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Compliance, exercise, drinking: Investigating the 12 stages of quarantine

It turns out that not leaving your house or changing your pants for six weeks can lead to some real peaks and valleys...

A couple walked in Boston during the coronavirus pandemic.
A couple walked in Boston during the coronavirus pandemic.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

1. Proud compliance: We’re all in this together, and I shall do my part. Sure, I lost a wrestling match with an 87-year-old lady for the last pack of toilet paper at Market Basket, but there are plenty of leaves in the yard. I can shelter in place for months!

2. Zooming: OMG, have you guys tried one of these group video chats? It’s like the best thing ever. I’m seeing people I haven’t spoken to in years. This quarantine may turn out to be the best thing to ever happen to my social life.

3. Exercising: I’m totally gonna use all this free time to get into the best shape of my life. By the time this is all over, I’m going to be walking through the center of town with my shirt off and the moms are going to be crashing their minivans to get a look. I just did 100 push-ups. Not in a row. Or even on the same day, but I found an online exercise program that promises I can have a six-pack in just six days for only $795, plus tax. When do those Trump checks get here?

4. Grocery delivery: After staying up until 3 a.m. and constantly refreshing my computer like I was buying concert tickets, I was finally able to get a slot for a grocery delivery. They were out of most everything, but I was able to score four Honeycrisp apples and half of an Ellio’s frozen pizza. I’ll have to look up a recipe.

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5. Home improvement projects: Remember that time like four years ago when I took the doorbell off because I was going to paint the trim, and then never put it back on? If you answered ‘No’ to that question, then you are not my wife. But now that no one is coming to visit ever again, I’m going to put that doorbell back on, then tackle that weird soft spot in the deck, and finally deal with the granddaddy of them all: the clutter in the basement.

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6. Showering: OMG, have you guys tried showering? It’s like the best thing ever.

7. Mask making: So the CDC announced that everyone should wear a mask unless they’re the president or the vice president, so I spent an entire day transforming an old “Cowboy Up” T-shirt into a piece of PPE that will definitely protect me from the worst pandemic in a century.

8. Finger pointing: We went for a walk on a trail near our house that we’d never actually been on before, but there were all these out-of-towners there. That just seems wrong. Plus, one of them yelled at us for not wearing masks. Um, I shouldn’t have to wear a mask on my own trail. Der.

9. Spying on your neighbors: There’s a new family across the street and I swear the dad is up to no good. I haven’t seen him do a single Zoom call or push-up through my binoculars. Plus, he doesn’t seem to wear sweatpants. Something’s up with this dude, and I’m going to figure it out.

10. Drinking: OMG, have you guys tried wine? I’ve always been a light beer guy, but I decided I’d use this quarantine to transition to vino because it’s more sophisticated or something. So I put on my homemade mask and waited in line for two hours outside a Trader Joe’s in Peabody to buy an entire case of Charles Shaw. It feels like I’m growing up and giving up at the same time. I even ordered a cardigan that matches my sweatpants. Amazon says it should be here by August.

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11. Just give it to me already: I was in the middle of my 14th Zoom reunion of the night, staring at the screen and wishing I hadn’t given myself a haircut, when someone I apparently went to driver’s ed with in 1992 started talking about how they’d already had the coronavirus. Maybe it was because he was using that humblebraggy tone of those people who read the “Game of Thrones” books. Maybe it was the third bottle of Two-Buck Chuck. Maybe it was the chafing from the leaves. But something inside of me snapped and I went outside in my sweatpants and started screaming at the universe to make it stop.

12. Reading the newspaper: OMG, have you guys looked at the news? It’s like the worst thing ever. I definitely do not want the coronavirus. Time to get my act together, stop drinking so much cheap wine, and start working on my six-pack. It’s only 13 months until beach season.


Billy Baker can be reached at billy.baker@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @billy_baker.