Coffee and Computer

Alan Muskovitz writes about how the COVID-19 pandemic is having a strange, paradoxical effect on his concept of time.

This pandemic has had a strange, paradoxical effect on my concept of time. Being confined mostly to my home, life in general seems to be moving more at a snail’s pace, yet the month of August went by lightning fast. And the longer the COVID crisis continues, the more I seem to lose track of time. “It’s Monday? Huh, feels like Saturday.”

Thank goodness, though, that despite society closing down, my brain hasn’t. (Depending on who you ask.) That’s a good thing because I’m definitely a reluctant member of the “an idle mind is the devils’ playground” club. I’m grateful my chapter of that club shuttered its doors to avoid large gatherings.

The slower pace has allowed me to focus on details of life that might not normally get my attention. Starting with products that proclaim they kill 99.9% of bacteria. Noticing them more because of the manic wash-and-wipe-it-off world we now live in. In my household that includes Lysol Kitchen Pro, Windex Multi-Surface Disinfectant Cleaner and Purell Hand Sanitizer.

How is it that these companies come so close to killing everything but can’t get that extra .1%?! Do their scientists hang up their lab coats at the end of the day and say, “eh, close enough?” And why don’t they at least tell us what germs are in the .1% they can’t kill? I mean, they must know which germs they are to state they can’t kill them, right?

Another small detail I’ve focused on … I’m wondering how many days since March I haven’t worn pants. Let me clarify — long pants. I think it’s safe to say less than five days. I don’t know how I’m going to reenter society wearing something other than gym shorts. And I’m talking about the one pair of old, very unflattering gym shorts I’ve been wearing that I have no business even going to get the mail in — but do.

Mail. There’s another thing I’ve been hyper-focused on, or at least was. I’ve graduated from getting the mail with gloves on and opening it with the precision of a microsurgeon — to grabbing the mail barehanded, ripping it open and washing my hands immediately afterward. I do though, still let the mail marinate on my garage floor for a few days before bringing it in the house.

Like a lot of folks who are hunkered down at home, my television viewing has increased tremendously. The increased screen time has led to my paying more attention to programming options I’d normally bypass.

I’m hungry for live sports but never would I have imagined that in pre-COVID I would’ve stopped to watch, and this is for real, a World Cornhole Championship on ESPN. You know what this is; you just may not have known what it was called.

It’s a popular sport on college campuses, especially at tailgate parties. Two opponents attempt to throw small bags of corn kernels through a hole on a raised platform. It’s kind of like playing shuffleboard with a vegetable. 

I watched two men, excuse me, “athletes,” do this for several minutes. Don’t think this sport is taken seriously? These guys were wearing sweat suits covered in corporate sponsorship logos. I actually stuck around long enough to watch the winner’s press conference.

Finally, because the weather has been so good — I mean, I think it’s one of the best summers I can recall — I’ve been spending an inordinate number of hours sitting in my yard. I eat, work and even sleep out there. I’ve even been known to sleep through lawnmowers circling me.

I also now find myself hyper-focused on the squirrels on our property and their daily, repetitive behaviors. And I actually think my friendly, daily presence has reduced their normal squirrel skittishness. Until last week, when I made the mistake of discussing politics with them. 

Hmmm, maybe I am going squirrelly. Happy, healthy New Year! 

Alan Muskovitz is a writer, voice-over/acting talent, speaker, and emcee. Visit his website at,“Like” Al on Facebook and reach him at


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