Homebody

Despite being isolated because of the pandemic, I find that more and more, I look forward to the days when I don’t have to go out and do anything. We try to share various responsibilities, among them they days we take the girls to school and pick them I. Kelly gets Monday and Wednesdays and every other Friday. I get Tuesdays, Thursdays, the Friday’s that Kelly doesn’t have. On Sunday evenings, Tuesday evenings, and every other Thursday evening, there is a moment when I am grateful that I don’t have to head out the door first thing the next morning.

I’m writing this on a Wednesday evening, which means I am less grateful about tomorrow morning, than I would have been yesterday evening.

We’ve had a lot threats of snow so far this winter. When the weather people threaten snow, I am reminded of parents who threaten their kids with consequences if they don’t behave–and then never follow through on those threats. We’ve ended up with maybe 5 inches of snow so far this year–which is five inches more than all of last year. When the threat of snow is in the air, we head to the stores early to stock up. This morning I picked up extra firewood because there is a threat of snow for the next five days. Indeed, I saw some snow falling late this afternoon, but it was too warm out for it to stick.

I am especially delighted by the threat of snow on a Monday or Wednesday evening because it means I may be off the hook for school drop-off and pickup duty the next morning. More often than not, I end up feeling like Charlie Brown after Lucy pulls the football away as I try to kick it.

If you ever wonder how many procrastinators there are in the world, you need look no further than a grocery store the night before a snow storm. The store is filled with all the people who waited until the last minute to stock up on whatever they need to weather the storm. Do the grocery stores and the weather people have some kind of side deal, I wonder? Has anyone ever investigated this?

These days, I feel much more relaxed when I know I don’t have to go anywhere. Even Kelly, who likes being out and about, has recently commented on how being at home all the time has grown on her, and especially on cold, blustery days, she is glad when she doesn’t have to leave the house.

“Leaving the house” is a loosely-defined term. I don’t count running to 7-Eleven for a newspaper first thing in the morning “leaving the house.” Sure, I could have the paper delivered, but I’ve found that when I have the paper delivered, it accumulates unread. But when I seek it out each day (or most days, anyway), I read it and recycle it the same day.

(I generally don’t bother with the paper on Saturdays. The Saturday Washington Post is called the “Early Sunday edition.” You get the front page and metro sections, but all of the other sections are the same sections you will get in the Sunday paper, meaning you are essentially paying for the same newspaper twice. And since the news is never particularly interesting on Saturdays, I just catch up on Sundays.)

For a while, activities for the kids were curtailed, but they are picking up again. The Little Man just finished a flag football season, and just started a basketball season. For the former, I didn’t need to leave the house. Kelly took him to his games, and as they limited spectators due to COVID, both of us going would have required us to take the girls, and pushed us over the allotment. The Little Miss has gymnastics on Wednesday evenings, but I get out that by (a) giving the Littlest Miss a bath during that time, and (b) making dinner.

Oxford defines a homebody as “a person who likes to stay home, especially one who is perceived as unadventurous.” I don’t think of myself as unadventurous. I think of myself as worn-out. I prefer Merriam-Webster’s definition: “one whose life centers on the home.” Merriam keeps it simple; there is no stigma of dullness.

Sometimes I will look ahead on the calendar just to reassure myself that there is nowhere to go for a while. I can remember a time, a year ago or so, when it seemed that there were multiple daily activities every single day of the week. It wore me down, and I remember thinking how nice it would be to have a month or so where we could stand down. I’d say “be careful what you wish for” except that I am enjoying being a homebody.

About Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.

Comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.