Lessons I Learned in Quarantine

Full disclosure: I am writing this in the midst of North Carolina’s stay-at-home order, eating leftover pad thai for breakfast, and my motivation tank is currently set to EMPTY. If I can actually finish this thing instead of distracting myself with TikTok or “Tiger King” memes, then I’ll consider it a win. I can only hope and pray that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel by the time this article is published. The thought of going into the summer during a lockdown is enough to make me purchase an entire shelf of Little Debbies to numb the pain.

Bear in mind, I am COMPLETELY unqualified to give anyone advice on how to (healthily) get through this BS, but I have learned some lessons while riding the quarantine struggle bus, and I would be remiss if I did not share them with the world.

Lesson #1: Toilet Paper Has Magical Powers, Apparently

Either toilet paper has the power to defeat a worldwide pandemic, or everyone in town is planning on crapping their pants upwards of ten times a day for the next few months. Why else have I not seen toilet paper on the shelves of ANY store for the past three weeks? Not long ago we were down to our last two rolls, and I was eyeing up the paper towels in my pantry. (Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.) Fortunately for my down-lows, a close friend of mine has a connection at BJ’s, and a 16-pack of priceless butt tissue was dropped off on my front porch like some kind of QUARANTINE MIRACLE.

Lesson # 2: You Can’t Own Enough Sweatpants

I have worn stretchy pants for the past 18 days because my jeans are like HAHA, NOPE, but you know what I don’t own enough of? SWEATPANTS. I own exactly one pair of sweats, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. Sure, they make me look like I’ve gained 60 lbs of pure fat in my butt and thighs, but is there anything more comfortable on GOD’S GREEN EARTH than a baggy pair of gray sweatpants? NO, THERE IS NOT. I have yoga pants — not because I do yoga, I just need something to go to Target in — but sweats make me feel like I still have room for that second plate of quarantine brownies. At this point I’ve worn my one pair of sweats so much that my kids think it’s a uniform.

Lesson #3: Netflix Is Worth Every Penny

I’ve always enjoyed Netflix, but as God as my witness, I will NEVER take a streaming service for granted again. Over the past couple of weeks, do you know what’s united the country more than anything else in recent history? TIGER KING. Nothing will distract you from quarantine like a show about tigers, murder plots, low-budget music videos, polygamy, rednecks, zoo cults, mullets and Florida’s crazy cat lady who totally may have fed her husband to tigers and/or put him through a meat grinder. This entire pandemic is clearly Carole Baskin’s fault, and if it weren’t for Netflix, who would we blame it on? A bat? Come on.

Honestly, if you haven’t watched the “Tiger King” documentary on Netflix yet, why are you even reading this? Stream it now, fools!

Lesson #4: Before ’Rona, We Were Pretty Gross

Do you remember when we barely washed our hands? Was anyone (besides surgeons) washing their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water all the way up to their forearms before COVID-19 came to town? I doubt it. Less than a month ago Back in the day, only germaphobes felt the need to disinfect their groceries and Amazon packages. Just last night my DoorDasher dropped my food on the front porch and ran to his car like he was on fire before texting me a picture of my pizza sitting on the rocking chair.

People aren’t taking chances anymore, especially when it comes to disinfecting. Have you noticed that the only cleaning solutions left on the shelves are the expensive “natural” brands that Karen used to swear by? My, how things have changed.

Frontline workers: we are so grateful for your hard work. And that’s no joke.

Lesson #5: I’m Not Essential

I know it might be hard to believe, but freelance writers who meme in their free time are NOT actually essential to the United States (or any other country, for that matter). An entry-level fry cook at Applebee’s has more clout than I do, so guess what I’ve been doing? Eating Totino’s pizza rolls in my one pair of sweatpants — I think we’ve covered this. On a more serious note, I can’t even begin to thank the men and women who show up to work every day to keep this ball rolling, particularly those involved in health care. Truly, y’all are heroes.

Lesson #6: There Are No Rules

I’ve learned that a day in the life of quarantine can be separated into two parts: coffee hours and alcohol hours. Days of the week have no meaning when your kids aren’t going to school, and you’re not going into work. Did your middle schooler just wake up at 2 p.m.? Oh well, at least it’s still light out. Did you eat last night’s leftovers for breakfast? How resourceful of you? Are you 35 years old and trying to become TikTok famous? Seriously, I’m rooting for you.

Lesson #7: Walks Are So Hot Right Now

Nothing will bring the walkers to the yard like a worldwide pandemic, amiright?! People who haven’t exercised since 1998 are now professional power walkers with a sudden passion for nature and fresh air. I went on a walk the other day and encountered at least 50 other people pounding the pavement in their Fabletics with their “water” bottles full of White Claw. FITNESS IS LIFE.

Lesson #8: People Need People

I am the queen of introversion, but I’m not going to lie, I’m drinking in the bathtub and scheduling breakdowns in the shower every day at 8 p.m. I can’t even imagine the pain that extroverts are in right now, but I’m sure that it’s considerable. This quarantine period has all of us missing our friends and regretting every time we lied to get out of a night out. I almost chased our mailman like a dog, because I’m craving human interaction with people other than my family members. I know, no one is more surprised than me.

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