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My Turn: Clues that coronavirus isolation is getting to you

Newsday is opening this story to all readers as we provide Long Islanders with news and information you can use during the coronavirus outbreak. All readers can learn the latest news at newsday.com/LiveUpdates

I was trying to remember what made me laugh when Jeff Foxworthy and his “You Might Be a Redneck” jokes came to mind. So here is my riff on his humor.

You know the isolation is getting to you:

When you try to find the news channel on your microwave

     watch the screen

     and realize it might be your best bet.

When you name all the squirrels in your bird feeder

    and the big gray one with the crazy eye named Ralph

    starts giving you tips on the stock market

    and you believe him.

When you get dressed up for your Zoom cocktail party

    and think of your flannel pajamas with polar bears

    as “formal wear”

    and someone compliments you on them.

When you watch cat videos on YouTube for hours

    and you wonder if your cat might also have talent

    and you realize your cat is a dog.

When you throw your cash into the washing machine

    out of fear that it's carrying the germs of thousands of hands

    and add fabric softener

    and iron it.

When you stop wearing deodorant

    in hopes that it will remind you of Zumba class you're missing

    and it feels oddly comforting.

When you finally have time to organize your closets

    and you color code your clothes

     and then try to alphabetize them.

When you look in the mirror

    and think it is FaceTime

    with an old stranger

    and you introduce yourself.

When you decide that cutting your own hair can't be all that difficult

    and your grandkids think you have

    a new “silly filter app” on FaceTime

    and you write them out of your will … again.

When you run out of hair dye

    and think that red and green food color might make brown dye in a pinch

    and it does

    in a way

    and you once again write your grandkids out of your will.

When you finally clean up your bedroom and hang up your clothes

    and discover your treadmill    

    and in a fit of energy

    take the clothes off the hangers and cover the damn thing up again.

When your house is so clean

    that you pray that the dust bunnies are multiplying

    so that you'll have a new generation to chase.

When you pray to the gods of Costco and Stop & Shop

    for manna

    and learn the meaning of eternity.

When you do research on what people did before toilet paper

    and wish you had not.

When you watch the laundry bouncing in the clothes dryer

    and think it is cable news

    and write a compliment to the station.

When you carefully dress and groom for that office meetup

    and even remember to press “enhance face” on Zoom

    and you see that your smile is nearly as bright

    as your Christmas tree blinking over your left shoulder.

When you think that a candlelight dinner might boost your spirits

    and you try really hard to “plate”

    oatmeal.

When you think you'll try meditation

    and you need a peaceful place away from your family     

    so you build an igloo out of toilet paper

    and you want to live there forever.

Kathee Shaff Kelson,

Stony Brook

YOUR STORY Letters and essays for My Turn are original works by readers that have never appeared in print or online. Share special memories, traditions, friendships, life-changing decisions, observations of life or unforgettable moments for possible publication. Email act2@newsday.com, including your name, address, phone numbers and photos if available. Edited stories may be republished in any format.

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