‘Caught in the continuous Corona Lockdown Loop’
Ten minutes ago when The Child was ten years old she was allowed — nay, encouraged — to invite friends out to Amagansett for weekends.
How many friends? As many as the car had seat belts for. If somebody didn’t mind a middle seat, that meant three. The car ride from the City could take ages, but those kids were pretty good at entertaining each other. They’d play car games, like Count The Cows (you lose all your cows if you pass a graveyard) or that one where you say a word starting with the last letter of the previous word. Some smart aleck would invariably contrive to use the word “xerox.”
Once we got to the house, things were fairly easy too. At that ten-to-twelveish age — kind of the sweet spot of kiddom, in my opinion — the Host Mom (at least a Host Mom like me with an easy breezy parenting style and a safely-isolated home location) could pretty much just throw those tweens outside and let them fend for themselves.
One time, though, a kid approached me in the kitchen and asked if we could “make soap.” “Nope, no soap,” said I, then made a mental note to exclude this child from any future invitation lists. Oh, and there was another little girl who came up to me in the kitchen and announced, “I’m bored.” I told her in no uncertain terms that “we don’t do ‘bored’ at this house,” and that if she continued to be “bored” I would have no choice but to ask her mother to come get her and take her home.
But what’s any of this have to do with Groundhog Day? Well, during the day I’d throw the kids outside, and after supper I’d throw them in the den and pop in a DVD. (Age-appropriate, of course. I’m not that much of a hands-off Mom. Though what The Dude and I deemed appropriate wasn’t always universally accepted. “Splash,” for instance. Think about it.)
“Groundhog Day” was on the list. In fact, there was this one little girl who would only watch “Groundhog Day.” Since she was delightful in all ways and had just this one little quirk — and, most importantly, since we all liked “Groundhog Day” — we would indulge her. (It would be ix-nay away-nay if her choice had been, say, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.“)
So, if this little girl was a guest, we would watch “Groundhog Day” on Friday night. And then we’d watch it again on Saturday night. If it rained, we’d would watch it on an afternoon. Watching “Groundhog Day” became kind of a Groundhog Day type experience in and of itself.
I got to thinking about those Groundhog Days because I read an article by a health and psychology writer about how being in quarantine made every day feel like “a carbon copy of the one before: wake up, make coffee…remember to eat, go to bed, repeat.” (I don’t see “drink wine” anywhere in there; maybe that’s part of her problem.) In other words, we’re trapped in our own “Groundhog Day” movie.
Miss Psychologist goes on to make suggestions. Like “Create a routine.” (Okay. “Make bed; drink coffee, read paper.”)
“Manufacture spontaneity.” (Sure. “Dance around the kitchen while drinking wine.”) “Find something to master.” (Got it. “Read while juggling a glass of wine.”)
And “Embrace the opportunity for change.” (Easy-peasy. “Switch out book for knitting; substitute Manhattan for glass of wine.”)
So far, so good. And, one last note about Groundhog-Day-like repetition. It honestly doesn’t hurt to have exactly the same view every night — if this is your view.
Amagansett, New York. July 2020