There’s a quarantine meme featuring a scene from the movie Clue in which the doorbell rings again at Mr. Body’s mansion, and Mrs. Peacock, wild-eyed and disheveled, exclaims, “Whoever it is, they’ve got to go away or they’ll be killed!”
Are you doing your best to avoid people and their germs (while helping them avoid you and your germs)? Do you want to?
My dad was adept at social distancing before it was necessary or cool. An expert at evading not only strangers but also close friends, everyone could learn a thing or two from him in the time of coronavirus.
Every weekend of my childhood our family quarantined. It was easy for us because we lived way out in the boonies of Tennessee. Why did we quarantine? We didn’t have some backwoods southern plague, if that’s what you’re thinking. No, we sheltered in place simply because my dad didn’t want to be bothered by other people.
So if you’re trying to avoid visitors contaminating your home, let me give you some tips from the master. Before I reveal my dad’s protocols for avoiding company, however, ask yourself these questions:
Do you tense at a rap on your door, your eyes darting around nervously as you bite your nails?
Does the sound of the doorbell make you break out in a cold sweat?
Does the mere sight or sound of someone approaching your front door make you pull out your hair and run for the disinfectant wipes?
Then you need to follow my dad’s guidelines.
For short we’ll call this four-step program for evading germ-ridden intruders at your home HISS.
At the first hint of someone coming to disturb your family — whether that be footsteps, knocking or a doorbell — the leader of your family or the most paranoid one (that’s me!) must immediately motion for everyone else in the house to freeze. Obviously, you can’t use your words, so you must employ wide, scary, rolling eyes or imitate the Supremes’ dance gestures as they sing, “Stop in the Name of Love!”
As quietly and surreptitiously as possible, gaze out the peephole or a crack in the curtains to ascertain who has the gumption to come a’knockin.’ Then ask yourself, Am I willing to get the coronavirus from this person…or even the common cold?
Again, the leader or most paranoid one must motion for everyone to get down out of sight of the windows and remain in that uncomfortable position until their hamstrings burn. No pain, no gain!
Absolute silence is necessary. If the TV is on, this can be tricky as turning it off will alert your visitor that someone is at home, so simply pretend that it remains on 24/7 at your house. (And, really, is that such a stretch for some of you?) TV on or not, you must not breathe too noisily as you wait for your visitor to give up and leave.
But leave they will! Because if you follow the steps in HISS, I assure you that even the most audacious visitor will abandon their plans to give you the coronavirus.
Still, if you’re looking for that extra special touch, you can always do what my dad did on Sunday mornings and park your car in a hollow in the field behind your home — out of sight of unwanted guests. Don’t have a convenient field or “holler” around? Just park it in front of a neighbor’s house a few doors down. Then disguise it by slapping on some obnoxious bumper sticker about how “we’re all in this together.”
Stay stealthy, my friends!
— Hillary Ibarra
Hillary Ibarra is the author of The Christmas List, an inspirational holiday novella based on real events. Her humor writing has appeared in New Mexico Woman and on various online sites, her favorite being Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. She is a contributor at CatholicMom.com and For Every Mom. When not baking, hugging trees or playing endless board games with her children, she writes about family life and adventure in the sunny Southwest at hillaryibarra.com.