Quarantine Out of Context

FeltBoardIt’s been 2 1/2 years since my last blog post and roughly six weeks since life as we knew it came to a halt at the hands of a tiny and lethal predator; I don’t know which feels longer. What I do know is that this is the most scared I have ever been – for myself, for the people I love, for the world as a whole, for the future. The pandemic has decimated any sense of normalcy and upended our routines. It has forced us to consider what was unfathomable just a little while ago; it has expanded our vocabulary with strange new words and phrases. It has brought about epic loneliness and immense ignorance, it has stolen lives, jobs, milestones and our collective well-being. And it has robbed us of so many things that brought us joy – often without us even realizing it. Ice coffee from Dunkin Donuts and fountain sodas from 7-Eleven. Subway rides. Lipstick. Jeans. Eating with other people. Coney Island. Favorite hoomans. Awkward hugs.

But in some ways it has also brought us closer, binding us with shared trauma. As most of you know, I was never a huge fan of humanity or of leaving the couch in general. But being forced to live without both of those things has not been stellar.  This feels very different from homebodiness.  I am beyond thankful for technology that lets us share coronavirus and “Tiger King” memes and stay connected 24/7, and for all the good people in my life who have been keeping me company that way. I hope I have been at least a little bit as comforting to you as you have to me.  I culled this selection of random out-of-context quotes from random, out-of-context quarantine conversations with my peeps. Bolded lines were uttered by famous people (mostly a certain governor), taken from songs or the ether, or spotted on strangers’ Instagram feeds. It’s long and probably not that entertaining unless you’re one of the quotees, but what else ya got going on?



Bumble in the Time of Corona

None of us are free 

Once Upon a No

T! Come to Mississippi! And charge your phone!

Influencer and attempted murderer

When the germs go away

I like to keep heavy cream around.

Cost of doing business

I can never figure out how he does his eyebrows tho.

11:30 am, 7 pm


To be clear, WHO let the dogs out. 

NMP (Not My Problem)

Yesterday was matzoi day!

My sleep is borked.

I never realized how fast staring into space drained your phone battery.

Actually, could you send me a few rolls of toilet paper?

-No one thinks of toothpaste in the Apocalypse.
-And any scandal resulting from shortages will be known as Colgate.

I feel like pandemic and homeschooling is not a great gauge of my well-being.

Coroney Island

So, whatcha doing this weekend?

This may be a secret plot engineered by dogs.

Prisoners of War

Social distancing 

Madewell was the last venue I was in.

I didn’t struggle with cystic fibrosis for 22 years to get taken down by some rando bug from a bat.

Wake up lady, it’s noon.

Fuck. It IS Beverly Cleary.

Make America Exotic again. 

We finally have a pandemic and Traci isn’t here to freak out about it. I feel gypped!

Shelter in place 

I can’t understand anything that Snell guy says.


This episode of Black Mirror sucks. 

It’s only quarantine if it comes from the Quarantine region of France. Otherwise it’s just sparkling isolation. 

Then you say, ‘Oh really?’ and take your pants off.

Carole Baskin did it.

I showered. I didn’t say when. 

Conditions are mostly reclusive with a 60% chance of chocolate later in the evening. Back pain moving in from the south at 50 mph.

That was weirdly written, but you get the point.

We can’t get toilet paper but this guy has a full-body dinosaur costume lying around?

Remember, he’s irrelevant to you.

Increasingly worried about my ability to function in normal society again.

UnHappy Hour



Yeah murder vs. infection is a difficult choice.

-How are you prepping for tonight’s Zoom call?
-Tinted moisturizer.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s toilet paper. 

Should I put together a PowerPoint pitching myself as his new ladyfriend?

We’ll be back after a short intermission. Stay safe and healthy, New York! 

The quarantine diet is all carb, all the time.

Thinking about putting ham in my matzo ball soup.

Let me just check my incredibly busy schedule … yeah as it happens, I’m free.

She was making THE cutest sound ever. And then I noticed she’d eaten half my pillowcase.

Any other details to jog the ol’ noggin?

I just poured me some rosé and started cleaning out kitchen cabinet. Don’t be jelly.

He doesn’t make the rules.

I vaguely remember outside.

I ruined so many things that could have been amazing because I was sad. 




Thank you, essential workers 

Do you find that you go in waves?

Sorry. Deteriorating.

Our governor has a particularly punchable face.

-It made me laugh, but I thought it was too early to text.
-What time was it, like 1 pm?

Better living through chemistry

Ugh. Is it 2021 yet?

Amazing how many republicans suddenly became pro-choice. 

Whaffeye can’t get mahbangersnmash?!

There is a time and a place. This is not the time or the place.

We drove to Missoula.

Jealous of your eggs and your manicure.

You’ll be fine as long as you add cilantro to everything.

Is it just me or is Cuomo’s nipple totally pierced?!


Cats aren’t that important. 

-Is today is March 79th?
-Blenvemberuary the Florpy Ferf.

Time is actually going pretty fast, because I’m only awake for a few hours of daylight.

Now I’m gonna have to go risk my life to get some Cap’n Crunch.

One thing I like about wearing masks is that sometimes I mouth ‘fuck you’ to people and they don’t know it.

Wet markets

This is Sims Traci reacting to a fruit cake a neighbor brought by.

Remind me never to do gel before a pandemic again.

This is getting very old.

The age’s most uncertain hour 

Kathy, I’m lost, I said, though I knew she was sleeping. I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why, counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike, they’ve all come to look for America … 

I think it’s just a nostalgic and beautiful song, and I think we are feeling nostalgic for America right now. It’s a hard place to recognize.

Nipplegate is my favorite COVID distraction.

We will meet again. 

Flattening the curve 

Fuck your head and the neck it rode in on. 

I miss you bringing me jelly rings this year.

-I’m endorsing you, Joe. 
-Thanks! For what?

And no matzo crack

World on lockdown

This is the new that.

I worry about you.


I put on jeans today. They feel like compression stockings.

Look to the Chuckle to heal.

What are days?

Oh look. It’s night again.

Listen to Dr. Fauci, he’s from Brooklyn.

The Great Pause

Me: In my head I’m dating the governor now.
Therapist: Get in line, honey. We all are right now.

Fools, said I, you do not know. 

It is literally like a disaster movie where every aspect of existence is fucked up.

I thought he looked somewhat delicious.

Gahhhhh I wish I could tell you in Spanish.

No dog wants to smell like blueberry. 

…almond milk, which I opened somewhere between 7 and 100 days ago.

You sound like a chihuahua on a coke bender.

How did it go with the frozen bananas?

I just can’t America anymore.

Bologna with mayo on white bread. They’re really trying to kill us. 

That’s not who we are. 

I told you about that in like, 2017.

I stay up so late I need to eat dinner again.

Contact tracing 

One day I was born. Then everything bothered me. And that brings us up to date. 

Soothe us, Daddy.

Does it hurt to be so beautiful? Something you just learn to live with?

‘Froink’ is the best name for a pig I’ve ever heard.

At the end of the day my friends, even if it’s a long day, and this is a very long day, love wins, always. – Andrew Cuomo

13: It’s not bad luck. It’s good TV.

Sword swallowers, do not share your swords!

What you are doing is actually saving lives. 

This is a terrible experience to go through. But we will manage it, we will handle it, and we will be the better for it. 

As bad as you want to address it, some things are just better left unsaid. 

What is important is that they are delicious.

In some ways this is the least anxious I’ve ever been. You know, other than the constant threat of death.

Stop offering me cigarettes, I’m 10. 

Fuck off Hitler. 

Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final. 

-This is turrble.

She has generally very annoying posting habits, but she’s posted a few great memes.

If you don’t say “COVID19” to the tune of “Come on Eileen,” you do now. 

They never want to discuss what triggered you … only how you reacted. 

Okay well I think that was a big stank factor so I actually feel better.

I’m thinking spring-loaded cobras.

And now it’s May.

There is no return to yesterday. It’s about moving forward. 

Quarantine Out of Context

My Life in Hurricanes

If you need a suitcase to make your escape, you're not getting it here.

At the risk of jinxing the course and force of the impending hurricane, I must say that it’s hard not to be a little skeptical about all the hype.  In pre-Irene New York City, you’d think Armageddon was upon us. The subways have shut down. Stores and restaurants have now taped and boarded up their windows, and posted signs saying they’ll be closed for the next two days. Prior to closing, the supermarkets had lines out the front door and wouldn’t let anyone in until another person came out.  There is nary a flashlight, battery or can of food to be found. Evacuations are underway in all five boroughs. We have been told to fill our bathtubs, for some reason, and pack a “to go” bag.  We have stocked up on wine, junk food (anything ingested during a state of emergency doesn’t count) and non-perishables.  (Jan’s favorite category of food, it should be noted.) Friends who don’t want to ride out the storm alone are coming over for what I hope will be a successful taco night.

We’ve had hysteria like this before – albeit, not quite as intense – and it’s turned out to be much ado about nothing. In other cases, like one of the 27 blizzards of this winter, we’ve had no hysteria and gotten weather-screwed. In these parts, death by hurricane strikes me as pretty rare. So is all this really necessary, or are we just panicking for nothing? With actual work to do but no motivation, I thought it would be a good time to look back at the defining hurricanes of my life. I hope this trip down insignificant memory lane provides all you hurricane fearin’ folks out there with a port in the storm.

Hurricane David, September 1979:   Just a few days into second grade, our school district closes due to the impending hurricane. I assume that if school is closed, something really bad must be about to happen and find myself too nervous to eat my Apple Jacks. It rains heavily for about 10 minutes then clears up. Jan takes us to the Woodbridge Mall, where she buys us tiny, fuzzy Paddington Bear figurines. Ever the proper English bear, Paddington is sporting a duffel raincoat and removable rain hat.

Hurricane Gloria, September 1985: Once again, school is closed due to threat of hurricane. I am thrilled, but concerned. Not only is it Jan’s birthday, but, more importantly, I am scheduled to attend a Sting concert at Radio City with my friend Jennifer K. and her dad. Jan and Lew tell me the concert will definitely be cancelled. I maintain that Sting would never let that happen. Anxiously, I watch heavy rain fall for about 10 minutes outside my bedroom window. The winds fail to damage even one wysteria vine on the uber-80s wallpaper Jan chose against my will. The weather clears instantly and Jennifer’s dad says he is willing to drive into the city for the concert. After I suit up in my black Guess jeans and white pumps, Lew deposits me at Jennifer’s house, where Jennifer and her mother are fighting about the amount of make-up she has on. Mrs. Jennifer asks me if I too think Jennifer looks like a drag queen. I do think Jennifer looks like a drag queen, but am already too close to full middle school ostracization that I can’t possibly risk offending Jennifer.

Hurricane Chef Cho, October 1992: Hurricane Chef Cho is actually a Category 3 cocktail, which I make the very bad mistake of drinking out of a scorpion bowl at this Cambridge, MA chinese food establishment. Let’s just say I’m surprised FEMA wasn’t called in.

Hurricane Floyd, September 1999: I am in the city now, and have been battling very bad panic attacks. Because of this, the world has a surreal feel to it. Mass transit is shut down and I refuse to walk 80+ blocks to work at the weekly newspaper where I have a mediocre column.  This hurricane actually causes some severe damage and chaos in central New Jersey. When the National Guard is called in and water has to be boiled, I am fairly confident the end of the world is upon us. For weeks after Floyd, there are horrible stories in the papers about small children dying from contaminated water they drink at sad county fairs and the like.

Hurricane Katrina, August 2005: Katrina comes nowhere near Philadelphia, but its breadth is felt everywhere. I am mortified that a disaster of this scale could take place in the U.S., and haunted for weeks by images of pets who have been abandonned. I make the first of my now regular donations to the ASPCA.

Hurricane Earl, August/September 2010: Nothing happens, except that the Dixie Chicks’ Goodbye Earl starts to torture me.

Hurricane Irene, August 2011:  Keith and I partake of the noon-ish meal at Viand, along with Kiki and Chris. Kiki and I head to Q Nails for a pre-storm mani/pedi. Keith and I return home to await our guests, and our fate.

My Life in Hurricanes