Like many of you, I got the mandatory work from home email from my company this week. The Coronavirus has reached unprecedented new levels and I have been informed by the government, the news, and every person on the internet to stay inside for the foreseeable future. Self-quarantine. Social distancing. Trapped in an 800-square-foot jail cell. Whatever you want to call it, that’s the life I’m living now.
The point is, I’m stressed. And one of the things my therapist told me to do when I’m stressed is write all my thoughts, feelings and actions down in a journal. Did she say the journal should be a blog that thousands of strangers read? Not explicitly, but it’s pretty clear that’s what she would want. So here we go. I’ll be adding to this blog day by day (or every few days, if I forget or get bored or whatever) with how I’m spending my quarantine.
Scroll to the bottom to begin at day one and join me on the ride.
Time Since I’ve Been Outside: 38 Hours
Woke up, checked my Outlook calendar, laughed, and went back to sleep.
Woke up in a panic to the sound of my laptop alerting me that my morning meeting was starting. Stumbled into the living room (it takes my joints roughly 25 minutes and a hot shower to allow me to move like a human) and grunted at my girlfriend who was using the table as her desk. After two weeks of working from home together, she knew that this meant we were changing rooms, and she made her way to her desk in the bedroom while I put a hat on in a desperate attempt to look somewhat awake for my video chat. My voice cracked aggressively as I greeted my team with my first words of the day, and I was informed by my boss that I had a sleep line imprinted on the side of my face. All in all, it was a pretty normal morning.
Two hours, four meetings, and no bathroom breaks later, I couldn’t hold it any longer. I muted my mic, paused my camera, and finished my meeting in the bathroom. I’m not going to lie—it’s the most alive I’ve ever felt. The feeling of knowing that if my mute failed, several of my coworkers were going to hear the telltale sound of me taking my morning dump was a thrill unlike anything on this earth. I’m sure heroin is fun and all, but no way does it hold a candle to that adrenaline rush. Yes, I am addicted, and yes, I will be doing it again tomorrow.
Went outside to feel the sun on my skin. Nothing I could write sums up my feelings about it better than this tweet, so I’ll just leave this here and move on.
Another workday done. I wish I could tell you what I did for that entire afternoon, but all my memories have turned to mush. Took some meetings, I guess? Walked from my living room to my bedroom? Disappointedly opened and closed my fridge every hour? Touched my face fifteen thousand times? Yes. All of the above.
My girlfriend told me I spent a good hour standing in front of my window with my arms crossed, staring out over the streets of Denver and just judging every person that was walking outside. Apparently, I was muttering things like “where are you even going?” and “you guys don’t live together” under my breath. At one point I allegedly scolded a flock of pigeons for flying less than six feet apart. I have no recollection of this. The quarantine has taken my brain.
My girlfriend and I spent thirty minutes browsing recipes online, trying to find one that we could cook without having to go to the store, before finally deciding on a simple, yet tasty, stir fry recipe. Obviously, we were too drained by the effort it took to find to actually cook, so we ordered some Thai delivery from a place we’ve never tried before. It wasn’t very good, but on the other hand, it also wasn’t very cheap. Awesome.
Time for Tiger King. I’m not usually a fan of documentaries, but this one is totally worth the watch. Maybe it’s just because I come from a place where Joe Exotic-like people don’t exist, but I’m thoroughly enjoying watching these hillbillies wander aimlessly, yet aggressively, through life. Shit. Is. Wild.
Off to bed with visions of meth mouth and inbred tigers dancing in my head. I have no doubt my dreams are going to be absolutely insane tonight. Tomorrow brings a new day, I think. Or maybe the same day all over again. Happy quarantine. Noam out.
Time Since I’ve Been Outside: 8 Hours
I woke up to the morning light streaming through my windows, and immediately got excited. It was Saturday morning, my favorite time of the week. What was I going to fill my day with? A bottomless mimosa brunch? Day drinking on a bar patio? Gambling on March Madness? The day was wide open for the taking. And then I remembered. I would be doing none of that. I was under quarantine.
The Coronavirus may have taken most of my weekend activities, but not all of them. The outdoors was still available, and it’s not like I moved to Denver just to sit at a bar all day (despite emperical evidence to the contrary).
So…I guess hiking is my hobby now. My girlfriend and I enjoyed a nice snowy hike, because Colorado can’t make up its mind if it’s winter or spring, and despite almost losing my toes to frostbite, I had a great time.
I came home and ate a pre-made salad because it was going to go bad otherwise. It was awful. There is nothing more depressing than a bagged salad on the weekend. I then filled that empty void in my soul (and stomach) with roughly a hundred cookies my girlfriend has been baking all week, completely negating the positive impact of the salad. Success.
Hopped on Zoom for a virtual house party with some Chicago friends, and I gotta say my official review is that I’m…not a fan. I love my friends, and I like drinking, but I don’t like trying to drink and hang over a ten-person video chat. Maybe it’s because I still feel like I’m drinking alone. Maybe it’s because my ADD can’t handle watching and listening to ten people on one 13-inch screen. Maybe it’s because Comcast THROTTLES MY FUCKING INTERNET THAT I PAY OUT THE ASS FOR—I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to yell at you. I’ll save it for the customer support rep who’s going to hear from me tomorrow. Anyway, I handled the awkwardness of the video group chat by drinking four Whiteclaws and getting unnecessarily sauced in my apartment.
Decided to support local businesses by ordering some carryout from my local Chinese restaurant. Apparently, business has been practically nonexistent because people are morons and think they…ship their meat in from China? Or ship their cooks in from China? It’s unclear, because it makes no sense. If you like Chinese food, now is the time to order it, or your local takeout spot won’t be there in two months because racist idiots ruin everything.
Ooh, Saturday night. You know what time it is. Time for a little quarantine lovin’, if you know what I mean. A trip to pandemic pound town. Making love with the mask on. Getting after it, quarantine style. Putting the D in COVID, if you will.
Decided to fill the rest of my evening with the new hobby I’ve picked up. As of two days ago, I am the proud owner of a very old, very used Xbox 360. That’s right, I’ve chosen to become a gamer during this lockdown, which pairs perfectly with the unwashed neckbeard I’m also cultivating. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, the Xbox I paid $40 for didn’t work, so tomorrow I have to brave the outdoors yet again to get it fixed. Will Game Stop be the place I finally catch this awful virus? Probably. But as a gamer, that’s a risk I’m willing to take.
Another thing I’ve wanted to do more of with my time at home is read. Luckily, I got a library card right before all this madness began, and I can download books right to my Kindle. I’ve always loved reading, and with all the monotony this quarantine is creating, it’s the perfect way to keep my mind sharp and active. I opened (clicked on) a fresh book, and settled in for a relaxing read.
Time Since I’ve Been Outside: 32 Hours
No snooze Tuesday, baby. Got up at the crack of mid-morning feeling refreshed and reenergized. I was a beacon of optimism and nothing this stupid virus could throw at me was going to ruin my good mood. Then I checked my phone. After scrolling texts that read “are you ok?” “Are you crying?” and “how are you going to burn a jersey indoors?” I saw the ESPN alert. Tom Brady, greatest quarterback of all time and the leader of the greatest franchise in sports history, was no longer going to be a Patriot next year. I’m not going to dive too far into my feelings on this because that’s a whole other column, but I will answer those texts. No, I’m not ok. Yes, I am crying. And the only thing I’m going to do to my Brady jersey is frame it as a thank you for nearly two decades of winning. Even if we suck for the next ten years, it’ll be worth the six rings.
After I wiped my tears away, I jumped on the stationary bike for some early morning cardio. I’m not usually a morning workout guy, but I’m trying to get in the habit of using my old commuting time to get my blood pumping. Yes, my joints sound like fireworks for the first couple minutes, but I gotta say it’s really nice being able to finish work and not have the chore of going to the gym hanging over my head.
Today was a shitty workday. No two ways around it. Everyone was in a mood, myself included, and everyone is overworked. I got perhaps a smidge too spicy at my boss when he mentioned that he was going to write the script for a TV spot I’ve been working on for the past month, but if I get fired at least I know the grocery stores are hiring.
I blacked back in and realized I haven’t ingested anything since dinner last night, so I decided to take a work break and eat a salad and drink my first sip of water for the day. As lunches go, it was extremely subpar, which is about normal for my workday lunches. Not gonna lie though, the frozen corndogs I bought in a pandemic panic last week are calling my name. We’ll see how long I can hold out.
Got the “I’m clocking out for the day” Slack message from my partner and decided to follow suit. I walked into the bedroom and saw my girlfriend for, like, the fourth time all day. It’s crazy that we’ve spent an entire workday in the same apartment without really interacting, but I have to say it’s kind of nice. I think separating work time from hangout time is going to help our productivity and our relationship.
Told my girlfriend “It’s crazy that we’ve spent an entire workday in the same apartment without really interacting, but I have to say it’s kind of nice. I think separating work time from hangout time is going to help our productivity and our relationship.”
Made up with my girlfriend after a rousing fight. Still feel like I’m getting shamed for speaking the truth, but the point is we’ve moved past it as a couple.
My girlfriend intentionally touched my face after touching a doorknob. Apparently, we have not moved past it as a couple.
Made myself a Mexican scramble, complaining the whole time that the stupid quarantine is forcing me to eat like it’s the great depression, despite the fact that I make and eat this exact dish literally every other week of my life. It’s one of my favorite easy dishes. But the point is, when that I’m being forced to eat it, I don’t want to. Yes, I realize I sound like a toddler. It doesn’t matter. My feelings are valid.
My feelings aren’t valid. I was just hungry. Mexican food has a lot of good qualities, but it may not have been the right cuisine to eat when I’m down to my last
10 9 rolls of toilet paper. Let the log show I’m officially upgrading my thoughts on my TP situation from “concerned” to “a little worried.” Now I’m off to sit on the couch and watch a couple episodes of Black Mirror as a relaxing break from the real world. Day two complete. Noam out.
Time Since I’ve Been Outside: 8 Hours
I awoke to the deeply unwelcome sound of my iPhone alarm blaring. I could tell from the extra shrill tone to sound that it was Monday morning. I groaned, turned to look at the time, and then remembered. I was working from home. No need to shower, brush teeth, or commute to work. I had an hour of extra time to do whatever I wanted. I could exercise, meditate, or even get a head start on the day. I decided to go back to sleep until nine.
It turns out that despite us having lenient work from home rules in my office, not a single person was prepared for this. My very first meeting of the day was a 30-person team standup that I was told we should all video conference into. Seeing as I haven’t showered in two days and was still in bed, I chose to dial-in the old-fashioned way, where no one could see my bedhead.
The next two hours were a clusterfuck. WebEx went down on ya boy multiple times, and apparently my work has something called a “server” that I should have access to? Not sure. Every meeting was filled with the unpleasant background noise of kids screaming and dogs barking, and everyone was distracted with news, thoughts, and straight-up conspiracy theories being floated at an alarmingly fast rate. According to Janet in HR, the government will be deploying a drone army to quarantine us and make sure we don’t leave our houses shortly, so, uh, be prepared for that. Or don’t, because it’s batshit.
Despite my best efforts, my plan to socially distance myself for at least the next week was cut short by about 99%, due to the fact that I needed to go grocery shopping. Did I have plenty of food in the house to last me a week? Yes. Did I get sucked into a panic by my friends in San Francisco showing me barren shelves and talking about how I need food for at least a month? Also yes.
After taking 20 minutes to pick out my apocalypse outfit (Do I go with the camo and boots survivalist look? Filthy slumlord? Leather jacket and chain combo?), I drove to the nearest Safeway, which was…not bad. The lines were normal, they had plenty of bread and canned foods and meat, and were actively restocking all those things as I arrived. I picked up some stuff that would keep and some fruits and veggies so I don’t get scurvy holed up in my apartment. Pretty normal shopping trip, to be honest.
I managed to stay strong and wait until an appropriate time to eat lunch. I kept it light with some nuts and fruit which I almost choked to death on due to my apartment decided today was a good day to shut off our water for plumbing repairs. Luckily I managed to find a half-bottle of flat ginger ale in the back of the fridge, so I didn’t become the lamest death of this pandemic.
Back to work. Our office is starting to get the hang of working from home, and I was kept too busy to be stressed about the state of the world, which was nice. My girlfriend and I have split the house into working territories, with me getting the living room and her getting the bedroom. Unfortunately, my apartment is built of balsa wood, and I could clearly hear her phone conversations through the wall, which really opened my eyes to how much harder her job is than mine.
From what I could hear, today she negotiated a new supply of medical swabs from a factory in China and supplied several hospitals with respirator masks. I, on the other hand, changed a coma to semicolon and then back again for about 35 minutes. I’m still not sure if I got it right, but I’m going to sleep on it and revisit it in the morning. You can’t rush perfection.
Not to brag, but kind of to brag, I have a pretty legit quarantine set up. My girlfriend got me a stationary bike for Christmas and after a three-month stint as a clothes rack, its time has finally come. I dusted that puppy off and enjoyed a rigorous 11-minute workout, followed by 20 minutes of stretching. That’s what peak athleticism looks like, ladies.
Finally bit the bullet and cancelled my flight this weekend. I was planning on flying home to California for my mom’s birthday but the worry of getting stuck living with my parents for 2 months if they cancelled flights was too great of a risk. I love my mom and dad, but I’d rather lick the sidewalk in Wuhan than deal with 8 weeks of them asking me if I’m thinking of proposing and “wondering out loud” when they’ll get grandkids.
Dinnertime has arrived. Despite being stocked up for roughly 2 weeks of normal meals, I somehow ate what looks like a quarter of my stash in one meal. This bodes well. I’m not panicking, you’re panicking. Whatever. I’ll survive. See you tomorrow for day two.