It’s 5:00 somewhere… oh, actually here in Nashville! Another Friday night home in the Time of Corona. I’m delighted for Paige and Bill Bainbridge to stop in and share a few laughs – while keeping it real.

What do you plan to do this Friday night in the Time of Corona?

Paige:  Make dinner and watch a movie at home.

Bill:  Seriously? We have no plans.

What would you rather be doing on a Friday night?

Paige:  Usually the same thing. Or go out to a movie. We’d recently seen some good movies at the Belcourt, like “A Hidden Life” (beautiful cinematography, I’m a big Malick fan) and the Robbie Robertson Documentary.

Bill:  Going to a roadhouse is always the ideal.

What does daily life look like?

Paige:  Working from home is busy. I’m in development for Alive Hospice, and it’s inspiring to see how well our organization is operating during this crisis. But I am getting more laundry done being at home. And more family meals.

Bill:  I am learning to read the paper online – it has been a difficult transition for me. See what’s on tap work wise for the day. Between the tornado and the virus I have not been comfortable making calls so staying very on top of my current clients and listings. Getting back in the exercise flow has been great. And knocking out all the household to-dos that you always put off.

Has life in your neighborhood changed?

Paige:  The other day on a walk I saw someone had put home-made signs in their yard that said “We Can Do Hard Things” and “Keep Smiling.” On our neighborhood Next Door app, someone posted a video of a chalk obstacle course his girls had drawn at their cul-de-sac for anyone who wanted to come do it. And others had posted a request for toilet paper or other items and neighbors have been more than happy to help. I think there’s probably always that friendly neighborly willingness, but in times like these people have more opportunities to demonstrate it.

Bill:  I definitely see more people walking. I bet the yards will look better than ever this spring.

What is your state of mind? Does it change a lot, day to day, or do you feel like you’ve settled in and adjusted to Life in the Time of Corona?

Paige:  I keep up with the news, mostly in the morning. But then I put it away and get to focusing on work. I like the humorous memes people send. I think you’ve got to balance the news and worry with humor. I love the family who did the Les Mis video – brilliant. Sadly, that won’t happen at my house. I’ve been banned from singing showtunes. Or maybe just Annie.

Bill:  I am at peace but the fact that I can say that we’ve settled in really just means that we haven’t been personally affected yet. This unexpected time at home has had some real benefits. But the economic part will quickly turn severe if it lasts very long. The double whammy of the tornado and this virus has really hammered home the point of how fleeting this all can be. So if that’s the case then where should our emphasis be?

What are you secretly or not so secretly enjoying about Life in the Time of Corona?

Paige:  I’m enjoying more family time, including family Mexican Train Domino tournaments.

Even sometimes cooking together more or teaching our teenager how to cook some things. Playing guitar with my teenage son and teaching him some classic songs like “When I Paint My Masterpiece” or some Kristofferson. At dinner, the conversation often turns to music as we have Alexa play different kinds. My son asked us, “What genre of music do you not like?” (He asked because Bill was playing Pavaratti). Before Covid-19, we would have probably 4 family dinners a week, but now it’s 7. And sometimes family lunch!

Bill:  I’ve loved living more simply. And having Paige and the boys here to help do house or yard projects every day at least gives us all a feeling of accomplishment. Maybe the realization that we are all in this house together for most hours of the day has helped us all to try and do more nurturing to each other than we probably do in more normal times. Although before you cue up “Shiny Happy People,” I did lose my temper at dinner a few nights ago…

What’s the biggest hardship? What do you miss most?

Paige:  Biggest hardship is Bill pointing out daily a house project we all need to accomplish. True, my cabinets and car are cleaner. And the yard is taking shape. Kidding aside, it’s hard to talk about hardship when we’re not healthcare workers on the front lines. My hat is off to the true heroes of all this in the healthcare world.

Bill:  For now it is definitely the economic hit that could be before us although the real estate market still shows some definite signs of strength. I know it’s hard on my mom who lives alone and she does not like being cooped up. Not getting to watch March Madness or the Masters is a crusher. But having sports ripped away has probably made me aware of how much life revolves around sports, which might not be the greatest thing.

What has not changed at all?

Paige:  That’s an interesting question. Don’t they say the more things change, the more they stay the same? When you get to the root of it, what hasn’t changed is that we all want authentic connections. Now that we are deprived of that in face-to-face interactions, people are seeking it through Zoom and FaceTime or phone calls, texts and emails. I’m doing a Zoom meeting this week with some of my high school friends. Some of us are here in the States, one is in London, and one is in Italy, And we said, “why have we not done this before?” It took some coordination to find a time that works but it was terrific.

Bill:  Human desire for connection. When you strip so much away what is left?

Some people are feeling busier than ever in the Time of Corona. Are you?

Paige:  Yes, but it’s a different kind of busy.

Bill:  I’m actually more relaxed due to working less, reading and exercising more. And living at a very slow pace. All those things are good except for the slower business part.

What are you reading? What would you recommend?

Paige:  I just finished Ladies and Gentlemen, short stories by Adam Ross, which was brilliant. The stories were creative, captivating, and very real and human. I also read Layng Martine’s book, Permission to Fly. It’s a great read and Lang has led such an interesting life. Besides that, I have a little ADD with my reading where I read some of one thing, then switch to something else for a bit, then go back. I’m re-reading All the King’s Men, one of the greatest pieces of literature in my opinion. And also re-reading Flannery O-Conner. And some Hyperbole and a Half to lighten things up.

Bill:  Mixing in light and heavy. The Second Mountain by David Brooks is a must read; Netflix influenced me to read the first two books in the Bosch and first in the Longmire series. I was glad to finally read Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning although I drove my family crazy constantly reading out different quotes.

And The Message Bible by Eugene Peterson. And I have to mention my podcasts – I love Malcom Gladwell’s “Revisionist History” and suggest listening to his latest book, Talking to Strangers by audio.

What are you watching? What would you recommend?

Paige:  I love “Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist” on NBC! How much fun is that show? Zoe can see people singing and dancing as a way to read their thoughts. Can you imagine if you had that power? I wonder what kind of songs you’d hear your friends and family sing.

Bill:  Paige watches some shows on her own but we usually watch one show together each night: “Better Call Saul,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Homeland,” or plenty on Netflix. And we have to mention “Impractical Jokers” is our family’s go-to show at any hour of the day.

Other forms of stress relief in the Time of Corona?

Paige:  I love stand-up comedy and like to create a station on Pandora of a comedian. Then it will play little snippets of different comics and you get to discover new ones. Favorites are Nate Bargatze (from Nashville!), Mike Birbiglia, Kathleen Madigan, Karen Mills, and John Mulaney. I think being cooped up together is making us all look for some humor. My teenage son put a rubber snake in our toilet which he thought was funny. I think it’s funny, too, but I wasn’t the one who found it, thank goodness.

Bill:  Music, prayer, family togetherness, and reaching out to folks over the phone or Zoom. We belong to First Presbyterian and have enjoyed our online sermons.

What are you most looking forward to when we return to “normal”? When do you think that will be?

Paige:  I’m looking forward to being face-to-face with friends, family, and co-workers. I know the kids will be glad to be back in their groups together at school, sports, and socially. Years ago, we had two different family events on Christmas day. That morning we got calls that both families were sick and plans were canceled. All of a sudden we went from having too many places to be and too much to do, to nothing. We stayed in our PJ’s and luckily I had some frozen food to heat up. It was a nice, quiet Christmas, but I learned never to take for granted being able to be with family and having the special social time, even if it seems really hectic. So I think that’s how some of this will be, that we won’t take for granted being able to go to our dance class, have dinner with friends, be in church with family.

Bill:  Hanging out with friends. Using the new smoker our Church just purchased – we had some early momentum with cooking in the tornado neighborhoods and now we have been shelved. I don’t think things are going to get back to the way things were though. I think this event is going to cause real changes in people’s behavior. Although I had this argument with someone after the recession about whether or not people would be forever changed or would quickly fall back into the old ways. Hopefully most businesses can resume by late May or early June.

Enjoy dinner and a movie at home, friends! Thank you again for spending some time in the Bacon Neighborhood. Love, ~Jennifer

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Bird building nest in wreath on Bainbridges’ door…

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For more from Paige, check out her funny and thoughtful blog here.