I’ve been receiving emails from readers about how they’ve not only been dealing with the Covid-19 quarantine but have been thriving. I’m apparently not among the “get things done” type but rather am more like Fran Leibowitz, famed author and sardonic social commentator. Lebowitz, however, refers to herself as a sloth and “the laziest person on the planet. (Fran hasn’t met me.)

One of my readers, Nancy, has used the time at home to paint her entire apartment which hasn’t been painted in 23 years. I’m not using her real name because she was supposed to get permission from her landlord who, by law, should have done the painting a long time ago.

So Nancy took matters (brushes, rollers and paint) into her own hands and now feels she has a new lease on life. Take that Covid-19! Maybe only in Santa Monica does a tenant of 25-years have to use her own money and labor to paint her apartment and do it covertly.

Then there’s Mike in Hawaii, who’s 72, a surfer and fitness freak. He’s decided to use the time afforded by Covid-19 to get in even better shape and is up to 850 crunches a day. By the time the virus finally disappears, Mike might be up to 1000 daily. (I’d be tired just counting.)

What have I done that’s productive during the quarantine? I’ll quote President “The Buck Stops Elsewhere” Trump at his daily “rewriting history” press briefings. When asked by Paula Reid, a terrific and persistent CBS reporter “What did you do in the entire month of February to prevent the spread of Covid-19?” After lashing out at her, Trump snapped, “A lot!” (You could see his orange nose growing from his orange bulbous face.)

Other than washing my hands every half-hour, or so it seems, as for my accomplishments during this period, I’ve done “a lot.” Actually I’ve accomplished two “projects.” (Though neither is probably worthy of the term “project,”)

I tackled cleaning up my balcony which I love because of my wonderful ocean view. I have a tall chair in which I sit and drink a glass (or two) of wine watching the sun slowly set into the ocean. The rest of my balcony, however, resembled a combination outdoor broom closet and storage locker.

My stomach is on the flabby side (at least compared to Mike) and my apartment could use new paint but my balcony is now adorned with plants I had neglected and are now thriving. I even put up a hummingbird feeder that was buried under a pile of assorted junk, so I’m getting brief but delightful visits from neighborhood hummingbirds. (Who seem to keep their social distance.)

Back to my productive readers, including amateur historian Richard Orton, whom I once dubbed in a column “Ocean Park’s Walking Wikipedia.” Like clockwork, on the first of every month, Richard emails his followers an entertaining and informative newsletter filled with historic stories of our neighborhood and others nearby.

But in the past six weeks he’s dashed off an “Extra, extra, read all about it” version about the Spanish Flu and finished newsletters up to July! (As one who procrastinates six hours to every hour of writing, I view Richard’s prolific missives as I do Mike’s abs, enviously.)

Two more readers to report on and then my personal project #2. Joy is using the shelter in place time to communicate with her Prayer and Blessing support groups from the University of Santa Monica Spiritual Psychology program. She also had a wonderful virtual Passover with her family. (Which makes me wonder if it’s possible to send Matzo as an attachment.)

Michele has taken up the worthy cause organized by Marcy Winograd in support of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for RN’s at UCLA-Santa Monica Hospital. She participated in a successful car rally in front of the hospital which drew a lot of important attention.

This brings me to my slightly embarrassing project #2. Keep in mind there was a time when I worked for the U.S. Forest Service, fought a few fires and drove a 2 ½ ton truck. And now I reveal project #2 was straightening out my Tupperware drawers.

Apparently, over the years there’s been a mysterious disappearance of tops and bottoms to the point of considerable frustration in trying to put away leftovers. Well, I finally bit the bullet, got rid of mismatched items and have a collection of perfectly functioning Tupperware that I’m somewhat proud of. (Maybe “proud” isn’t the right word but there is some bizarre satisfaction.)

In closing, readers of this column know of my love for dogs. But no more than now. During the quarantine, as I prepare to go outside, I find myself getting very excited. Put it this way, if I had a tail, it’d be wagging.

To sign up for Richard’s monthly newsletter, email Laxlon@aol.com. Jack is at: facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and jackdailypress@aol.com

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  1. I make you look like a whirling dervish (the energetic kind, not the Islamic kind). Here in the old folks’ home, I spend my days picking up my tiny flakes of dry skin from the floor. When not working up sweat doing that, I take a slow (literally) walk down the corridor waving at my elderly fellow residents in the hope it’ll make them happy. Who knows what dementia patients feel? At least the place is clean…occasionally.

    Sweden is known for its lackadaisical style, and that’s generally true. Unfortunately, they are also looking out for everybody’s welfare. That’s why I’m here. I usually refer to Sweden as the “nanny” state. At least I’ll be taken care of until I die…but I keep my little room clean. Oh, and I tell others what I think of the orange egotist in the Oval Office.

  2. Jack, do you keep the lids and bodies of your tupperware separate? If so, that is your problem. You many have a nice neat tupperware cupboard now just after cleaning, but take if from me, in a month you would never know you so diligently organized that offending cupboard. Instead, try putting the lids ON the bodies and store them like that. I said “no to nesting” a couple years ago and never went back. You won’t even notice the little extra space it takes up, and it saves a whole lot of time.

    It sounds like you are staying safe and sound with your plants, wine on the balcony and your ocean view. Keep happy writing and dont go too crazy. It could be worse….this MAY have happened BEFORE the internet.

  3. Another column that is both light-hearted, thoughtful and relevant to the times! You have a such a talent for combining those elements. I look forward to these very week. Is that pic of you? I don’t think so as I hear very few people have actually met you, even those locally…

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