Years ago, on a Foo Fighters tour in Australia, I decided to spend a rare day off visiting a petting zoo outside Sydney to get a glimpse of some of the indigenous wildlife. You know … hold a koala! Feed an emu! Maybe kick it with the crocs!
What I remember most from that day isn’t the snuggling of furry little critters you’ve seen in those Qantas commercials. No. It’s a mangy wombat, running at top speed, carving a figure-eight track into the dirt of its small pen like a Supercross racer.
Hi, I’m Dave Grohl. Welcome to quarantine!
In order to get through this difficult period (and I truly believe that we will get through this, in time), it is important to recognize the many stages of isolation and anxiety, and to pair them with appropriate musical accompaniment. Here are a few suggestions that you might find helpful. (The full playlist is on Spotify, too.)
STAGE 1: Preparation
You’ve stockpiled enough pasta to feed an entire Olive Garden for a month, you’ve cataloged your toilet-paper rolls down to the individual sheet (who uses only one?), and you’ve upgraded to liquor bottles with handles on them. You’ve got this! Put on “Let’s Go,” by the Cars, and get into it, folks. You’re going to be here a while.
STAGE 2: Nesting
Bust out the vacuum and the antibacterial wipes, water your wilting ferns, and finally experiment with a little feng shui! Why the heck not? Home is where the heart is, no? Release your inner Marie Kondo to “Our House,” by Madness!
STAGE 3: Productivity
You’ve finally realized that painting isn’t your thing, yoga’s a bore, and you’re a terrible juggler. Why not learn to cook? Catch up on some reading? Alphabetize your vintage-laser-disc collection? All the while skipping to “Ahmad’s Waltz,” by Ahmad Jamal!
STAGE 4: Virtual connection
You’ve now been reduced to having online cocktails every night with your friends, like a special episode of The Brady Bunch, if The Brady Bunch were set in hell. Not exactly a major rager at the corner dive bar, but you gotta do what you gotta do! Blow off a little steam with “Drunk Girls,” by LCD Soundsystem.
STAGE 5: Online learning
Is your house turning into Welcome Back, Kotter on Zoom? At least my kids have a high-school dropout for a father. They’d never risk their college careers by asking me for help. Slam the laptop shut, and crank “School’s Out,” by Alice Cooper.
STAGE 6: Intimacy
Are you fortunate enough to be confined with a loved one? Dim the lights, and ride out this love apocalypse with the soothing sounds of “Moments in Love,” by Art of Noise. Face masks recommended, because WWFD? (What Would Fauci Do?)
STAGE 7: Claustrophobia
Much like my wombat friend down under, you have now carved a figure eight on your living-room carpet from being boxed-in for weeks. At least astronauts have a killer view! “Bullet With Butterfly Wings,” by the Smashing Pumpkins, says it all.
STAGE 8: Panic
Shit’s getting weird. You haven’t looked in a mirror in days, you’re wearing holes in your Lululemons, and you’re starting to believe in UFOs from clocking too many hours on YouTube. You might as well put on “Linus and Lucy,” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, make gingerbread cookies, and wait for the aliens. Merry Christmas!
STAGE 9: Insanity
It’s official. You’re going nuts. You’re down to one bottle of coconut vodka, you’ve memorized all of Cards Against Humanity, and Anderson Cooper is showing up in your dreams. “Crazy,” by Patsy Cline, never sounded better.
Stage 10: Hope
Perhaps the most important part of this peculiar process. I hope that someday soon we can all step outside and share some music together. Sing along to “Here Comes the Sun,” by the Beatles, and I know you’ll feel a little better.
In the meantime, go wash your fucking hands.