Me, Mom, and The Driveway Plan.

Characters: Me (Middle-Aged Jewish Male), Mom (Mom, early 90s, home under California’s shelter-in-place with my dad, older).

Background: During the early days of the virus, my parents and I shared our common relief that the random hugging between people, greeting and departing, was falling by the wayside. It always seemed, “so uneccessary.”

Setting: Sunday morning. Quarantine, Week 2. Phone call. Ring, Ring…

Mom: Hello.

Me: Hello, Mother.

Mom: Hello, Son.

Me: Mom, I had a great idea last night. It was an epiphany! You’re gonna love it and people are going to be doing it all over America once the idea goes wide.

Mom: OK, David.

Me: Using some of those wipes, we’re gonna sanitize four plastic chairs today. This afternoon, we’re going to bring them over and set them up in your driveway. We’ll place them more than 10 feet away from each other. Once we set them up, you and dad can come outside and we can hang out together safely. It’s nice and warm, so it will feel like a normal visit. And get this. We’ll leave your two chairs there, right in the driveway. Then anyone in our family can visit too; they just need to bring their own germ-free chairs and set them up ten feet away from yours, and boom! Family time!

Mom: Actually, David, your father and I woke a up bit late today, and we’re just having breakfast and watching Fareed Zakaria and our other Sunday shows, so I’m sorry. Today’s really not particularly convenient.

Me: OK, but we can do this any day. We’re just sitting around. Just let me know the day and time and we’re there!

Mom: Your sister just talks to us from the driveway through the window. That seems to work.

Me: I know that works for quick communication, but wouldn’t it be nicer to actually sit down and relax and have a conversation? No one needs to stand in the driveway and yell to you while you’re standing at the window.

Mom: Well, your sister doesn’t seem to mind standing and it doesn’t take long because she usually has other things to do.

Me: Right, I get that. But this way, everyone can relax and actually have a nice visit. And as long as the other family members bring their own chairs and you have yours that we’ll leave in the driveway, people can actually come hang out whenever you want during the quarantine. It’s like we’re beating the virus.

Mom: You know, David, I know being at home really affects you young people. But we really don’t socialize that much. So this isn’t really that difficult for us. We’re going on our walks. We’re fine. We have plenty of food right now. I know you really want visits, but we’re used to being on our own.

Me: Ok, well we can talk about it later I guess.

Mom: While I have you, there is one problem I’ve been having with my computer…

And scene…

Dave Pell writes NextDraft. Mom is a longtime subscriber.

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