It’s Always Noon

We wake these days at whatever time daylight disrupts our slumber. On my days I stagger to the kitchen to initiate the daily caffeine dosing ritual, check to see if I’m wearing shorts then look both ways before venturing to the curb to retrieve our paper in the hope of avoiding cheerful human interaction with dog-walking neighbors. Then it’s back into bed with the paper and our morning drug of choice. Here we linger amusing ourselves with a seemingly perpetual barrage of bad news until overcome by the unsettling cognizance that any further delay and it will soon be too hot outside to run. So we enjoy a run in 96% humidity, a dip in the pool, a few household chores, the trashing of about three dozen e-mails and whoa!!!…it’s noon already. Life is good but going fast.

And so it goes. Having lost all sense of time it slowly occurred to me that I have neglected you for too long. Now is perhaps the moment for the phoenix to rise again, dust off the feathers and attempt to inject just a modicum of humor into the lives of any of you growing weary of the somber daily rants. This may not be brief but you weren’t going anywhere so make yourself comfortable, grab your drug of choice, any nourishment you may need and try to stay with me until your computer runs out of charge or as the media would suggest we encounter armageddon or at the very least ecological apocalypse.

So my friends, trusting that you don’t live underground in Antarctica, it’s not unlikely that you’ve all heard something about this Covid -19 thing that’s going around. It was a problem in New York for a while so the powers that be in “The Sunshine State” enforced a 14 day quarantine on New Yorkers who wanted to come play on our beaches – which were at the time…….. closed. Well now that the beaches are open and my fellow Floridians are showing the world how to spread the virus with unprecedented rapidity, I hear that New York has turned the tables on us and will no longer be welcoming our sun scarred carcasses. This is unfortunate. Although I am better suited than most of the world to sheltering at home, my bride has always harbored a healthy titer of wanderlust and an almost supernatural aptitude for making airline reservations, traits now augmented by a powerful desire to visit distant grandchildren. Many reservations, involving the full spectrum of airlines, have been made, rescheduled, cancelled, remade, rescheduled and so on. With the symptoms of her restless brain syndrome now becoming palpable to all with whom she shares domicile (just 1), we began contemplating a therapeutic trip by car to our long cherished stomping grounds in the bucolic countryside of central New York. Our timing is not perfect.

So……….. to help solidify our travel plans we will award to the highest bidder amongst our friends, family, passing acquaintances or total strangers the pleasure of our company for 14 short days of quarantine, while waiting to travel freely in NY, during which time we may become seriously ill, most likely infect our hosts and consequently require that we extend our stay indefinitely. Before rushing to get your bids in, it will be helpful for you to know that in the quiet hours of social distancing we have developed a palate for finer wines so would like an inventory of your wine cellars before making our decision. We also sleep late and are always hungry, which probably explains the overuse injury suffered by our refrigerator door. Finally, we’re not much into helping with the dishes, laundry or vacuuming and don’t involve ourselves with taking out the garbage. In my experience as a guest in other people’s homes it’s good to be up front about these sticky points so that there are no surprises after our arrival. We will however clean up left-overs, if they’re good, and will let your dogs and cats out. I’m really done with pets now and think they belong outside enjoying their freedom.

Gosh, it’s almost noon again.

Remember the good old days when if anyone said “Who was that masked man?” we all knew who they were talking about? Boy, times have changed. Most of my boyhood heroes wore masks: The Lone Ranger, Zorro, Batman. There was also Sergeant Preston of The Royal Canadian Mounted Police – no mask but very high on the list of my favorite Halloween costumes, which is perhaps a topic for some other time. This finally lays bare the reason I chose a profession where I could wear a mask everyday for 40-some years. Admittedly the masks of Zorro and The Lone Ranger imparted a certain panache found lacking in a surgical mask; but unbeknown to most, their accouterments of disguise left them oft mistaken for raccoons, inflaming in them the desire to leave behind the initial – Z – or a silver bullet and say things like “Hi-Ho Silver.”

To escape further digression, I will steer the conversation back to the topic of wearing masks which, for me or other members of my profession, is no big deal. That is not to say that a lifetime of oxygen deprivation has not compromised and perhaps rerouted a few synapses involving critical neural pathways. Just ask my children. It has rendered me susceptible to randomly spouting unsolicited politically incorrectisms (neologism – not yet approved for Scrabble). With a single comment I can disrupt a gathering and offend those of multiple political persuasions. It’s a gift. For example, I might say “Our current social discourse is perhaps deteriorating to the extremes when we start talking about changing the name of ‘Lite Mayonnaise’.” This is no joke. Couldn’t we just leave mayonnaise alone?

This comment alone will start a firestorm of indignant debate leaving me to question the moral foundation upon which I stand resulting in countless worrisome hours of self-flagellation, an earlier than usual cocktail hour and many sleepless nights. I blame the mask. To calm myself I look out over the marsh and watch snowy egrets frolic in the grass. Now that’s my idea of winter! Hi – Ho Silver!

It’s almost noon somewhere!

Ok, since you asked : They told me a mask and gloves were enough to go to the supermarket. They lied, everyone else had clothes on! Ha!

Stay safe. Stay sane.

From the comfort of our covid bunker,



  1. tomc

    Yes Jim, we’ve become troglodytes, cave bound but for the occasional foray for sustenance. Masks are necessary but there is no joy to be found in attending functions or going out to dinner dressed as if we were under biological attack.

    This thing is giving many a taste though of what to expect in retirement.

    We will take you guys for five to six days, assuming your temperature reads normal at the rear doorway. And eviction isn’t easy now in New York so you’ll end up staying the full fourteen.

    As for chores, you are excused. Just had our son and family up to our safe house for two months and their idea of domestic chores consisted of letting me know when things needed tidying up.

  2. Loren

    Provided that you don’t mind bringing the dirty plates, utensils and glasses to the counter for their pre wash before Tom loads them into the dishwasher you are more than welcome to stay at Chez Colbert.
    The only caveat is that you byob.
    As you know it is like living in the time of prohibition much to my dismay.
    You could always text or email me the particulars of the wines you would like and I will be more than happy to buy them in Ithaca and serve the appropriate ones whether they be white, red or blush along with some of my expanded cooking repertoire.
    I do have the banana liquor that I bought in Amelia Island so I can recreate a much loved dessert, bananas foster.
    I am not quite sure when you will arrive in Ithaca (strawberry or blueberry picking time) but we will leave the lights on.
    Please do not wake up the dog!

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