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Outlook Columnist Sharon Nesbit shares what life is like for her in pandemic isolation.

SHARON NESBITReflections in isolation.

I have a video conference meeting this week, requiring me to project my image on my computer screen. Nonsense. I will do voice only. One of the few joys of enforced isolation in the days of COVID-19 is that you don't have to put on makeup or do more than brush the hair out of your eyes.

Further, I have seen my face on a video screen. The angle is one that no one with a double chin should undertake. I don't know about the rest of my friends, but I am saving a load of money on makeup. I do scare myself, so I avoid mirrors. And I wonder, when the time comes, can I cut my own hair. What will be the result?

One of the other great joys of isolation — I live alone, not even a cat — is that you wear whatever you want. For starters, I have discarded the most uncomfortable item in my undergarment drawer. Enough said. My corona virus wardrobe is a sweatshirt and what I call jammy-pants, ragged old knit pants with pockets. Too baggy to be tights, too saggy to pass as sportswear, unfit for public use, they are wonderfully comfortable.

This business of even famous people communicating on laptops is fascinating. No one knows if anyone is wearing pants.

However I would like to point out to others who engage their laptops for the purpose of public broadcast, find an angle in your house where the background is plain and your pictures aren't hanging crooked.

In isolation, we find ways to cope. You see the worst of the human spirit — people lining up to buy guns. For what purpose? So they can shoot the little old lady down the street wanting to borrow a roll of toilet paper? How about this? Want a gun? First give a pint of blood.

There is creativity.

A photographer in Seattle is taking portraits of people through their windows. I like the story of the guy who ran a marathon in his backyard. And thank you to Oregon Public Broadcasting offering 12 hours of educational television daily for kids.

There also is the best of human spirit.

Sister Sue in Phoenix heard a commotion a couple days ago. A couple of school teachers in her neighborhood, amateur musicians, set up a drum kit in the back of a pickup, followed by a guy in another car playing a trumpet and staged a parade. She is also part of a driveway cocktail hour. Neighbors take their lawn chairs to their driveways along with a glass of wine or whatever and toast and talk loudly.

I created a "parlor" in my side yard, safely behind a tall fence with two lawn chairs positioned 12 feet apart. It only works on nice days, but it will stop raining eventually.

My friend, Max, deprived of pickle ball, has set up an exercise area in his garage.

And Jean in isolation, waits for Jeopardy to come on TV. Her son enters the house via a downstairs access, turns on the TV down there and they watch together, shouting comments and wild guesses from one floor to the other.

I still don't get pumping your own gas. How can it be safe for me to stand outside operating a gas pump that many others have touched? It would seem that with the passenger window down a crack to pass a credit card, social distancing with my friendly neighborhood gas pumper could be practiced.

Likewise, I am a miser with my cash.

The thought of approaching a cash machine is scary. No one has shown me any images of bankers industriously sanitizing their cash machines. So I wrote a check today to those who brought me groceries. My friend looked at it in wonder, "I can't tell you how long it has been since I have seen a check."

This is an unexpected time and a joy to historians. People who should have done it years ago are going through old documents and photos and saving them for history.

Staring posterity in the face is sobering. Write your biography and send it to your local historical society. Or send your thoughts on current events to the Oregon Historical Society.

Keep copies handy for your children. They will appreciate it. They may need it, hopefully not now, but later.

Pull up your jammy pants and be safe.


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