Jon Simonds 

Life During War Time

Retirement isn't all it's cracked up to be. Especially in the midst of a pandemic.

We have to socially distance, wear masks and scrub large gatherings to say nothing of our hands. We probably shouldn't travel; dine in or partake in religious activities. Funerals are limited and we should disinfect the mail. We have to carry hand sanitizer and horde toilet paper. While there hasn't been an official stay at home order, the pandemic leaves one with few other options and in spite of my going into the doghouse for what I am about to say, I'm not sure what's worse. The pandemic or being stuck at home with your significant other.

My significant other has taken to the internet during times of absolute boredom to ask me questions like, "What do you think of these curtains for the living room?" This usually prompts an answer along the lines of my pointing to the curtains hanging in the living room and asking, "what's wrong with the curtains already hanging in the living room?" She looks up at me snapping about how old our curtains are and it's time to change them.

There's a young woman in the neighborhood who walks her dog past our house. Her timing during this particular exchange is impeccable. I toy with the idea of asking, but my warped sense of humor gets me into more trouble than I deserve. For example, in the early days when introducing my wife to someone I would point out her veteran status. She served in the Woman's Army Corp. In other words, she was a WAC in the Army. Now, I tell everyone, she's just wacked. New curtains in the living room usually means my having to hang them and there is nothing wrong with the old curtains in the living room. They're a lot like me. Old, with a few wrinkles and stuck hanging around.

One fine morning my significant other woke at the crack of dawn, probably having the best nights sleep of her life because she was so full of energy, she decided it was time to rearrange the cabinets in the kitchen. I am not a morning person. I tend to wake up in a fog stumbling into the kitchen on autopilot for my morning coffee. I open a cabinet, reach for a mug, fill it and wait for the jet fuel to kick in. Am I wrong to get a tad bent out of shape because I've just poured a mugs worth of coffee over a box of pancake mix? "What do you mean, you rearranged everything? You couldn't find something better to do?"
"Open your eyes!"

I usually check the mail around 3 in the afternoon. This consists of my walking out to the car and driving to the Lake Arrowhead mailboxes, where I get out of the car and check the mail, going through the mail, separating the actual mail from the junk mail which I deposit into a trash bin at the end of the mailboxes. I then get into my car and drive back to house only to find the front door locked. I ring the bell and the ring of the bell is answered by the ring of the phone which I answer since the call is coming from inside the house. "You can't come in!" She says. "Why not?" I ask. "I mopped the floor. You'll have to wait for it to dry."

On the bright side, three different companies are in the process of awaiting FDA approval for vaccines promising to lead us out of the pandemic. I know a lot of people who are calling this an answer to their prayers. They're all married. I only have one friend whose uttered disappointment. His name is Al. He's a divorce lawyer in Sarasota, FL. He says the pandemic has kicked him up two tax brackets. He says another year of this and he could dump his cruise ship vacations for his own cruise ship.

I look at my wife and think of Al, but she's peering out the living room window. I turn my gaze to find a young man walking a dog past our house. "Shouldn't you be looking for new curtains?" I ask. She looks at me. "Why? You have a problem with the old ones?"

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Jon's previous stories:

We Now Hold Truth to Be Self-Evident
Social Media
You Can't Always Get Want You Want
Old Friends
Dear Mr. President
Are You an American?