Learning new things during COVID-19

I’ve been married to my wife for more than 25 years. When you wake up next to the same person for that many years, you get to know them pretty well. In my wife’s case, I’ve learned everything from her little idiosyncrasies like how she rubs her nose with the palm of her hand to big things like how she breaks out into a giddy smile anytime she gets to spend some time with one of her kids.

read-515531_640Despite our long years together, however, I must admit that the Coronavirus quarantine has taught me a thing or two about my wife, things that I never knew. And it’s not just her. I’ve learned a few things about myself too.

Here’s what I mean:

–I make our bed as soon as I wake. I’ve always been that way. I’m not talking five-star hotel made or hospital corners certified. I’m talking, pull the covers up so that if someone ever comes into the room, I wouldn’t look like a total slob. It’s a carryover from college life, when friends and dorm mates came and went from your room all the time. My wife, on-the-other-hand, has always been more prone to take the view that no one will ever come to our bedroom and she’ll get to it, when she gets to it, she’s got too many other more important things to worry about in the course of the day.

book-2304389_640However, I think I surprised my wife last week when I jumped out of bed, running late to my early morning work phone call, got a quick shower and quickly made the bed. Let me stop right there and clarify, I made it, umm, with my wife still in the bed. Yea, I’m that annoying guy.

student-3500990_640–I’ve long been familiar with our differing TV-watching tastes. I prefer sports, she prefers Hallmark Channel love stories. You know the type of love story I’m talking about, the one where some woman returns to her hometown in some bucolic Colorado setting and falls head over heals in love with a local carpenter who lost his wife to cancer and is taking his first tentative steps to a future life. For my wife, the sappier the better. Thanks to our separate interests, when we sit down to watch something together, we usually opt to meet in the middle with some offbeat comedy. However, thanks to COVID-19, I’m starting to learn how much my wife loves an altogether different genre: police procedure shows ala Criminal Minds, Law & Order, notebook-1939358_640Blue Bloods, and CSI. I walk downstairs from a day of work conference calls and see that she’s come upstairs from her office in our den to chill out in front of the TV. She’s tired and exhausted from working all day and she’ll inevitably have one police show or another on the television. She loves them so much that I’m starting to think she might have other plans in mind. In fact, after one episode, I swear I saw her taking notes. I asked her about it, but she laughed a little laugh and said she was just filling out the grocery store list. I’m not convinced. In reality, I think she may be taking notes on how to “knock me off” and efficiently get rid of me. Call me paranoid, but she had a strange look in her eyes, like she was envisioning life without Brian. Let’s just say, I’m ordering flowers for her the first chance I get. (Are florists an essential service? They are for me.) In the meantime, we seem to be doing better, my wife flashed me a smile this morning. At least I hope it was a smile, otherwise, I’m a goner.

books-2420232_640-2–I’m a news junkie. I’ve always liked to stay on top of the latest, but COVID-19 has taught me that even I have my breaking points. In the middle of this craziness, I’ve found that sometimes the best thing I can do for myself is turn off the television, shut down social media, shut out the rest of the world and instead go for a walk in the woods. I keep coming back to Henry David Thoreau’s reflection: “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.”  For some, I’m sure this is a no-brainer. For someone like myself, though, who has long loved staying on top of the news, in all its many forms, this is a real revelation. Life exists without being always in the know. Hmm, who would’ve thunk it?

–The week before the powers that be sent my coworkers and I home to work remotely, I was looking to buy a couple of new pricey formal work shirts and pants for work. I had started a new job and needed the look the part. It’s funny, but five or six weeks later, that snazzy new expensive brand name shirt has become an after-thought. I haven’t even thought about it. In fact, it’s taken a back seat to comfort and ease. Strange as it may sound, a few little changes can give us newfound perspective. What what was important yesterday becomes useless tomorrow.

writing-828911_640-2Yes, I know that COVID-19 has a very real serious side. There’s life and death decisions everywhere you look. Doctors, nurses, medical personnel, and first responders working overtime to help the sick and the needy. Police and firefighters still working to protect us in our time of need. Essential workers including everyone from grocery store cashiers and stockers to restaurant workers to truck drivers and farmers continuing to work throughout the pandemic.

Yes, this is a very serious time, but sometimes you need to step away, let the stress fall to the wayside and laugh at the insanity of the situation. At least that’s what I’ve tried to do in my own life.

Stay safe everyone.

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