Finding bright spots in the darkness. Chapter 3.

I’ve learned that baking your own bread is fun, provided you have the power tools to cut it.

I’ve had time to learn about wines. It turns out California Pinot Noir, with its vanilla and raspberry notes, pairs well with leftover leftovers. Also, the white peach and kiwi notes of Sauvignon Blanc make it an excellent breakfast wine.

In life before lockdown, I was constantly in a rush. But in the past month I haven’t hurried once, other than the morning I was late getting to my couch.

Arriving late to your 1 p.m. Zoom conference because you overslept is now a perfectly acceptable excuse.

Isolation has made me more compassionate with telemarketers. I used to repel them by asking: “What are you wearing?” or “Will you marry me?” But now I take time to find out how they’re coping with the craziness, if they’re still in their robe too, and discuss deep topics like their favorite Girl Scout cookie. I’ve become particularly close with Sheri from Magic Pillow. She gets me.

Solitude is also the opportunity to reconnect with your imaginary childhood friend. It’s been a lot of fun to hang with Roscoe again, although he gets pretty obnoxious when he beats me at chess. He has yet to beat me at Operation. The funny bone always gets him.

My Christmas shopping is already done. I have 28 Magic Pillows.

I’m working my way through the American Film Institute 100 Greatest Films. But there have been disappointments, for instance Titanic. I just didn’t think it was that funny.

Thanks to YouTube, I learned free solo rock climbing. I made my first successful ascent on the north face of my refrigerator. The view from the summit was spectacular.

We’re blessed to have so many safely distanced outdoor options here on Martha’s Vineyard. I finally tried my hand at clamming. At first, I tried with my fly rod but had very limited success. I discovered that explosives are much more efficient. The key is using just enough to propel them to shore, but not so much that you crack their little shells.

Parents are getting creative in home schooling with practical word problems like “How many martinis does Jill have left if she only has one-third of a fifth of gin?” and “How many Advil will Jill need in the morning if she finishes it?

Sheri from Magic Pillow and I are getting married. Roscoe will be my best man. Our tele-wedding will be on Zoom. You’re all invited.

Barry Stringfellow lives in Edgartown.

Read part one and part two of his stay-at-home humor series.