Gazing Long into the COVID-19 Abyss: Terrible Ideas to Pass Unprecedented Amounts of Time with Yourself

The first mistake was giving me space to write. ‘We want a narrative of the pandemic from your location’ they said. Instead this, whatever this is, is what I wrote. Coping with an overabundance of isolated time can be its own form of psychological drain, safe to say. However, from my station here in my two room corner apartment I’ve come to master the forbidden arts of wasting time. The following list of pastimes will do nothing to mitigate that psychological drain and should be wholly ignored as the irreverent nonsense they are:

You can mesh your toes together like your fingers. It’s unnatural, of course, and will require your hands for a minute, but once you’re done, it’s something you can Instagram, I suppose, so just be ready for weird stuff in your inbox.

You could go for a personal record of longest holding your eyes open. Scoop water onto your face or load a spray bottle with water so your eyes don’t dry out, or lean your head upside down into a bucket of water with your nose above the surface, for as long as you want, hours if you must.

Try a bite of raw potato, just once. Try it again. See? It’s still terrible.

Smell your shoe, really get in there and huff. Smell your other shoe. They’re different feet, it’s kinda weird they smell the same. It’s okay to be concerned, frightened even.

Look up a random fax number and start sending documents. Anything, mugshots, photos of Mayan stuff, get increasingly urgent and add layers of cipher. The dying fax industry will thank you. And the guy in accounts receiving or whatever will have an interesting day sorting through all those mysteries.

Most birds can hybridize with most birds. Like, buy a vulture and a peacock and see which side wins. You know, genetically. Release their forsaken spawn at the local petting zoo as if it was always there.

Try tongs for a day. Just tongs. Not pants, not makeup, only tongs. Really let the repressed inner lobster out for a bit.

Fill your toilet tank with Orbeez beads overnight for a colorful, bouncy surprise next time you flush. The plumber will also have a good laugh.

If you go print something off the internet, you can legally assume the title of ‘Reverend’ and you can officiate weddings. But I think what we all want is the power to spontaneously, bindingly wed people, people on the street passing by with no idea what is going on.

Send someone a bouquet of exotic flowers and a note that says ‘Enjoy!’. But include a jar of salad dressing so that for a few bitter, astringent bites, they’ll think it’s one of those edible arrangements.

Remember in grade school when you would dry some Elmer’s glue on your hand and peel it off like a snakeskin? Now is the time to see how far you can take the idea. Leave personalized husks for friends and family!

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