Safer at Home, Stronger at Home

Well folks, here we are seven weeks into what started out as social distancing, then became shelter in place, and is now safer at home. 

Who thinks of the names? “Shelter in place” I get. It’s a common term you hear during tornado warnings and other act-of-God events. But “safer at home”? Sure. We are. But it feels contrived like a hollow, saccharinely optimistic placation. 

But what would be better? Here are a few things that popped into my mind.

  1. “Stuck at home” comes to mind, but it doesn’t have the PR warm and fuzzies.
  2. “Stranded in place” is too desert island. We can go out…if we dare.
  3. “Shaming in place” could apply to everyone who abides by the rules but takes to social media to publicly condemn those who don’t. 
  4. “Stupid in public” might be for those who eschew wearing masks, observing six-feet of distance, or refusing to cover their coughs and sneezes because of their “constitutional rights” or whatever excuse they can dream up to endanger others.
  5. “Stinky at home” is for the folks who ran out of toilet paper.
  6. “Snacking in place” is for people like me who stocked up on all the Itos — Doritos, Fritos, Cheetos…
  7. “Sulking in place” is for the little children who can’t play with their friends, go to parties, or finish their sports seasons.
  8. “Snuggling at home” is for the newlyweds and newly cohabitating, but that’s probably every day for them. 
  9. “Sanctity in place” describes those attending virtual church services from home…and then telling everyone on social media that they attended virtual church services from home.
  10. “Support at home” is for those women who still strap on a bra every day even though they haven’t left the house in nearly two months.
  11. “Styling in place” is for all the home beauticians forced to cut and color their own hair or that of their family members.
  12. “Stronger in place” which is what we’ll all be on a number of levels — mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and (hopefully) physically — once this thing is ever sort of, mostly, kind of over with. 

Here is what I’m thankful for this week:

I’m thankful for my online creative nonfiction writing class that starts this coming Tuesday,  May 5, 2020. The last time I taught this class I was taken a little off guard by how powerful and intimate the student’s stories were. Now I’m excited to get to know a new group of students and hear their stories. You can still sign up through UAB’s ArtPlay if you want to join in the fun. You don’t have to be “a writer” and you don’t have to plumb the depths of your soul for material unless you just want to. And because it’s all online, you don’t even have to be in Birmingham. All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and the desire to put words to your life’s experiences and get them down on paper. I even have writing prompts to get you started. Find out all the info here.

I’m notorious for leaving one key ingredient out of a recipe. I’ve left the eggs out of cakes, neglected all manner of leveners and spices, and even left the okra out of gumbo once! This week, I left the oatmeal out of a batch of oatmeal cookies. I’m thankful, however, that oatmeal cookies taste pretty darn good even without the oatmeal. How can anything that mainly consists of butter and sugar be bad?

This is what you get when you leave the oatmeal out of oatmeal cookies. In case you’re wondering what the lumps are, I did remember the raisins.

I’m thankful that I stumped my toe so hard I can barely walk on it. Now I’m not tempted to go outside even though the weather is beautiful, because now it’s hot and I don’t like to be sweaty. Before The Great Toe Stumping of 2020, I felt compelled to go outside and exercise a couple of times a day. There was no excuse not to — the temperature was perfect, the sun was shining, and I had time on my hands. I also live in an imminently walkable neighborhood, and I just got a new pair of tennis shoes. Physical activity was inevitable. But thanks to my inclination toward being incredibly clumsy and uncoordinated, now I can stay indoors and watch all the other walkers and runners out of my window while I eat my Itos and my failed cookies and practice the grown-up version of sulking in place. At least I’m not sweaty. 

And I’m thankful for YOU for reading my online musings during all this. I look forward to writing these weekly posts, and I appreciate your indulgence in reading them. Until next week, stay safe, stay home, and be “stronger in place.” 

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