So, it would appear this coronavirus thing is the real deal. Schools are closing, people are being told to stay home, and hand sanitizer is the hottest commodity the world has seen since fidget spinners became a thing.
Things get weirder with each passing day and we’re still only halfway through the week! By the time Saturday rolls around, there’s a chance The Walking Dead will no longer be just a form of entertainment but also slightly educational.
Italy has been hit worse than most of the other countries dealing with the illness and was recently placed on lockdown as the government encourages people to stay inside their homes. It’s not technically a quarantine but it’s pretty damn close.
In the United States, a handful of elected officials self-quarantined themselves after coming in contact with someone who was infected recently at a conference. One of those politicians was seen mocking the uproar over the disease last week when he wore a gas mask on the floor of the House of Representatives, proving that coronavirus might be lethal but also has a slight sense of humor.
It’s clear that the possibility any one of us could be placed under quarantine isn’t going away any time soon, and to be safe, we should be prepared. We should start asking ourselves not just if we’ve compiled enough canned goods and other non-perishable items but if we are truly ready to spend an extended amount of time locked in our homes.
Sure, the idea of getting some time to relax (or at least as much as you can relax when you have a potentially deadly illness) is kind of appealing but things could get dark quick if you are not prepared.
As a result, I put together a handy list of things you can do if you find yourself quarantined for an extended period of time.
1. Watch ‘McMillions’ on HBO
McMillions is a limited documentary series on HBO that wrapped up Monday night. It tells the story of one man’s decade-long scam to rig MacDonald’s storied Monopoly game.
If you haven’t watched it, it’s amazing.
It has it all: Florida, mobsters, the wives of those mobsters, questionable parenting decisions, karaoke, stakeouts, mustaches, well-crafted reenactments, and so much more.
It also has Special Agent Doug Matthews, who is definitely an early front-runner for the best character on television in 2020.
Matthews is a quote machine and was one of the first FBI agents to get working on the McDonald’s case. A young agent at the time, he was jacked to get his hands on something besides clerical work and run-of-the-mill healthcare fraud.
Every single time he came on screen, I was elated and I now want him to appear in other documentaries (if not all of the documentaries). I want him to show up in the eventual documentary they make about the Houston Astros cheating scandal and the one we’ll get when the coronavirus panic (hopefully) comes to an end.
It’s not a lot to ask, and in light of global pandemic swallowing us whole, it’s the least whoever is going to make those docs can do.
2. Bone Up On Some World War I History
I saw 1917 last year, and after watching it, I had two thoughts.
The first was that it was an amazing movie. It was really some damn fine filmmaking. I liked the one-take gimmick and how it brought you right into the trenches with the characters.
My second thought was more of a realization: I do not know a lot about World War I. I have a pretty good handle on the global conflict that came in its wake, but when it comes to that first one, I have some blind spots.
For instance, I kind of know how it started: some dude killed an archduke from somewhere (maybe Austria?) and everything went downhill from there. However, I don’t really know how England got involved, let alone the United States.
I feel like I’m not really alone here. I think we’ve become a very World War II-centric society, and as a result, have biffed it in regards to learning about the gigantic war that came before it.
Luckily, if you do a quick search on Amazon, there is a boatload of books about WWI out there and a lot of them seem to be reviewed rather favorably, so maybe pick one out and go from there.
3. Prep for March Madness
Selection Sunday is this coming weekend, which is followed by Bracket Monday, Redo Your Bracket Tuesday, and Give It One Last Look Before You Say “Fuck It” Wednesday.
Studies have shown that 80% of people who participate in March Madness bracket pools don’t watch a lick of college basketball before the tournament starts. These suckers rely on experts to guide them, and as we all know, experts have never been wrong.
However, being quarantined also gives you plenty of time to beef up on your college basketball knowledge.
Even if you want to make your picks based on uniforms or mascots (both of which are surprisingly sound strategies) you can spend your time confined to your home getting that research out of the way now as opposed to Monday and get a leg up on everyone to set yourself up for greatness.
4. Hey, Why Not Do Some Cooking?
You don’t want to do too much cooking. After all, you don’t know how long you’ll be quarantined for and you need to be smart with your supplies.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Do something cool with tacos or finally try pizza with pineapple on it. Have you always wanted to try and make smoothies with the blender you bought a couple of years ago but haven’t touched? Give it a go. Use some kale. Kale is fantastic.
Again, be smart about it. You don’t want to blow through your rations too early, but if society as we know it collapses, you might as well treat yourself a bit.
5. Teach Yourself How To Play an Instrument
If you’re quarantined and confined to your residence, you’ll already need to have an instrument on hand like the countless dudes who have an acoustic guitar in the corner of their apartment that they never touch because they don’t actually know how to play it.
The strings are incredibly out of tune. The whole thing is for show. At least it was…until now!
If you happen to be one of those aforementioned people, the first thing you’re going to want to do is download an app that helps you tune those strings. They have those now. We truly live in fantastic times (aside from the coronavirus issue).
You’ll then want to hop on YouTube to find a few good videos about how to play guitar, and *boom*, you’re off.
I should mention this is a lot easier if you live alone. Listening to someone learn how to play an instrument is rough. Plus, you’re already quarantined. There’s no need to make it even harder for someone.
6. Watch Spring Training
This is a good one because there is literally always a spring training game somewhere on television. I’m serious. There are no days off.
Maybe it could be intrasquad. It could also be split-squad. The Red Sox could somehow be playing two games at once on both coasts of Florida. It doesn’t matter. In March, there is always baseball on.
Who are some of these dudes? It also doesn’t matter.
Don’t even bother learning most of the guy’s names (especially if they have a number in the 90s). They won’t be around once the regular season starts (you know, provided the season actually does start and isn’t canceled because of coronavirus).
That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some good, old fashioned baseball while you still can.
7. Do Some Coloring
I’m not talking about doing some scribbling with colored pencils and those “grown-up” coloring books that were popular a few years ago.
I’m talking about getting some crayons and a Disney coloring book and just coloring the day away.
Don’t laugh. Don’t roll your eyes or snicker. Coloring is dope.
I have a four-year-old daughter who has recently gotten very into coloring. She’s also a team player and likes to include my wife and I. As a result, I’ve found myself on more than one occasion sitting at the kitchen table or on the floor in the living room channeling my inner kid.
I’m also pretty good at staying in the lines, but I’m here to give some guidance, not to brag.
8. Go Ahead And Build Something
Like a table. You could build a table. Or a shelf. That’s pretty easy.
You’ll want a stud finder if you do the latter, though. I once learned that the hard way. A level is good to have too. I also learned that the hard way. There’s a shelf in our daughter’s closet that only makes sense after you’ve had a few drinks.
However, where are you going to get materials if you’re quarantined? It doesn’t matter.
Did that stop Buddy the Elf? My dude built a damn rocking horse courtesy of an entertainment center. If he could do that, so can you (especially if you have some time to kill, which you will if you’re quarantined).
9. Start A Podcast Like Everyone Else On Earth
It’s actually pretty easy to start a podcast these days. You can get a microphone online, and for about $20, you can get one that can get the job done.
No, you won’t sound like a pro, but you’re in quarantine. It’s the epitome of an any-ship-in-the-storm situation.
Maybe you do a podcast about the history of quarantines or one about pandemics. After all, you’re practically an expert now.
There are already a few podcasts about WWI, but if you’re hunkered down and diving into the inner workings of The Great War, you could always record your findings and drop them on Soundcloud.
Just don’t do a true-crime podcast. We have enough of those.
10. Find a Cure
No, really. Someone needs too. Maybe it could be you. Never underestimate the power of YouTube tutorials.