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I was spraying my bathroom vanity with Lysol today. By mistake I had the nozzle turned the opposite direction and sprayed my chest instead! I had to change my top because it reeked of Lysol.

On my solo walk the other day, I reached the intersection which has the button you can push for the pedestrian signal. I pushed the button, it said “Wait!” I heard a honk and turned to see the driver in the car behind me vigorously motioning for me to cross the street (so she could make a right turn). Reluctantly, I looked both ways and since no cars were coming, I dashed across the street to accommodate her.

On my return route, I reached the same intersection and again pushed the button for the pedestrian signal, and again it said “Wait!” Emboldened by my previous crossing, I quickly looked both ways on the street, and since no cars were coming, made a dash across it. “There!” I thought, “No one can complain about my holding them up.”

No sooner had I walked a block but I heard a driver call out from the car just catching up with me, “Hey! You have to wait for the light to change after you press the button!”

I can’t win for losing!

On the plus side, the current situation has benefited me in unexpected ways.

First of all, I’m no longer at a loss when trying to come up with a truly desirable hostess gift, assuming social distancing is ever called off.  What household wouldn’t welcome an extra roll of toilet tissue?

And I have finally gotten sufficiently bored with radio and tv to explore internet entertainment, especially Youtube.  I now realize that I need never again settle for peace and quiet.  Who knew?

A friend in my knitting group has taken classes from Arne and Carlos, a famous Norwegian designer duo with an international following. Their specialty is knitting, but they also crochet, sew, design fabric, garden and cook.  Imagine a pair of crafty P. Allen Smiths, and you more or less get the picture.

Carol told me that they were in mandated quarantine at home for two weeks after a trip abroad.  To keep themselves busy and entertain the knitting community, they were offering a knit-along and daily podcasts featuring a new square pattern each day.  They called these “clues” because they would finally be assembled to make an item that would be revealed on the last day.

I didn’t do the knit-along, but I started watching the podcasts while knitting my own project.  Carlos is the dominant speaker, the straight man, while Arne giggles and smiles his way through each episode.  When I google Arne & Carlos Youtube, a plethora of videos appears, enough to keep any homebody occupied.  So I did a deep dive into their world.  I watched their Christmas projects and New Year’s Greetings, sat with them in their garden in the summer and fall.  I have shared their breakfast table and learned how to make Norwegian waffles and their favorite brands of cheese to put on the waffles.  Carlos does the cooking.  I know they drive a VW bug.  I know when their birthdays are.  I know that Arne, like me, has “a black belt in shopping” and that he reads 2-4 books a month.  If he likes the book, he puts it in their guestroom, if he doesn’t, he leaves it in a hotel room.  His idea of cleaning is to move things from one pile to another.  He likes patterns, Carlos likes bright colors.  He drinks coffee, Carlos drinks tea.  I have a level of intimacy with these two that I don’t have with my best friend.  I feel that at this point I’ve done everything with them except take a shower.  I wonder how much of their time is actually spent off-camera and not pursuing their careers—they constantly travel to knitting events and trade shows, and even host knitting cruises.  Do they have such a thing as a private life?  They refer to their followers as “a loving family”. While I do find them charming, as with all celebrities, you wonder how much of that charm is for show.

In the last episode, they announced that they were having such a good time with the podcasts that although their quarantine was over, they’d continue them for two more weeks.  I don’t think I’ll make it.

That’s the thing with all this connectedness that’s available at the push of a button, live or otherwise.  How much togetherness is too much?  You may scorn my introversion as so much navel-gazing, but that doesn’t mean I’m any better off contemplating your navel.  I guess I’ll have to be mindful of my own appetite and in the future not feel compelled to immerse myself in another reality.  It can quickly become overload.

Another favorite internet pastime that my Facebook friends are resorting to is the guessing game, or, for the intellectually inclined, word games.  My sister, a poetry teacher, started two “threads” last week.  In one, she asked people to contribute mispronunciations or mangling of English expressions by their family members who weren’t first-generation Americans.  It got almost 200 comments.  In the other, she asked for spoonerisms.  I became so obsessed with this challenge that I lay awake wracking my brain for a good hour after I went to bed, rushing to my computer to type in my submissions as they came to me.

But being forced to socialize virtually may have actually improved my social skills.  I have learned to tune in to others and engage on their terms, play their games, respond to their concerns. Which makes me a better person.  I’ll work on stepping away from the computer when I’m saturated.

Knitting is a wonderful, creative pastime, the perfect occupation for quarantine.  It can be as relaxing or as challenging as you want it to be. Below are some resources that will inspire you and help you connect with the knitting community, whether local or worldwide:

Here is the link to the Arne & Carlos YouTube channel where all their podcasts can be found:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCswHDKvVlidNa02Y_T0D1Zw/videos

Here is the website of the premier knitting resource for yarn, patterns, and connecting with other knitters.  It’s like a Facebook for knitters:

https://www.ravelry.com/account/login

Lastly, here is the website for Webs, a wonderful yarn store in Northampton, MA:

https://www.yarn.com/

Here is the Facebook page for Newton Knitters & Needlers.  Everyone is welcome.  We meet in the Auburndale Library in Newton, MA every Saturday from 10:30 to 12:00 PM (once social distancing is no longer required):

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1801723493451878/

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