boring indoors.
When we do venture out, we have to wear our masks and stay clear of people. Our trips to the food and big box stores are quick, and the time inside is like a clock ticking down to zero. We rush in, grad what we need and rush out.
Doctors, however, still keep us waiting. We sit in their offices with our masks on, socially distanced, hoping we don’t get Covid before we get in to see them.
Back home inside our fortresses, we watch cable political channels to give us a rush. Sometimes the rush is to hurry and change the channel, especially when the political arguing flares up. TV without the Donald bellowing is boring, and Old Joe can’t produce the volume level needed to wake us up.
The cancel culture of everything today isn’t helping the situation. I’ve canceled everything but breathing and eating, yet Covid whispers in my ear that happy hour at the neighborhood bar is calling. But I won’t be astride my favorite stool. The tall cold ones will have to wait.
A full year or more into the pandemic and what do we have to show for it? Worn-out masks, worn-down chairs, sagging sofas, stacks of books and magazines, and our wild get-out-of-jail thoughts. In other words, an overwhelming desire to get moving again.
But I feel like I’ve been kidnapped by Covid, who tied me up and stuffed a mask over my mouth to keep me from screaming.
I tried shopping online for books and underwear, but that’s as exciting as watching water boil.
All this sitting around and looking at things grow old brought on thoughts of wabi-sabi, the oriental art of embracing things as they go through the process of aging, like wood fences or paint peeling from old cracked boards.
It dawned on me that I have a wabi-sabi body, getting old and saggy as I sit and stare. My hair, or what is left, has turned solid white.
Covid and wabi-sabi may have teamed up for this pandemic. All outdoor and indoor projects are on hold, but there are signs — or cracks — of openings that are beginning to appear.
Wabi sabi has given us peeling and fading paint on our houses, decaying fence boards, scratched furniture and dying appliances. Not to mention well-worn, faded clothing. We tend to wear the same things over and over.
My wooden shed out back is a masterpiece of wabi-sabi. I planned to paint it last year, but Covid had other plans. And so it sits, awaiting my brush and the time to come when duty will replace shirking.
Watching natural wood age and crack is a fine example of classic wabi-sabi. So, if you want a front-row seat, come to my house.
When things do return to normal — and there are signs of this — I may decide to keep my artwork of wabi-sabi as a visual reminder of my extended indoor time with Covid.
But for now, thumbs down to Covid for giving me the most boring year of my earthly existence.
Ralph Morris is a retired newspaperman who lives near Auburn. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.