The Coronavirus Kick I Needed

The governor of Pennsylvania announced that the state owned liquor stores, the only places to buy wine and liquor in the state, would close due to the coronavirus. As soon as the news hit our Apple news feed, all the usual city sounds were drowned out by the slamming of front doors as the entire populace of Philadelphia collectively lurched out their front doors to make an emergency run to the liquor store. Cabs, Ubers and city buses were sideswiped aside by the stampede of rabid Eagles fans jostling to get the last bottle of the Joel Gott Cabernet at the mega-store on Market street.

Myself included.

This temporary Quaker type prohibition was the signal to us all that life was about to change. Coronavirus had also given me the perfect excuse to succumb completely to my natural, slovenly state, ruling the Clampitt household with an iron fist from my throne bed.

While others convene on Zoom to play games I’m using my computer to buy more stuff I don’t need. I’ve spent more time on line shopping than I did when I had a full time job with an office. It’s like Satan has taken over my inbox. He tempts me constantly with promises of new, chic clothing at a never before seen price. These deals won’t last so get them now! At these rock bottom prices I could parade around Philadelphia looking like a six foot super model. (after applying Satan’s special promo code – CoronaNow-which miraculously adds an additional six inches on my inseam) If I ever leave the house again to wear any of these designer bargains. Did I mention each brand donates thousands of masks with every purchase?

I hate to cook.  If someone else cooks it, I’ll never complain. Doesn’t matter what it is. Haggis, pickled pigs feet and chitlins? If someone else serves it, I won’t burden them with a list of my character virtues- vegan, gluten intolerant, conscientious objector, and averse to all white foods. When this thing got started I had the perfect excuse not to cook. Coronavirus lurked in the grocery store, hiding in the fresh vegetables, waiting to pounce on my fingertips when I stopped to squeeze the mangoes. It hid among the bags of salt and vinegar potato chips that call to me lovingly as soon turn down the snack aisle. Luckily for me, Prime Now and all the other delivery services are booked solid until the second coming of Jesus. The new loves of my life are Uber Eats, Grub Hub, and Caviar. There’s no going back.

Because I’m stuffing my face with Indian food every day, and wearing athleisure clothing instead of skinny jeans, I’m able to ignore the fact that I probably won’t fit in to anything but a towel once this whole thing passes. I can now, without guilt or even a second thought about my dishonesty, blame it all on this damn virus. Even if I (we) wanted to go the gym, they’re all closed. No more sweating at CrossFit alongside those energetic millennials who perform Herculean feats of gym magic every time they show up. I have the perfect reason not to finish the month long Ashtanga yoga introduction to which I obligated myself in February. There I see women who are all hitting triple digit birthdays rolling around on the floor with both legs looped around the back of their necks. The teacher carried on an entire conversation while she demonstrating yoga nidransana.

I could do yoga every day for the next fifty years and at best may be able to touch my toes. I don’t need to check the odds to know my feet will never get near my head in any position. So I might as well quit now. But instead of slugging through the hard work at accomplishing a goal, I’ll use the coronavirus as the excuse.

Covid 19 has provided the perfect rationale for me not to do anything I don’t feel like doing.

I haven’t cleaned out a closet or organized the storage area in the basement. I’ve not scrubbed anything. All of cleaning tools are just as dormant as they always have been. I have had to dust myself off occasionally. One of the drawbacks of my new sedentary life style. My eyes have gotten some exercise watching what’s on my computer screen. I now type with my index finger.

Then the top shelf of the pantry fell in, shaking me from my Netflix induced stupor. Of course it brought down the four shelves below as it emptied twelve types of flour and a  full one liter bottle of Chinese black vinegar I ordered off Amazon for the times I needed a teaspoon full for a recipe. (Why someone who doesn’t cook has these things is a mystery worth delving into) The sheer magnitude of the clean up forced some blood up in to my brain.

It was the cosmic slap across the face I needed. I realized that I’ve got to get going. On something I’ve been putting off for years.

Some of you know that this blog started in 2010 when I lived in Japan. What you might not have realized is that since 2010, I’ve lived in Tokyo, Montreal, Philadelphia, San Diego, and then Philadelphia again. In fact, this is the 6th time I’ve lived in the Philadelphia area. The first time was 1987 and the culture shock was so bad I swore to forever hate the city of Brotherly Love.

This time is a little different. Now we live in the middle of the city itself- not the suburbs where the good schools reside. I’m going to set aside my Grinch like loathing for the moment.

I’ve decided to give Philly another chance. Treat it like a tourist. Explore all the nooks and crannies. Learn the culture. Eat the food. Find out what’s interesting about the place I’m in. If I can eat fish sperm I guess I could try scrapple.

Now’s the time. So, once a week (or more depending on the tremendous opportunity for adventure that unfolds) I’ll be regaling you with tales of Philadelphia. Largely based in fact; perhaps enhanced with some embellishment designed to keep you reading. But since it appears we are all in this for a while to come, I may as well get out of bed and see what I can see from six feet away.

Stay well Friends.

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27 Responses to The Coronavirus Kick I Needed

  1. Stacy Palmer says:

    Welcome back!!!


  2. maristravels says:

    Don’t you dare renege on this promise to blog weekly. I’m relying on you to keep my spirits up during the lockdown we’re living through here in the UK and as you made me laugh today I shall expect more of the same next week.
    Didn’t know Philly had such dire liquor laws. Jeez, that’s enough to stop me thinking of even visiting there. Take heart, stock up, and just be a slob for the duration.


  3. Ashmore says:

    If you’d like an exploration buddy, I’m your gal! I’m ashamed to say I’ve never been to Philly and would love to join you in this quest. Plenty of direct flights from Tampa and a whopping 1 from The Ham. I bet I could get Val & Lanier to join too! Although, that alcohol ban’s gotta be lifted first. That’s a non-starter.


  4. Julie Strohmaier says:

    Amen! Can’t wait to hear about your new adventures!


    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well my dear so happy to hear from you! But I should have expected it. Your wit thrives in chaos and safe from being shaken and stirred you now face This. Lead on I shall follow. I am in Kitchener, a town about an hour from Toronto Ontario. I live in an apartment building filled with old people. I guess being 72 makes me one of them and may explain why I get on so well with them. WELCOME BACK! Chris


    • Chris I’m so glad to hear from you! Has the Canadian govt cajoled you into pitching in regardless of your high risk status? So this must be a relatively new place? Are you knitting? I’ve picked it back up. More on that later. Glad you’re well!

      Liked by 1 person

      • There have been hints of how easy it would be to return to work -after 9 years but it is not doable. I am knitting. And writing. A FaceTiming with a few folk daily. I went for a walk the other day (the only day lately that it has not snowed – go figure) and was thrilled to see children playing on their front lawns in driveways. Just like when my children were young and before it became the standard of keeping children in clubs. Families, young parents and children out walking. All observing social distance. It was lovely.


      • Chris I get it. When I left work I thought I’d go back once the Offspring flew the coop. Here I sit. Now it’s been so long I can’t remember what should go on a resume anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Jessica W. says:

    You are my favorite human.


  7. Ann Marie Rigali says:

    Always love reading your blog! Sending you and the family a HUGE hug! Stay safe and well my friend and when the skys open, let me know if you ever get out to Seattle! would love to see YOU!
    xo Ann Marie

    PS. I got divorced in October and am in the process of the long labor of taking my maiden name back… Rigali Love those Italians!


    • Well your name is royalty around here. In fact, now that I’m back I think I’m going to start name dropping among my Catholic peeps😎 I’m sorry about your divorce – I know that’s always a tough time. Would love to head out to Seattle- been so long! You’ll be the first to know. How’s Grace? Hang in there!


  8. 2summers says:

    Yay, Emily is back! Can’t wait for more — this post gave me more laughs than I’ve had all week.


  9. thegannans says:

    G’day Emily, good to see your sense of humour is still alive and well, even in these most trying of circumstances. Down here the grog shops are considered an Essential Service. Being Locked Down has its own problems and like you, with all the things I could be doing at home, I am still thinking about it.. It seems you can still wander around town, whereas we are only allowed out to buy food, including grog, go see a doctor and for exercise. My exercise is lifting weights, 375 millilitre weights. Your stories are quite inspirational and funny. I hope you put them all together in a book one day.
    Keep well and keep safe, Emily and looking forward to your next installment


    • Paul I’m so glad to hear from you! What a relief everyone’s ok- the ankle biters? Good for you getting after the weights. We can go outside as long as we maintain the magical 6 feet- which is the exact length of three Weiner dogs. We’ll see what I can drum up. Hang in there!


  10. Ivar Rismo says:

    Really enjoyed reading your post. In Germany the grocery stores are open, and with that access to everything you need to fill up the bar. Hope all is well in these crazy times. Take care 😃


    • We can buy wine and beer at a hand full of grocery stores. Apparently we can buy liquor from bars around town. It’s like a damn scavenger hunt for booze. How are y’all? So far we’re all good!


      • Ivar Rismo says:

        We are all good – I am in Germany, the rest back in Norway. I generally try to get home every 2-3 weeks, but am unable to travel now due to restrictions. Hopefully I will have a chance to get up there soon. Spring in the air in central Europe, still 5 ft of snow in Northern Norway – quite the contrast 😃


      • Wow. Five feet of snow!! And I’m complaining about 50 degrees…. again!


  11. Phong Duong says:

    Always enjoy reading your blog, Emily. We have recently downsized from the burb to the middle of Philly too. Look forward to seeing you at Market Fine Wine and Liquor once it is back.


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