Things to do in quarantine that will make you more excited than a freshman girl dancing to Mr. Brightside at shooters

Ali Rothberg​
An appeal to our childhood creativity in this apparently static time

It’s no secret that many of us have reached the point in this pandemic where we’re “over it.” The emotional drain of social isolation is severe, especially given the limited potential pastimes to be explored in the confines of one's childhood bedroom. That being said, as we lose our motivation to personally contribute to—or just not significantly undermine—bettering public health circumstances, I’d venture a guess that deep down we all know that covid is continuing to feed on our ignorance and self-interest. And so, as we establish a healthier, more intentional, and safer “new normal,” I’m here to tell you that quite frankly you really have no excuse to be bored while staying isolated. I don’t mean to be rude. Trust me, I’ve complained about quarantine as much as an elementary schooler with a full bladder on a long car ride. It’s valid and expected to be uncomfortable and restless. But for me, this global pandemic reminded me of the beauty of the #diy trends that my middle school self embraced a little too intensely. By now, whipped coffee may have just left you with a caffeine headache, tie-dye with a shortage of white clothes, banana bread with a few extra pounds, and Tiger King with some genuine confusion and contempt for the world. So, I’ve decided to compile my own list of 5 fun, quirky, contactless, and most definitely ~new~ quarantine activities at which you can test your skills. Please proceed within reason:

  1. Start an initiative to collect all the hair of girls who cut their own bangs in quarantine. Drive around and pick up hair scraps and then turn them into a cozy blanket! Given the stark increase in hair dying episodes, it will likely be colorful. Perfect for fort making, movie marathons, etc.

  2. Cut open your little sister’s teddy bears and sacrifice them to the pagan gods. Collect her tears when she cries and make some trendy fruit infused water from them to post on your Instagram story. Maybe you’ll start a health account from it; the possibilities are endless.

  3. Disconnect each door in your house from its frame. Line up your whole collection and put a rope across the top (I assume you have one handy, if not improvise. Tie together socks, use your brother's colon, I don't care). Hang on the sides and act out the iconic door scene from Monsters Inc in a Mike, Sully, or Boo costume. If you don’t have these handy, borrow your neighbors baby to be Boo (please wear a mask for this part), steal a shirt from a friend who has been into tie-dying (we know you have one) for Sully, and gauge out the eye of a willing participant and give it to your stand-in Mike. When you’ve perfected and recorded the scene, so that it varies only unnoticeably from the original, paint all the doors vomit green and leave them sitting in the doorways unattached... you’ll spice things up. 

  4. Want a new exercise routine with gyms closed? I’ve got the perfect regimen for you. You’ll need a curly haired dog (approximately 25 pounds +/-), a nearby house’s drain pipe, a large stretch of muddy land near an airport, and a really big Sharpie and a really tiny sharpie. Adapt with substitutions as necessary.

    1. Pick up the dog. Hold in Simba pose for 5 seconds, sumo squatting on the way down (15 reps, 3 sets). End with an isometric Simba hold for 20 seconds.

    2. Switch out the dog for the really tiny Sharpie and locate the drain pipe. Make sure the dog won’t run away. Then climb the drain pipe with only your legs. With your arms, cycle through the Macarena. Extra points if someone plays the song and you can stay on the beat. When you reach the top, sign your name on the roof and leave a little inspirational note for the next climber, because who knows how far this will spread? Slide down and feel so, so cool.

    3. Enter the muddy land. Start forward rolling. Do so rapidly until you’ve gained momentum to keep going without force. Try to roll in the shape of a word, and see if airplane passengers flying overhead contact you having guessed your word of choice.

    4. Find flat ground. Pick up your really big Sharpie. Run around in a circle while touching the Sharpie to the ground. Stand back and examine your work. If the closest geometric classification that comes to mind is a circle, you’re done. If not, keep trying until it is. 

    

Repeat until tired, or until neighbors express concern. Should burn calories quickly.

  1. This one requires other participants so make sure to stay distanced. If you’ve tried out all the fun recipes you tagged in the beginning of quarantine, I’ve got you covered. Empty out any food cabinets in your house. Find whatever is farthest back and/or most eccentric, and put it to the side. If there’s nothing exciting, ask neighbors and friends to pitch in with some ingredients. After clearing out your kitchen and making a drive around town, bring ingredients to the biggest pot you own, a bucket, a bathtub, anything with a large capacity. Mix together ingredients, preferably blindfolded, otherwise with eyes closed. Take a cup’s worth of the mixture and put it on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees fahrenheit or until smoke is too significant to be neglected, whichever happens first. Repeat until out of mixture. Wash pot, bucket, or bathtub until somewhat normal in appearance. Package new creations in opaque wrapping and tie with ribbon. With no explanation, distribute goods to friends and family around the neighborhood with a surprise ding-dong ditch, and mail to friends globally. Have everyone guess what’s in it. Keep a tally and give extra treats to the person with the most precise taste buds. Pets are encouraged to participate. 

 

While you may be questioning my sanity, I do mean, 100% seriously, that there’s no shortage of things you can do. That sounds incredibly vague and probably absurd and I mean it in the most open ended way. There was a time when a few extra hours meant another imaginary trip to the moon or back in time, a whimsical sculpture or a vibrant painting; time used to not just be an opportunity, but a recipe for creativity. So take your time to wallow, to think and to relax. But also take your time to create and to do, in your own way. For me, the global pandemic reminded me of what it was like to plug in my sewing machine and dive back into my bin of fabrics, to cover notebook pages with scribbles and coat canvases in acrylic. I’m not saying my form of escapism will work for everyone, or that painting a landscape is gonna suddenly make circumstances completely manageable, and I’m not advocating for internal and manual engagement at the expense of larger external engagement. Stay connected and stay informed, but also make something. Start a “project” or an “activity” and I mean that just as your 3rd grade teacher did. All this to say, there’s a way to stay safe and still be immersed, and even excited.