Hints for the home-bound

Ghost town... An empty Suva City Sunday, April 25, 2021. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

We of your so-called civilised world who have already undergone community isolating and lockdown situations during the past year or so, thought to pass on a few tips to help you pass the time until the uncivilised Covid virus loosens its grip.

We understand that there has already been a certain amount of panic buying, but try to keep it under control.

No nasty trick such as sticking pins in the corners of your shopping bag in an effort to make people move aside.

Perhaps the following list will be more helpful.

  • 1. Wine – get lots of it. It does come in cartons and I don’t mean the Chateau Cardboard beloved of impoverished students. You can get boxes that will easily carry a dozen bottles. Some people prefer beer, they can get their own and not regard perfectly decent, if cheap, wine as a substitute. Nor should you waste it on the dog, it isn’t funny, she doesn’t like it much and thank goodness is at least not a dipsomaniac, although there are a lot of other problems associated with sharing a lock-down situation with a depressed animal.
  • 2. Puzzles are recommended as a way to keep the home-bound occupied in a non-violent way. You can only do so much harm with a funny shaped piece of cardboard, it’s not like table tennis where you can try to brain an opponent with a plastic ball or at worst, assault with a small, seemingly non-dangerous bat. Perhaps keep the games that require sports equipment away from the under the 50s. Older opponents are usually too puffed out to be aggressive.
  • 3. If you do choose jigsaw puzzles, make sure you confine the players to a well-defined area, preferably an empty locked room, so that there can be no unpleasant scenes and threatened violence if a piece goes missing. Make shoe sole inspection a condition of leaving the room – many a piece has walked away with an opponent.
  • 4. Monopoly is probably an acceptable pastime for relatively calm people. But not any of those games derived from violent fantasy killing electronic series. And really, try not to get the games that are called names such as ‘Plague’ and ‘Pandemic’. I have seen players reduced to tears before their pieces even leave the starting square.
  • 5. Exercise is, of course, important. Always walk to the bottle shop.
  • 6. Stock up on snacks of the sort that won’t involve dreary domestic activity such as cooking. Chocolate is always popular. Then there are the almost as popular sweet biscuits, especially chocolate covered ones. A note of warning here: try to limit the amount eaten in a single sitting. Small children are not the only ones who throw up after a biccie party. Vet warning: chocolate is death for dogs so don’t give her any (even though she has proven time and again that stolen chocolate is not bad for her health).
  • 7. Peanut butter sandwiches are scientifically proven to be a fairly well balanced, more or less nutritious, main course for dinner. For dessert you can make fairy bread, which is basically the same as peanut butter sarnies, but without the peanut butter and with hundreds and thousands sprinkled on top. Adults may pretend to disdain them but you should see how leftovers disappear after a five-year-old’s party.
  • 8. Actually, virtual birthday parties are a really good way to keep children entertained. You can sneak some pictures of seriously nutritious food into the video as well as cupcakes. Children and cats love this activity.
  • 9. Take as much exercise as possible, eg walking back to the shops if you forgot the potato crisps and bongos.
  • 10. Acquire a mental health television as early as possible or affordable. We got ours in the first panic buying when other people were concentrating on food. It is huge; it fills the living room window and the characters appear to be almost life-sized. We thought it would entertain us on the gloomy days. I don’t think  ‘Predator’ is the sort of thing conducive to joy
    and happiness but go with the flow. Mostly the giant TV terrifies us, especially if we watch the news. At least it makes us grateful for being where we are. Also, we can always switch to ABC comedies that really are funny, if you don’t try to watch 27 episodes in one sitting.
  • 11. It is important to occasionally watch the local news. You absolutely don’t want to miss any  changes in the isolation/lockdown situation and be sitting there in your living room on your lonesome; like those poor soldiers who lived years hiding in the Pacific island jungles because they never received the information  that World War II was over.
  • 12. Try to share your lockdown with a companionable beast. A dog with diagnosed depression is not necessarily a good choice. Watching a portrait of misery peering at you from a dog bed made comfy with your own fluffy bedcover doesn’t cheer either of you. There are, however, anxiety drugs available; possibly you can share them.
  • 13. Keep up your exercise. Pop back to the shops for more snacks when necessary and remember that the freezer is your friend. It will hold not only icecream, but packets of chocolate-coated ice lollies on sticks and raspberry iceblocks. You
    could even probably stock up on pre-cooked frozen meals.
  • 14. Decide, as an exercise in democracy, when to start Happy Hour – 3.30pm or 5.30pm. You can make this a daily activity.
  • 15. Don’t forget the wine, get more if necessary.
  • 16. On a severely practical level, those people who panic-bought heaps of toilet paper were not wrong. You would be surprised how much TP a locked in household can use up. Mind you, if so many people hadn’t panic-bought
    so much toilet paper there would probably have been quite enough to go around.
  • 17. The really important things are to listen to Dr Fong, follow the health advice, stay away from others, wear a mask in the street and any enclosed space, eg shop, liquor store; sanitise your hands and anything brought in from outside.
  • 18. Did I mention making sure you have enough wine?

Mostly just do your sensible best to stay safe, be polite and grateful to our frontline health workers and survive.

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