How are you coping during the great Coronavirus quarantine? Most of the time we feel good about keeping our neighbors safe, and ourselves, too. Other times we are feeling a little forlorn and bereft. Our social life, which hasn’t been great since our children stopped having playgroups, is about the same. We walk the dog for exercise and much-needed Vitamin D, but we have stopped going to the gym. I have broken my daily habit of running to the grocery store every time the nature abhors a vacuum in the pantry. Even the UPS guy has stopped knocking, which is a good thing because Luke the wonder dog is convinced he is a Nazi stormtrooper coming after us, and tries to claw through the front door whenever we get a delivery. Still, it was nice to shout,“Thank you!” to a human being as he ran for his life.
I miss conversation. I miss yakking about something as innocuous as the weather or the new stripes being painted in the store parking lot. I miss just yakking. I still have a reflexive urge to check the answering machine whenever we come home – keep in mind we haven’t had a land line in five years, let along an answering machine. Almost everyone has a smartphone these days. I was startled when mine rang the other day, and there was a real, live person on the other end. Not a telemarketer, or a political campaign. A person who wanted to talk with me! I am inclined to think that my bar has been set way too low lately.
One of my dearest friends from college was out for a walk, and decided to use the telephone feature of the tiny computer she carries in her pocket to connect with me. She wasn’t Googling anything. She wasn’t checking IMDB to see how old Bill Pullman was. She wasn’t taking a photo or listening to a podcast. What a brilliant concept! She touched the little button by my name in her address book while she was out getting some socially distanced exercise in her neighborhood, and we yakked for an hour about work, parents, children, dogs, television shows, knitting, books, weddings, travel, new babies and due babies. An hour flew by, and we were eighteen again. And we resolved to conquer technology, and to get together with some other friends from Washington College at a virtual cocktail party. We are going to Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, What’s App. We’ll figure it out. We are going to have a Quarantini Hour, where we will consume alcohol and laugh our brains out and see each other’s smiling faces. What a concept! Wish us luck.
But you should try it, too. Reach across the great abyss and use technology to visit the village of your college friends, or that old pre-school playgroup, or even your own kids. Plan a time to get together with your book group. Put on some lipstick, if you are so inclined; under-eye concealer is our friend. Set up your laptop or your iPad or your phone in a place where you can control the lighting. Watch the camera angle – lately some of the people on the evening news being interviewed from their improvised home studios look like chinless wonders. Have the camera be in line with your eyes. Good lighting is paramount. Don’t sit with windows behind you. Then find a neutral background. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMex-9FyljU But after the first scotch and soda, who is going to care?
The past is a foreign country. In those long ago days at Washington College when we first met, it was legal for us to drink beer at 18. We shake our heads nowadays at the notion that there was a college-sponsored beer wagon at our freshman orientation. (I can still see my mother craning her neck, reluctantly waving goodbye to me that first time she left me behind in Chestertown. She was incredulous; I had a beer in my hand!) So we grew up in a culture that believed in a cocktail hour. We often had themed parties, with the appropriate cocktail for each bash. I am glad to say that we outgrew Purple Jesus Punch. In our more recent years we decided that the Cosmo was pretty, and it was sophisticated enough for us, now that we were all grown up. We also discovered that three is our limit. It should be a glorious Quarantini. Cheers!
Cosmo à la Shirl
The French 75 is now my cocktail of choice. When we used to go out, back in the day, in February, I would order a French 75. On Saturday nights now Mr. Friday mixes up one or two for me.
https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/french-75-3 That is Bon Appétit’s way.
This is Mr. Friday’s recipe:
2 ounces Cognac (he likes his with 2 ounces of elderberry cordial)
¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
2 ounces Champagne (but Prosecco works just fine!)
For your Quarantini you can always have beer, pricey white wine, a V&T, Two Buck Chuck, Diet Coke, Champagne, Prosecco, coffee, tea or water. What is important is not feeling alone. Spread your love, and see how far it goes. Like good butter. Pick up your phone, and socialize.
“I’ve been homesick for countries I’ve never been, and longed to be where I couldn’t be.”
― John Cheever