Mike Uncorked: The Quarantine Diaries
By Mike Butler
We are living in very weird times. I am pretty optimistic, but I also work in retail and have the confused joy of listening to the opinions, tidbits, anecdotes and quandaries of my customers and it’s been fairly tough to stay at my usual sunshiney-rainbowy self, but I’m managing—I’ve got to! Being an ear to the process of this virus has been eye-opening to say the least, and now that I am home from work until further notice, in a space that I did not spend a lot of time in before. It’s challenging but fun. With theatre, my trip to Mexico, and a lot of socializing cancelled, I’ve decided to dive into my hobbies: those things that got ignored or pushed aside when overworking myself and doing too much theatre (which I love) took over. Now that I have the time (and so do you!) let’s chat about what to do, what we’ve been missing, and what’s new and exciting during these very weird times. Here’s my Quarantine Diary.
I’m artsy! I know, that comes as a big shock to a lot of you. This virus has really hit the arts community hard, with so many closures of museums, theatres, bookstores and so much more. No films, no plays, no musicals, and no trips to pick up the latest bestsellers. However, we live in a tech-heavy world where even this virus won’t stop us. I’m poring through my piles of books at home, I’m catching up on movies (both online and from my shelves), and I’ve already found ways to conference call with my theatre folks so we can read plays, chat theatre, and make a game plan for when this whole thing blows over. You can find plays, books, and music online at hundreds of different websites. I have Netflix and Amazon Prime and they’re coming in handy. Let me just say, it’s going to be a potentially busy autumn for all of us theatre folks!
Books: I am diving headfirst into my Mary Higgins Clark and Agatha Christie collections! There’s no better time than this to start and finish a mystery in a day. These two incredible authors know how to keep you guessing until the end.
Movies and Television: Nothing says Quarantine Fun like a trip through the hits of the ‘80s. I suggest series like Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, Police Academy, and the films of John Hughes. Add in the Naked Gun series for fun, as well, as the classics from actors like Chevy Chase (Fletch), Dan Akyroyd (The Great Outdoors), Tom Hanks (Splash), and my favourite ‘80s film, Airplane! Movie choices are easy for a time like this, and you can go online to find lists of the top 100 films, and get on board with the flicks you’ve missed.
And what have I pulled from my shelves for binge watching? Lots of TV shows! Episodic shows and mini-series are my oxygen during a time like this and I highly suggest something British as they always get it right. Check out The Crown, Broadchurch, Darling Buds of May, As Time Goes By, or Elizabeth R! How about a BBC Jane Austen flick? How about Are You Being Served? Black Adder? Absolutely Fabulous? And the list goes on. Let the Brits entertain you!
Music: A friend of mine gave me the 20 Albums in 20 Days Facebook challenge, wherein you select 20 albums that had significance in your life and post the album cover and a blurb over the 20 days. This has been so much fun to do. The response has been great, and if you’re not into the posting aspect, you can still select 20 albums and listen to them each day. I suggest you journal your thoughts and feelings and reminiscences about those albums; it’s a fun activity and you’ll find yourself laughing, smiling, and possibly a little teary-eyed. My day three album inspired me to call three of my friends whom I haven’t spoken to in a while and it made such a difference to my mood during this time.
Projects: puzzles, crossword books, and dismantling old photo albums to store pictures in photo boxes. If you I can’t go to Mexico, then a trip down memory lane will have to suffice. As well as going through closets and nooks and crannies to get rid of the stuff that’s been cluttering my cabinets and storage areas for the three years I’ve been in my new place. Seize the day folks and yes, lounging on the couch is great but be productive too.
Go for a nice walk, or find a cozy spot and write down your thoughts about this whole experience. Keeping a journal or memory of this often scary- weird time will be a reminder of how you embraced the moment and learned to make the most of your time. We got this everyone! Stay safe!