In the past week, several friends and coworkers have reached out specifically to check on how I’m handling the stay at home order while living alone. I really appreciated their thoughtfulness, especially while their husbands/roommates/kids/etc. were driving them crazy. So before I forget, I’d like to urge you all to think of people you know who live by themselves, and consider checking on them, because total social isolation can be rough on people.
That having been said…I’m doing just fine. As an “extroverted introvert” (click here for a breakdown of that seeming oxymoron), I love spending time with others, but I’m also totally comfortable with, and really need, my alone time. I’ve been known to come home from work on a Friday and not leave the house again until Monday morning, by choice. So while I do miss seeing people, I’ve had a lot of practice hanging out by myself, and since I have phone calls and video chats, I’m pretty comfortable overall.
However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t, at times, gone a little ridiculous. Even though I’m nowhere near the “talking to a volleyball” stage, there are a few things over the past few weeks that have caused me to realize that I’m not immune to cabin fever moments. For example…
Party Like It’s 1989
A lot of my friends are big video game fans. I am not. I was, once upon a time, back in the dark ages called the 1980s/early 1990s. I actually spent a lot of time in arcades, and when my parents bought us a Nintendo, I played obsessively for several years. Then I started high school and started focusing on other interests. I haven’t owned a video game system since, and haven’t had any desire to, especially since I’m so far behind the curve. The few times I’ve tried to play with friends, I’ve discovered that the games (and the controllers) have moved way beyond my skill level.
For some reason, though (probably because I have a lot of extra time these days), I found myself thinking about how much I loved those old NES games, so completely on impulse, I ordered the NES Classic from Amazon. This adorable miniature game console comes with thirty old school games, and I thought it might be something fun to play around with during quarantine, and a cool addition to the party I plan to have once all this is over.
It arrived on a Friday, but I didn’t get around to opening the package until Saturday morning. I figured I’d hook it up and mess around with it for an hour or so, then do something productive. I made coffee, selected The Legend of Zelda, and settled on the couch. As I started playing, I was amazed at how well I remembered this game. It’s been about thirty years since I’ve played it, but so much of it came flooding back. I mean, I can never remember where I parked my car at the mall, but right from the get go I knew which walls to bomb and trees to burn to find hidden rooms and bonus items.
So did you know that with a decent level of familiarity with the game, it’s fairly easy to beat The Legend of Zelda in about eight hours? I didn’t…until I did it. My one hour of “messing around” turned into an all day marathon run, leaving me feeling both ridiculously proud and thoroughly confused. In the end, I chalked it up to cabin fever and decided I’d better set a timer for future forays into Hyrule (or Castlevania, or Zebes…).
All Dolled Up and No Place to Go
One evening, I was chatting with a friend and mentioned that I was feeling ambivalent about my free time. Since I have so much more than normal, I’ve hit a few points where I don’t feel like reading, watching TV, cleaning, or anything else I usually do during down time. She said, and I quote, “Maybe you should learn to do something with your hair”. For a second I was taken aback, but then she clarified by saying, “I don’t mean it looks bad, but you have so much that it might be cool to go beyond braids and ponytails”.
Well…fair enough. My hair goes almost down to my waist, and I typically either let it hang loose or just quickly get it out of my face. One reason for this is expedience, and another, I freely admit, is a complete lack of skill. So, challenge accepted. I went to the source of all knowledge (YouTube) and searched “long hair tutorials for beginners”. I decided to try a style called a “headband braid” because it would only involve part of my hair and didn’t look incredibly complicated. The tutorial is below, if you’re interested.
As we all know, though, lots of things look easy until you try them. After nine attempts, I thought about giving up, but sheer stubbornness kept me going. After fifteen attempts, I was seriously considering shaving my head. On my twenty-eighth try (by the way, I’m not making those numbers up…I actually kept count), I finally succeeded in a braid that looked…acceptable. I reveled in my victory, and then unbraided it because I wasn’t going anywhere and it was close to bedtime anyway.
I have tried to duplicate this feat twice since then, with dismal results, so I’ve decided that ponytails and basic braids are not only awesome, but I’m officially designating them my “signature styles”.
So Much Cake, So Little Company
Baking is an excellent way to spend an afternoon. Trying to figure out what to do with an entire cake when you’re by yourself is an excellent way to end up with a stomach ache. No, I didn’t eat the entire thing. No, I won’t tell you how much I actually did eat. Like the number of donuts I ate during that crazy week last May, that’s a secret I’m taking to my grave.
Have you done anything crazy or unusual while you’re staying at home? Tell me all about it!