A little down time

By Joe Rector

How are you holding up? That’s a question many folks are asking others. This stay-at-home lifestyle is negatively affecting plenty of people. The “belly-aching” is deafening, but I understand those who are miserable. Some of us, however, are doing all right with the situation.

Families who are suffering during this shutdown are used to more activity in life. Parents spend days working, and children are sitting in classes. In the evenings, families juggle schedules to arrive at sports’ practices, dance or karate classes, or club meetings. Suppers are eaten in shifts, and many families consume food that has been picked up at a drive-thru window of some fast food restaurant.

Suddenly, everyone is at home. The house that sat empty so much of the day now is filled with the family. Everyone feels a bit crowded, and privacy seems impossible to find. Parents who work at home demand quiet from children. Teens retreat to their own worlds inside their bedrooms, but little brothers or sisters constantly invade, as do moms who are gathering up loads of laundry and demanding that rooms be cleaned. Social distancing works fine with teens when it deals with family members, but they aren’t so keen on the idea when it includes friends.

In all, those folks are in foul moods. They long for a return to “normal life.” Kids want sports to play and movies to attend; they want to hang out with friends, especially as warmer weather comes. Parents want children back in school. They have realized how inadequate they are in educating their children and how difficult working from home is.

Some of us are doing much better. Our lives aren’t nearly so complicated. Children are grown and out on their own. Work is something we do, but it doesn’t define us. Home is a good place to be. We enjoy each other’s company, and older couples have been together long enough to know when a little separation, even if it is at the far ends of the house, is warranted.

Amy and I have enjoyed the warmer weather. I finally have been able to hop on the mower and cut the grass. The flower beds have been weeded much earlier this year. Amy has put some plants into pots and the ground. During evenings, we sit on the deck or screened porch and read or just watch the cars go by on Ball Camp Pike.

Evenings are spent watching one of the shows that we’ve recorded. Occasionally, we find a movie on Netflix or Prime, and for a couple of hours we view the show. Even with all the stations and alternative programming, we sometimes find nothing worth spending our time on and return to books or other distractions.

Surprisingly, we’ve not had a single cross word during this entire time. Maybe we have been able to accept the situation and are willing to live with it. Then again, we might have enough to keep us busy and out of each other’s way. More likely, we’ve learned to live with each other. Amy and I enjoy our time together. We eat at home most nights, so not having restaurants to eat at is no big deal. Oh, we make trips to the grocery store and gas station, and I’ve even visited Home Depot for a couple of necessary things. But for most part, we are comfortable and content at home.

Don’t worry; before much longer, this pandemic will go away, at least for a while. Then folks can jump back on the merry-go-round of life and return to exhaustion that tells them that they’ve lived to the fullest. When anyone is gasping in the middle of the way things usually are, I hope he or she will think back to how pleasant that time at home was. Much can be said about a little down time.

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