Stuart and friends after breaking out the costume box and dancing to Bill Withers songs in the kitchen. (Courtesy photo)

Stuart and friends after breaking out the costume box and dancing to Bill Withers songs in the kitchen. (Courtesy photo)

How are you staying sane in quarantine?

Movies and TV shows didn’t prepare me for how boring the apocalypse would be.

How are you doing? Are you staying safe and sane? What a weird and confusing time we’re living through. Movies and TV shows didn’t prepare me for how boring the apocalypse would be.

A month ago, I was writing this column from my parents’ kitchen table. I’d flown to San Diego with the plan of driving up to Universal Studios with my mom so we could visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Luckily, we decided against it at the last minute.

This was at the very beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. SFO at noon on a Saturday was as empty as when you land at 3 am and my photos made the rounds of the internet like a fascinating novelty. Trump and his GOP lap dogs were trying to spin the virus as a hoax, even though we now know they were aware of the truth. People were still eating in restaurants and the bars stayed open until 2 am.

What a long, strange month it’s been.

Things at my place have been blessedly copacetic. Kayla and I are getting along really well, though we’ve realized it’s likely we’ll have to postpone our October wedding. Our roommates Rebecca and Daniel are great and our place has just enough room that everyone can have their own space when they want to. That said we’re also hanging out a lot. From board games to Zoom chat trivia to family meals, we’re spending a lot of time together. On Friday we even broke into the costume box and ended up dancing, costumed, to Bill Withers songs in the kitchen. I guess we’re doing our part to keep San Francisco weird.

I got out of the house yesterday…or was it the day before? That seems to be the problem. At this point there are only three days a week: yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Everything else blurs together. Suddenly stoned thoughts like “What is time anyways” don’t seem that out there.

I’m managing to stay busy though. We’re still publishing 2-3 articles a day, even though we are down to a skeleton crew. We’re actually getting the most traffic we’ve received since Facebook changed the algorithm to deprioritize media pages after Zuckerberg felt guilty for helping subvert Democracy. It’s amazing how Facebook managed to screw over every publisher in the world, yet hasn’t done a damn thing to stop the spread of White Supremacy, Fascism, and fake news. But I digress…

Otherwise I’m spending my time trying to figure out how to continue to make a living. And playing video games. I’m playing a lot of video games. There are worse ways to spend all this extra free time.

One thing I’m excited about is all the creative things that will come out of this era of quarantine. Right now, there are incredibly talented and brilliant people taking the old adage of “necessity is the mother of invention” very seriously. They might be swapping “necessity” for “boredom”, but you know, same/same. I have a feeling a whole lot of folks have enough time and enough restrictions on their hands to come up with some brand-new art forms. Video chatting might be the new medium through which this art is explored.

On my end, I’m focusing that part of my brain on interviewing interesting and creative people. Last week I talked to The Bitchy Waiter via Instagram Live about how he’s staying sane and what the impact of all this has been on the restaurant industry. I’m currently setting up interviews with other luminaries in arts, politics, media, and activism, and I just landed on a new format I’m calling “Five Faves.” On top of talking to people about how they are surviving the quarantine, I’ll be asking them to show me their favorite book, piece of art, article of clothing, coffee mug, and tchotchke they have at their home, and tell me why they love it. I’ll be sharing these videos on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, so follow along if you want to stay entertained.

How about you? What are you doing to stay sane? How are you passing the time? I hope you’re not losing your mind and I hope you’re staying healthy. I’m looking forward to dark dive bars and all-night dance parties. I’m excited to order a quesadilla suiza and eat it in a taqueria, and I can’t wait until I get to tip a waiter somewhere…anywhere. Most of all I’m eager to see my friends again and give them all big long hugs.

Sending you all my love from Shelter-in-Place City.

Stuart Schuffman is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at and join his mailing list at His column appears every other Thursday. He is a guest columnist and his point of view is not necessarily that of the Examiner.

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