Distractions in the Time of Coronavirus

Posted by:
Susan Rooke
April 2, 2020

The world’s near-term prognosis is grim. As for the long-term, it doesn’t bear examining yet. Not by me, anyway. The last time I left the house to run errands without anxiety was March 11th. Two days later, Glen and I went into self-isolation. And now, along with lots of other people, I feel as if I’ve landed in a frightful alien landscape that bears no resemblance to my old way of life. To say the least, it’s concerning.

So, in an effort to stave off daily panic attacks, I’m trying to distract myself with:

1. Things that comfort me. Like baking bread and desserts, cooking, and spending time outside watching the cows and the birds. And with:
2. Things that make me laugh. Because there’s a lot to be said for laughter at a time like this. (Staying away from the latest news makes it easier.) It’s not about minimizing the severity of the pandemic. It’s about saving my sanity.

Some things in the second category:

• This evidence of The Daughter’s inexplicable need to put socks on a stuffed octopus

• The animated series, Simon's Cat
• Old favorite movies, like Defending Your Life, or new ones, like Crazy Rich Asians
• Books by A.J. Jacobs, Mary Roach, David Sedaris and Peter Mayle, all writers who are humorous and suitably diverting in completely different ways
• The latest pics of The Granddog making himself at home on the furniture. (Those elegant ears! That aristocratic snout!) Navarre is a white German Shepherd, a mere puppy of 6 ½ months and 75 lbs. Someday when this is all over, Glen and I hope to meet him in person.

I wish I could say I’ve also distracted myself by writing, but the latest attempts to work on fiction and poetry have had no results. I can’t concentrate. But the other night when I awoke at 3 A.M. and all the doomsday scenarios started galloping through my thoughts, I began writing the lyrics to a song in my head. And though I’ve got only one verse and the chorus done so far, I’m pleased to say it’s already showing significant promise of being seriously awful.

[Verse 1]

Well, I went down to the grocery store,
took my place in line.
Stayed six feet from the guy before me,
six feet from the gal behind.
Didn’t need no toilet paper.
All I came for, all I came for . . .
was the wine.

[Chorus]

Now I’m stuck in isolation,
so much disaster on the news.
Can’t stop my mind from racin’.
Got the coronavirus blues.

I’m calling it—you guessed it—“Coronavirus Blues.”

All of you must have better ways to distract yourselves than writing the lyrics to bad songs. I would love for you to share them with me, please, because I really don’t want to spend any more time on the abomination above. There’s no big rush, though. Just whenever you get around to it. I’m gonna be hanging out here at the house for a while . . . washing my hands.

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25 comments on “Distractions in the Time of Coronavirus”

  1. I think that if you could get Glen to chime in the chorus you'd be the next Yearwood/Brooks sensation! 🙂

  2. now you are not only a writer, excellent cook,perfect hostess but a,songwriter too? omg how many more hidden talents do you have? keep surprising us.
    Love the Octopus picture and the one of that beautiful dog!

    1. Thank you, Susan, that’s a wonderful and very sweet thing to say! I can’t wait until things are back to normal to see you again!

  3. 1. That white shepherd is ADORABLE!!!! Eeeee! I love him! My beloved dog, Gus, that I had when I was a kid was half white shepherd.
    2. Your song is terrible. I love it.
    3. (And most important) WHY DOES THE OCTOPUS ONLY GET TWO SOCKS AND WHY ON THOSE TWO TENTACLES?!?!?!?!?!!!?!!?

    1. 1. Oh, how wonderful, Carie! Do you have any pics of Gus? Please send ‘em, if you do!
      2. Dangit, now I may have to come up with another verse. 😁
      3. That’s EXACTLY what I want to know! What is the deal with the octopus socks??

    2. Thank you, Carie! Navarre is my handsome boy! He's also a monster with a naughty streak a mile wide. As for the socktopus, Legs finds socks on every tentacle confining. They limit his sense of touch. He finds a single pair to be suitably fashionable and functional.

  4. Great song writers can get others to perform their work. Who would you select to debut your growing rhyme? Love the pics and distractions and we are all seeking the great distractions from reality, especially at this time. Be well and stay distracted! ❤️

    1. Hi, Julia! That’s a good question. Keb’ Mo’ writes his own stuff, but he would be awesome, I think! I’m so glad you stopped by. I hope you and your family all stay well and suitably distracted, too! ❤️

  5. I am distracting myself pretty much in the same ways that you are- cooking, books, movies, music, and trying to get outside everyday for a daily walk.

    FWIW, I imagine this song as rap, and feel pretty sure you are on to something badass. You need a Tik-Tok video to really get it off the ground. I look forward to seeing this.

    As for other humorous things, here are a few more suggestions: Jenny Lawson, aka: The Bloggess- books or blog, the movie "Game Night" and also "Longshot". The Office- US version, entire series. The FAR SIDE website. James Cordon's Carpool Karaoke, especially the one with Sir Paul McCartney. Better Call Saul. Paul Bronks (aka: Boring Enormous) on Twitter or Facebook.

    ps: I love Katie's dog. He has a great smile. I wish I could meet him and rub his ears!

    1. Rap, really? What an interesting notion, that never crossed my mind! You might be looking forward to the Tik Tok video for quite some time, though, Claire. I tell you what, since it’s your idea, you take that video and run with it! 😉

      Thank you for all your distracting suggestions, this is great! Now I have more ammo to get through the days. I keep meaning to look up Jenny Lawson because I haven’t seen her blog in quite a while and I keep forgetting. I’m going to look up Boring Enormous right now.

      Apparently, Navarre is quite the naughty boy. Glen and I can’t wait to meet him!

  6. Well, I will never be a good Baker but now am doing soup - Italian wedding, Tuscan Potato, tomato basil, and, of course, broccoli - cheddar. How about some day we combine talents - you with some herb biscuits and my soup. Now, Glen, I'm older than dirt and harmless, so of course there's another place at the table.

    1. This is a wonderful idea, Ralph. You give me hope that one day our lives will return to something resembling “normal.” Your delicious soup and my herb biscuits, and friends breaking bread together. Something to look forward to in this strange, bleak time!

  7. Dang, Susan. Now you've done it! This may never stop. Here's my contribution. Who's next?

    Well I stood in line at Gelson’s
    And then at Trader Joe’s
    No mask, just a bandana
    To cover up my nose

    I’ve got them
    Coronavirus blues
    The’re sayin’ it ain’t peaked yet
    You know that’s not good news

    Well I hit the aisle for yogurt
    Went searchin’ for some eggs
    But all that they had left me
    Was nothing but the dregs

    I’ve got them
    Coronavirus blues
    Stay six feet back, don’t touch me
    Say, where’s the line for booze?

    So I took my meager vittles
    Put ‘em in my canvas sack
    I shuffled out the door now
    An I ain’t lookin’ back

    I got them
    Coronavirus blues
    An I hope those bugs don’t get me
    I got a lot to lose

    I got a lot to lose . . .

  8. Susan, here's more. I just can't wait. Best, John

    CV Blues, Part II

    Seems I’m getting’ me some sniffles
    Got a bit of fever, too
    I’m feeling all congested
    And I don’t know what to do

    I got them
    Coronavirus blues
    I know I should be tested
    I need to know the news

    So they finally said they’d do it
    Stuck a swab way up my nose
    And they said that they would call me
    Just how soon, nobody knows

    I got them
    Coronavirus blues
    I’m worried sick, I’m quakin’
    To the bottom of my shoes

    They said to go on home now
    “Self isolate” they said
    I think they’ll not be knowing
    If I’m alive or dead

    I’ve got them
    Coronavirus blues
    All alone in desolation
    No, this ain’t what I’d choose

    No, this ain't what I'd choose

    1. OK, John, your song is way better than my attempts. For one thing it sounds too freaking real. Please tell me you’re doing OK? And if you’re not, I want to know that too. Glen says to please keep us posted and I echo that! If you feel that you can tell us where you are, that would be good, too. We want to hear from you and know how you’re doing. I’m hoping that all this is just part of your very realistic song.

  9. Actually Susan and Glen, I am hunkered down in Los Feliz (L.A.) with a beautiful friend I've known for years from the UCLA
    Alumni Band, she on the glockenspiel, me on trombone. I can't say we're exactly making beautiful music together, as that is a weird sort of duo, but I am eating well, the Scotch supply is holding, and waiting like the rest of mankind for this to pass, keeping my fingers crossed that nasty bug won't find me. Been here over a month, unwilling to fly and just sitting tight. I am missing my two cats at home, but my daughter is there holding the fort. Stay well, John (Now for one more piece of the Coronavirus Blues)

    CV Blues, Part III

    It’s on the television
    It’s in the papers, too
    How many folks have died and
    It is more than just a few

    I’ve got them
    Coronavirus blues
    Still hoping it won’t get me
    Still quakin’ in my shoes

    For sure it did surprise me
    How I could hunker down
    I’m eating good, not starving
    Though you won’t find me in town

    I’ve got them
    Coronavirus blues
    Be careful you don’t gather
    Except in ones or twos

    Ain’t got no ventilator
    Don’t care to intubate
    I’m thinking I’ll just lie here
    In a vegetative state

    I’ve got them
    Coronavirus blues
    Sittin’ on a keg of powder
    Please, please don’t light that fuse

    Please do not light that fuse

    1. Well, that is GREAT news, John! I'm very glad to hear from you again and to know that you're safe. I knew you were a gifted poet and musician, but I wasn't prepared for the close-to-the-bone reality of your "Coronavirus Blues" verses. (These latest ones are my favorites!) Y'all stay well, too. Glen and I are thinking about you. And praise be for scotch!

  10. Well, Susan, I am finally going back to catch up a bit forward!! Takes me forever! I'm in love with all you bring... In big love with that gorgeous, handsome doggie of Daughter! And your lyrics! And oh my gosh, John's spiking talent! He played some piano for me in Alpine a few years ago ---- remember that, John?? Can't believe I don't see stitches all over John from bursting hisself with talent!! And you too, Susan! Hope the coronavirus blues DIFFUSE!!! Love to you and Glen and Lucy and Phoebe ....and Navarre!!! <3 ... so glad we're not the only guilty dog 'parents'!

    1. Hi, Claire! (Sorry, I missed this one somehow.) I’m so glad you’re finally catching up and thank you for all your lovely comments! Isn’t Navarre such a handsome boy? Glen and I can’t wait to meet him in person!

  11. Love it! Katie needs to take up knitting so that the octopus has homemade socks. (That’ll be when you know this corona thing has been going on too long!)

    I second Jenny Lawson as a recommendation...she’s designed some great coloring pages during quarantine. My list of unproductive activities is on my blog. I haven’t baked nearly enough bread. And I only wish I had your peaceful outdoor view!

    And that is a handsome grand dog!

    1. Thank you, Diana! I’ll pass your sock suggestion on to Katie, but secretly I’m hoping she’ll stick to shaking up cocktails. So much more useful! (Just me?)

      I loved your blog post the other day! I wanted to comment on FB, but it looks like you didn’t promote it? So glad to see you back to writing it! ❤️

      Our granddog is coming soon and we can’t wait to meet him! There will be more pics when I finally stop hiding in my house, waiting for my bleak mood to change.

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