How are you getting along during this massive planetary cultural shift? We are coming to realize that life, as we knew it, will be forever changed. The self-described cheerleaders tell us that we’re going to win and then we can forget that this ever happened. The pessimists insist that we’ll never get to leave our houses again. I’m in the camp that believes we have to stay informed by scientific experts, ignore the flippancy of unreliable opinion, and continually find ways to stave off boredom while we cannot recreate, travel, and consume in our usually ravenous ways. It’s unlikely that we’ll become what we were, but that’s okay. I’m doing my best to grow.
I rarely have enough time to explore new pursuits, but staying home as much as possible has allowed me several opportunities. I’ve always cooked, but now I’m trying some new things like deep-dish pizza and french-fries. I like these things, but had never made them at home. As my clothes get tighter, I realize that I probably shouldn’t have learned how.
In the yard, I’ve finally taken the time to make some changes I’ve been pondering, and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to have every closet in the house organized. I’m almost finished with the drawers, and then I’ll start on the garage. It’s a pity that no one will ever see any of it, but I can breathe deeply knowing that Martha Stewart would be eaten up with jealousy if she could see my colorized linen closet.
As far as television goes, I’m weary of the production values. Daily broadcasts are the quality of YouTube videos manufactured in lonely basements. I recommend hiatus, but I suppose the bosses don’t want to lose the audience and the advertising revenue. And you can’t really show reruns of the news, though I liked the editions that ran prior to 2015. One advantage is that we get to see inside the houses of celebrities and reporters. Judging by the light fixtures, one national reporter has a gorgeous Manhattan apartment. I can’t see much of the furniture because she keeps her laptop camera positioned at a most unflattering angle. Assuming that it’s actually her place, I had a sad thought that she’s been traveling the world for years and has probably never enjoyed the space until now. And when I think that it’s likely less than 800 sq. ft., she’s probably going crazy at this very moment to leave it behind forever!
I’ve always been very comfortable staying home, amusing myself, filling the hours, and not panicking about the empty streets. That said, thank goodness for social media to give that sense of connection. Leslie Jordan cheers me up with his clips on Instagram, and I have a steady stream of new viewing suggestions via Facebook. I’ve learned how to Zoom, and I think my social life might actually have improved since the isolation began. It’s become quite clear to me how someone under house arrest could actually run a corporation, go shopping, get food and see their loved ones whenever they want. There’s no hugging or hand-holding, of course, but we’re in constant contact and getting to know each other in entirely new ways.
Some very creative friends on social media have been asking all of us to reveal various aspects of our lives that the world might not know. Thanks to the responses, we all know a little more. And when I say “we,” of course I’m including the foreign powers and worker bees of Facebook who devise and study all those algorithms to use our innermost secrets to manipulate us and perhaps turn a profit for the people who don’t need any more money.
While I value my privacy, I love finding out that one of my very good friends once held a television star’s handbag while picking up a holiday ham. Almost 40 years of friendship, and somehow that tale slipped through the cracks. On other days, we’ve been asked to guess which of the list of statements untrue. The statements have something to do with one’s past activities, and I cannot stop smiling when I read that one very good friend once spent some time listening to Joan Baez playing through some of her early music before she was famous. If that had happened to me, I would’ve been telling that story every day for the past 50 years.
I think the list that appeals to me most is the one where friends are supposed to guess which job the posting person did NOT have among the list. I love finding out that someone trained animals and served as a church minister though I don’t think these two lines of work were simultaneous. The individual didn’t make this clear.
Paranoia is the greatest preventative against my listing various and sundry tidbits for public consumption, but the job listing post caused me to think about the various work I’ve undertaken. Most people know about my having been a church musician along with my nonprofit stints, but it’s not widely known that I worked a construction job building pipe organs, spent four years as a visual merchandiser (fancy name for a department store window dresser), worked as a Realtor, spent a few months of misery as a collections agent where I became a whiz at tracing skipped accounts, worked in a bakery, worked as a caterer, typed work orders for the motor pool at a National Guard armory, and headed up the maintenance department of a local awning company in a California suburb.
I probably shouldn’t count that last thing since it was the most short-lived job I’ve ever had. I was reluctant to take the position, but the promised compensation sounded great. The owner was one of the oddest people I’ve ever met. He was short on staff and wanted me to hire some people. Until then, when we got calls, would I humor him and alter my voice as I put customers on hold and made them wait a few minutes before assisting them in my normal voice? He wanted to give the impression that the outfit was a much larger company so he could justify his pricing. As much as making up voices sounds like my dream job, ten hours of his other eccentricities had me weighing my options. I phoned the next morning.
“We were just sitting here taking bets as to whether we’d ever hear from you again!” He was laughing like it was a real knee-slapper. “How’d YOU bet?” I asked. “Everybody else said you’d be in, but I said you wouldn’t be back!” More laughter. The heat crept up the back of my neck as my temper surfaced. “Congratulations! You win!” The next thing he heard was my slamming down the phone in his ear.
I wish for everyone to stay safe and hope you have the courage to hang up on the fools who try to interfere in your life.
© 2020 by Patrick Brown
To learn more about my books, including the three featuring Maggie Lyon and two that are filled with riotously funny moments, visit my author page at: http://www.amazon.com/Patrick-Brown/e/B005F0CYH2/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1419885131&sr=8-1