Life’s a Beach by Shelley Murphy

By Shelley Murphy

As society struggles with ongoing social distancing and stay-at-home orders, I wrestle with becoming Bill Murray’s character in the movie Groundhog Day.

Like Murray’s character, I awake with a strange sense of déjà vu and feel like I’m living the same day over again.

Soon, I’ll resemble the Punxsutawney weatherman if I don’t start social distancing from my pantry and refrigerator.

Like most of the population, I’ve been housebound for weeks, and it’s wearisome.

Hoping to break my cycle of monotony, I decided to ditch a few of my day-to-day practices.

I quit reading my horoscope. It’s apparent I can’t foresee the unpredictable twists and turns of the day’s events.

Also, a couple of days ago, my horoscope read, “Isolating yourself certainly isn’t going to remedy the situation.” I doubt science and Dr. Fauci agree.

I’ve postponed flipping the pages of my monthly wall calendar; its square numbered boxes sit blank for the foreseeable future. And, I’m tired of its taunting pictures of sandy beaches I won’t visit anytime soon.

I stopped checking the stock market. Enough said.

I banned blow-drying my hair. It’s a much-needed respite for my ashen roots, which I’m also avoiding.

I gave up reading novels. Instead, I caved and joined my clan on the couch to binge-watch Netflix.

Craving change, I incorporated a few new rituals into my daily routine.

Instead of sipping my morning coffee while watching the informative and newsworthy Today Show, I now start my day with the sunnier and funnier The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

I suggested our family begin playing board games again. After exhuming the battered boxes shoved deep into closets, we gathered in the family room to play Monopoly.

Minutes into the hours-long game, I remembered why we shelved the board game when my boys were preteens.

I welcomed my older son’s invitation to join him on his morning walks. My son and his girlfriend arrived home about a month ago—for a one-week visit.

I realize my son’s offer is a byproduct of boredom and captivity, but these days I’ll take what I can get.

I’m learning new technology. Evenings, I sit at my computer and join Zoom Video Communication happy hours to reunite with friends. I tried to Zoom with my parents, but Bill Gates can’t remedy that conundrum.

I’m tackling home improvement projects previously put on the backburner. Yesterday, I considered ordering wallpaper, but quickly realized wallpapering my bathroom is like cutting my hair—it’s a job for practiced professionals.

My family of groundhogs and I continually search for creative ways to pass our time in quarantine. Recently, my older son transformed our backyard into a putting green using pool noodles, diving rings, and umbrellas for flagsticks.

But, I admit, some family members are slower to acclimate.

While admiring our new greens, my husband turned to me and said, “Let’s heat the pool this weekend.” Perplexed, I stared back at him and said, “What? Every day is the weekend.” Then I suggested he grab a golf club and cease clinging to the calendar.

I have, however, found one small silver lining in this terrible time: our dog has never been happier. She’s basking in her best friend’s attention all day, every day.

Unlike the rest of the world, her suffering will begin when the pandemic ends and my husband returns to work.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what the world will look like in the aftermath of this global pandemic. Life will transform; how can it not after the toll the virus inflicts on our worldwide physical and mental well-being?

We don’t know when the pandemic will end; its timeline is uncertain, with predictions ranging from weeks to months.

What we do know is tomorrow is a new day, despite the fact it’s likely to bring an overwhelming sense of déjà vu—and the prospect of becoming Bill Murray.

Shelley Murphy has lived in San Clemente with her husband for the past 21 years, where she raised her two sons. She’s a freelance writer and has been a contributor to the San Clemente Times, and sometimes Dana Point Times, since 2006. DP Times will be publishing a special series of columns, centered on COVID-19, written by Murphy.

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