Home Alone Crisis? Or a Call for Creativity?

Gwyneth Paltrow as Margot in The Royal Tenenbaums. © 2001 Touchstone Pictures

What. The. Heck.

We will all emerge from this sticky cocoon eventually. Into a cautious, tentative world where we will ask permission to hug even our closest friends. Where a good third of us will be pregnant. And the rest of us will be tech Gods, having mastered Zoom and the art of making movies about our bickering children, our adorable cats, and our feet. When we eventually do crawl out into the light, I predict we shall be filled with a visceral longing for exotic foods, live music, and crowded rooms—and a strange pride at having deep-cleaned our bathrooms. Weekly.

In the meantime, as we work hard daily at saving the lives of our parents and coworkers by #stayingthef•ckhome, what will we do to scratch those itches we’ve got? Not just the ones on our faces.

Pickleball Withdrawl?

Find a wall! You may have been ranked a 3.5 when this whole thing started, but your garage door will give you a run for your money—it’s ranked at 4.0.

If you’ve got a home court and a live-in partner who’s healthy and fit, well, aren’t you fancy? The rest of us will be clearing out our kitchens and marking up the floor with the painter’s tape we discovered while reorganizing the junk drawer. And having a ball practicing those dink shots to the corner of our “kitchen” inside our kitchen. (I had to!)

Solace in Nature

Living alone can be a blessing and a curse when you’re in self-quarantine. Sure, you’re not tripping over anybody, and if you want to watch The Royal Tenenbaums three times in a row, no one can stop you! But you’re also shut in with nothing but a cupboard full of black beans and your repetitive thoughts about the 13 horrific articles you accidentally just read on Facebook, even though you told yourself you weren’t going to do that anymore.

Nature is still here for you. Spring is springing. Gardens need planting. And as far as we know, the oaks and maples and pines are not off-gassing Coronavirus. Maybe as a precaution though—if you’ve started wrapping yourself around trees like I have (there is no one else I can safely touch anymore)—leave a sign tied around the trunk for the next guy: “Last hugged on March 17, 2 p.m.”

Know Thyself?

Many of us are addicted to doing. Checking things off that list. Taking care of bidniss. But suddenly we’re spending long stretches of time with ourselves—and oof!—with our screens. What happens when we go absolutely cross-eyed from the live-streamed solo concerts, online classes, Netflix binge-watching, and Facetime sessions with family members who live three blocks away? Hell if I know, but it will be interesting to find out, won’t it?

People are creating things already. They’re writing novels, inventing recipes, building forts, making up games. Slowing down. Becoming aware of their spaces, their feelings, their loves, there lives. Now THAT’S some scary stuff. God help us all.

Me? I’m doing some bathing. Lots of bathing. My toenails are going to be immaculate for a while.

But I see you. I see you, my dusty guitar case, high on that shelf in the closet. I see you.


Meredith Siemsen

Meredith, an Iowa native, was baffled when she earned her high school's writing award in 1993. It wasn't until twenty years later that she discovered she actually enjoyed wordcraft. (Too bad she's still a two-fingered typist.) Thanks for reading, friends!