”No hay mal que por bien no venga” roughly translates to every cloud has a silver lining, words that may strike many as somewhat hollow during this COVID-19 pandemic. But, as with so many aspects of life, where there is a negative, a positive has to exist. Just look at how the virus brings out the very worst in people — panic buying, politicians falling over themselves to look foolish — and how it also brings out the very best– authors at DCT furiously writing interesting articles just for you.
Make The Most Of Self-Isolation
For the last ten days, I’ve practically locked myself away in the house for another reason– repainting the interior, a job that was well overdue and one that I had been avoiding for donkey’s years. Not that I don’t enjoy painting, but simply because of all the mess and general turmoil it causes. But, once started, it’s oddly cathartic and definitely very rewarding when one looks at the gleaming results. But we’re not here to discuss painting and decorating because the question is, what to do if you’re forced to stay at home for fourteen days or longer? If you work from home anyway, this would probably not be a huge issue, aside from the fact that your freedom to wander out when you like may have been curbed drastically.
Most of us have a computer of some description at home, probably a smart TV and more than likely a mobile phone. But what to do when you get tired of staring at that damn screen? Perhaps you could look around the house and remind yourself of all those jobs you promised to get finished last year? No, strike that. If you’re married you’ll be reminded in no uncertain terms of all those shelves you swore you’d put up before Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then Easter, hoping that she’d maybe forgotten? No such luck. Women have memories more robust than the most powerful supercomputer ever built, so there’s no escape and don’t fool yourself into thinking otherwise.
Learn A New Skill
If your other half gives you a break for five minutes, why not brush up on your computer skills by scrolling through the thousands of useful How-To articles here at DCT? Then you could clear out all the crapulous data that’s accumulated on your PC over the years and let’s face it, there’s going to be a lot of it and you’re going to feel a huge sense of relief at having decluttered your beloved machine. You could maybe start by uninstalling useless programs that you never use, but thought were a good idea at the time. Wrong! Or maybe you’d like to consider formatting your hard drive and installing Windows 10 from scratch and then marvel at the virgin operating system that greets you at boot up. Mac users, of course, should look away now because you’re not allowed to install operating systems in any shape or form.
Again, this doesn’t apply to Mac users, but if you have a desktop PC you may need to remind yourself of when you last removed the side cover. If it’s been a while, you may need to mask up (if you haven’t already, for obvious reasons) and blow out all that crap that lurks under the covers. Believe me, your PC will thank you for that ten-minute job, but your wife probably won’t if you don’t take adequate precautions for collateral damage. If you’re a Mac user, you can give your device a vigorous shine up with a duster and wax polish and then sit back and admire its beautiful lines, reminding yourself how lucky you are to be the owner of such useless sleekness.
Become an author
Come on now. Everyone has a book inside them and all it takes is a blank page and a keyboard. Just type out the first words that enter your head and don’t stop until the well runs dry. If you’re lucky this could go on for hours, days or even weeks and believe me, it doesn’t matter one jot what you’ve written until you sit back and read it all. You may hit a seam of gold, there may be nuggets or seeds of an idea that may not have occurred to you otherwise — a crazy plot with outlandish characters for example — but at least you’ll have some raw material and that, as they say, is a start. This article is a prime example — I’m not even thinking as I write these words — they just flow from my keyboard as if I’m being controlled by an alien force. But don’t forget the editing, which is much like that scene from Ghost (without the sexy bits) and you’ll end up with a wobbly pile of mush that only needs a little TLC.
Be the odd-job man you always wanted to be
Or odd-job woman if you like, it doesn’t really matter. Take a casual tour of your house and imagine that you’re going to sell it to an oil magnate and then realise that you’d probably get thousands more if you just took care of all those little details. Like that hole in the bathroom ceiling, those streaks running down the living room walls where the rain came in during that particularly nasty storm last summer, or those cans of beer that mysteriously exploded during the ball game and imagine yourself as a potential buyer. Believe me, from that point of view, the urge to throw on the overalls is irresistible and before you know it you’ll be up and down the step ladder you’ve never even used, faster than a ferret up a drainpipe. Naturally, your wife will swoon over your new tool belt (make sure to populate it with actual tools) as you move around the house with a real sense of purpose. But don’t be fooled– you will actually have to use some or maybe all of those tools. If you don’t know how to use them, may I suggest that you turn to YouTube for some useful guidance? And one more thing– this is the perfect way to score some very useful points which you can then store away for the future, much in the same way that your wife is capable of utilising her supercomputer memory capability to remind you of your life before you were even a spermatozoon. You know it makes sense.
Ignore the neighbours
You know that nosy neighbour who loves nothing more than to poke his nose over the fence saying you don’t want to do it like that, you want to do it like this, and then proceeds to bore you until way past beer time on how you should cut the grass? Now would be the perfect excuse to simply shun those irritating types because you have the perfect excuse as you maintain a distance of at least four metres (or yards) away from them. You can, of course, invent the required safe distance because you too are a victim of misinformation and by wearing a safety mask, you have the perfect excuse of not actually uttering a word. Then there’s the added advantage of nosy neighbour not being allowed onto the street due to SWAT teams lurking on every corner and drones monitoring their every move. On the other hand, some of your neighbours may be friendlies or indeed, they may be elderly, in which case you may wish to put your new-found skills to good use and invent some community games that don’t involve actual physical contact, such as ping pong over the garden fence, paintball games from upstairs windows or even target practice on their garden gnomes (nosy neighbours always have garden gnomes). The possibilities are only limited by your imagination which will become more fertile as your exile continues, believe me.
I hope to add to this tome as day follows night and the media scares us all to early graves, so please stay tuned.