Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Life Hands You Quarantine, Make Quaran-tini

Tomorrow, I find a restaurant with a huge outdoor patio and indulge in a fresh, hot burger and fries. And, definitely, a cold draft beer. At minimum, I’ll go get a haircut.

That’s how I plan to celebrate the end of my state imposed, 14-day self-quarantine for the high crime of vacationing in a COVID-19 hotspot even though while there I didn’t go out for a burger or a beer or anything vaguely vacationy beyond sitting on the spacious beach beyond our rental’s back deck for hours and hours. I won’t name the location to protect the many conspiracy theorists who permanently live there, but I’ll offer hints. It’s a state where:
  • face masks only became required in public settings in late June,
  • indoor dining is allowed at 50 percent capacity, and
  • the riskiest behavior I undertook was showing my Blue State issued driver’s license to the Good Ol’ Boy behind the register at the ABC store.
“Y’all a Yankee?” he asked.

“Not at all,” I replied. “I root for whoever they’re playing.”

He sized me up and down, briefly lifted his Chinese-made KN95 camo patterned mask to empty the accumulation between his cheek and gum into a paper cup, and said, “Doncha mean ‘whomever,’ Yalie?”

I arrived back in Connecticut two Saturdays ago. Within a minute of pulling off the Merritt Parkway, I was scurrying about the supermarket gathering the essentials to get my family through the next two weeks of in-home hibernation. I hurried as best as I could before the Coppertone fumes and sand left in my wake caused someone to become a Nervous Neddy and rat me out.

Then I returned home, unpacked the groceries and sea salt stained swimsuits, and dutifully filled out my Connecticut State Travel Form.

On the drive home, the doctor at the beach-side clinic we visited two days before called to let us know our family had all received negative results on our nasal swabs. We had won the immunity challenge to skip quarantine, I thought at the time. Digging into the details of Connecticut’s travel restriction order revealed that not to be the case.

Passing a COVID-19 test prior to arrival would only let me break free from my house arrest, which is surely being monitored by the dark uniformed thugs of the deep Nutmeg State, for taking a child to school or attending a funeral. (Depending on your parenting viewpoint, those activities could be become one in the same this academic year.) Hence, here I am still: Day 14 and dangerously low on toothpicks and cocktail onions.

I haven’t been a total hermit. The dog and I still take long, socially distant walks (thank you, six foot leash) which the state explicitly allows. My daughter and I have played tennis a few times at empty or near-empty courts which may or may not be allowed. I did once breeze in and out of a dry cleaner’s drive thru. That might be getting me a little close to incurring the state’s $1,000 fine for not staying put though a wise and benevolent judge would show mercy given how much it cost remove a Mai Tai stain from white linen trousers.

And that’s pretty much it. Really. That’s despite enticements from multiple friends, business owners and social acquaintances who flat out told me before I left not to worry about the state’s quarantine when I returned. Come back out, they said. Mix, mingle, exhale as freely as you please. Land of the free, home of the scofflaw and all that.

No, thank you. I’m going to do my best to lay low and double my vacation time through some state-sanctioned staycation time. And yet somehow, I survived. Providing Amazon delivers those toothpicks and cocktail onions by 5 p.m., of course.


  1. I feel your pain.
    The Child was exposed at work and tested positive back in late May. The three of us hunkered down for 3 weeks, to err on the side of caution. The Mister got it (they both had zero symptoms and felt fine with the exception of no sense of taste or smell for 2 days) and despite having a compromised immune system, I didn’t get it. We all had the antibody test 6 weeks later and I honestly wept when my results were negative.
    In July, I was contacted via contact tracing by the Cheese Head State to inform me I had been exposed after sharing a pizza (outside, socially distanced) with a life long friend ~ I already knew as my #1 gal pal had already called to share her grim news. Quarantine #2 and another negative antibody test.
    Family wedding in August where I was appalled at the lack of masks. Quarantine #3 and ANOTHER negative antibody test.
    October 10th, another family wedding (if you guessed the same family, you’re tonight’s big winner!!) with no masks in site.
    I’m now in my 4th quarantine and losing my mind.
    Well, I’m going to lose it if it doesn’t explode.

  2. I feel your pain. As much as I dislike lining the pockets of Jeff bezos and his delivery machine, you gotta get those toothpicks and onion rings. Or in my case, bacon frazzles and Brew Dog.

    Can you imagine what that guys boat is like?

    1. Probably big enough to hold all use suckers. Thanks for reading.

  3. two giant belly laughs..thank you!


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