Stranger Days #14: Memories of My Dad

Estimated Reading Time: 3.5 minutes

Welcome to stranger days--my blog series exploring daily life, challenges in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just sharing insights or thoughts about how to make it through these days.  

A photo of an orange Columbia sweatshirt, Star Wars pajama pants, and slippers laid out on the floor as if a human outline.
Those that have been around on this blog know that my father died two years ago because I wrote a fairly lengthy series about his passing.  I certainly regularly think of him but not necessarily in a forlorn way. Just idle thoughts about him, his life, our relationship, or what have you.  They spring forward whenever something reminds me of him; a perfectly normal experience.  

But this week--week 3 if I'm correct (but who knows at this point.  It's April 2 and March felt like 8 years long)--I had a very strange experience.  For much of the last years of my father's life, he generally did not like to leave the house.  He preferred sitting at his computer desk with two TV screens and his computer monitor for hours, jumping from online poker, wrestling, reruns of The Office, Seinfeld, That 70s Show, sports, and news.  His clothing was pretty standard:  slippers, sweatpants, and a long sleeve sweatshirt--often, a Columbia one with a zipper. He might switch out the slippers for shoes when he came out, but that was not always guaranteed.  

It's that outfit--or uniform one could say that brings me to today's post. It might have been Tuesday or Wednesday of this week--the week that has increasingly felt like I was living in the film Groundhog's Day--that I looked at my outfit and my 3 screens that I'm spending hours in front of each day and realized that I am definitely channeling my father.  

My wardrobe is slightly different. An orange Columbia zipper sweatshirt instead of blue and Star Wars pajama pants (because that's how I roll). But yeah, it's hard not to see the similarity and laugh.  My father chose his outfit and also to go out much less in his later years whereas I'm bound home for the most part until such a time when it is safe to be going to work or engaging in less socially-distance activities.  Yet in realizing how similar the outfit and the set up was, I wondered if my reproduction was a byproduct of him or just a coincidence. While I am inclined to say it's a coincidence, I can easily see that it might be a case of apples not falling far from the tree.

Still, the realization also gave me pause to think about him and how he would be dealing with this were he still alive. I imagine him in some ways downplaying the illness and keeping to his few routines that led him outside: buying lottery tickets, visits to McDonald's for ice cream sundaes, and going to the grocery store. I see him also happy that there were no social obligations to which he had to attend.  In some ways, he had been preparing for social distancing for the better part of 15 or more years.

Though I think he too would marvel at the quickness with which the world has changed and how quickly things have closed down. I think it might have happened quickly enough for it to strike him with a bit more fear or concern than many other world events had. I don't think it would have changed him in some significant way but I think it might surprise him.  

As these go one and I continue to make this one of my wardrobe choices, my guess is that I'll be having more thoughts about my father.  All of which I will welcome and not all of which I will share, but for today, it's what I'm thinking about.  

How about you?  Have you been thinking about how your passed relatives would have experienced COVID-19?  Would it have challenged them or allowed them to shine?      

Take care. Be careful. Be care-filled.  Welcome to stranger days.

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