One joke in this time of quarantine and social distancing: A man comes home early one evening, and finds a woman sitting on his couch, watching television.
‘Who are you?’ he asks, intrigued.
‘Your wife!’ she replies.
‘Oh,’ he says, then shrugs: ‘well, you seem nice enough.’ The punchline being that the chap spends so little time in the house, he hardly knows his family.
Yet there are couples who live in the same house, but are so caught up in the whirlwind/rat race, they’ve become virtual strangers. You leave the house as early as 6.30am to ‘beat traffic’ and be at work on time.
He can stay in till 10am because he is a businessman, who starts dealing with his clients by 11am. So he mumbles ‘bye’ as you bounce, and then cuddles the pillow.
You get back to the house by 6pm, but that’s when he is just getting his first drink of the day. ‘I need to talk to these jamaas in social places, to soften them towards me for the deals.’
And because it is plausible in that odd world of the ‘male code,’ you let him be. After all, he is a six pack (beer, not abs) guy, and once he’s done, he is in the house by between 8.45 and 9.15pm.
Besides, after this new CBC system where they make parents do homework for their children, you are so sleepy you just want to go to bed without many ‘stories.’
So as he checks in, you are checking out. Because you are a savvy and fitness conscious woman, Saturday is the day you go to Karura for your morning run, then gym for three straight aerobic hours.
By the time you return home for lunch, he is having brunch, having just finished the weekly ‘catch up with kiddos’ time. After lunch and showers, you both scatter in different directions – you for the girls’ wine and chama. Him for beer and football with the jamaas (men).
Come Sunday, you go to church with your 2.2 kids, he nurses hungover and bloodshot eyes with coffee, painkiller, killer eggs and the only paper he ever reads -- the Sunday one.
In the afternoon, as the kids bounce and swim, you finally get to chat for a couple of hours -- just to fill each other in on the tornadoes your lives are going to be in the coming week.
This is what the relationship experts would call ‘drifting apart.’ Which is why the one good thing about corona virus is it has forced a lot of couples to come together.
Now with people in early, in their own homes, or even self-isolating together as they maintain safe social ‘distancing’ from non-immediate family members, this is the time to sit in as a family ... And your ice-breaker topic is ‘corona.’
Lots of rituals, such as family hand-washing time, can be made into fun, especially with younger kids. When you go out, say to the supermarket as a family, you can wear face masks, and pretend you are superheroes. Picture your daughter as ‘No Corona Woman.’ And, while at the supermarket, don’t buy more bulk TP please?
It is time to put away the smartphones, PlayStations and other such gizmos for kids, and get real. Just because schools got suspended because of corona doesn’t mean learning must stop.
Go to sites like the KICD website, my friend Mwazemba’s Oxford University Press FB page or Google ‘Kids Apps”, and follow the links to the free access they are offering parents and learners during this school closure, right till the end of September.
Without harambees and funerals and visitors and relatives to disturb the peace or steal your time, get to re-learn that wo/man on your couch. You may discover he/she is really nice.
If you haven’t, read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘Love in the Time of Cholera.’ Will it help you in this time of corona crises? No! Does it go with the title of this article? Yes.
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