As we speak, I’m cooped up in my Winnipeg apartment slowly descending into madness from self-isolation. And yes, I realize, you are too. We all are. Well, maybe not in Winnipeg, but you know what I mean. I truly believe that by the time we get out of this, we’re all going to be a lot more zen and a lot more unhinged. No, I don’t think those two things cancel each other out.
So yes, by the way, I moved to Winnipeg. I don’t think I mentioned that on the blog before. I really did have every intention of writing all about why I chose to move to Winnipeg and everything I’ve been up to, but then, of course, the it-that-must-not-be-named hit. Does it even matter that I moved right now? Not really. The only thing that it’s changed is that instead of isolating in Saskatchewan in my cozy childhood home with my family, I’m isolating very much alone.
It’s amazing. When the cashier at the grocery store is the only person you talk to face-to-face in the course of a week, you soak up that interaction as hard as you can. I don’t make them feel awkward or anything, I just make intense eye-contact with them while taking as long as I can to pack my groceries.
Jokes aside, at the end of all this, I’d like to hear the tales of grocery store employees, I really would.
Right now, we live in a world where even going to the grocery store feels like a James Bond mission that we might not make it back from in one piece. We shun our neighbors who gather in groups. And, for those of us living in city apartments all by themselves sans balcony, we dream of traveling to distant locales — a tropical island, perhaps?
Lazing on a beach, the sand in our hair, the sun beating down and tanning our supple quarantined bodies. Of course, as I think about being on an island, I can’t help feel as though I’m already on an island.
Isolation has given me nobody but myself to talk to, the squirrel that lives in my courtyard tree has become my best friend, and nobody has any idea when this is going to be over.
Replace squirrel with beached whale and voila, it’s tropical.
Now, come on. I can hear you groaning from here. I know better than to complain about my circumstances on the internet. Trust me, that’s not what I’m doing, I know that I’m very fortunate given the circumstances. And I’ve seen the movie castaway. I’m very much aware of the realities of living on a desert island for years on end with nobody to talk to but a volleyball (uh, in theory).
But more than anything, isolation has shown me the things that, if I have to be alone for any length of time, I really don’t want to have to live without. The things that, even if you took away everything else — my shelter, my sunlight alarm clock, and my microwave — I’d still have a pretty good life.
This was not an easy list to make.
Okay, that’s a lie. This list really didn’t take me that long to put together — mostly because, as I said, I already feel like I’m on a desert island. We all are. We have now gone where humanity has never gone before (since 1918, I mean, and then all the times before that, but who’s counting anyway?)
More than ever in my life, I feel like I know what’s up when it comes to what I truly need — I’m not saying I know a lot, but hell, I know more than I did at the beginning of March 2020.
So, without further ado, my top 3 self-isolation inspired desert island must-have’s:
Thing #1 – Substances
Here’s the thing, I just don’t think that I could spend any long amount of time on a desert island totally sober.
Now, I mean a lot of things by this, but what I think you need to understand is that this 100% includes coffee. Because you’re not putting me on a desert island without my timed coffee maker and high-quality beans. It just wouldn’t end well. I’d roast the beans in the sun and grind them in a coconut — it would all be very eco-friendly.
Now, exploring what else I mean by this — I feel like I need to put a disclaimer. it’s not like I’m sitting at home getting blitzed all the time while in self-isolation — I wasn’t really a big drinker before — but I’ve fully accepted a new kind of #quarantini life. If you’re an alcohol drinker, tell me a desert island wouldn’t be made 10x better with a mimosa.
And yes, I know alcohol lowers your immune system and doesn’t help the C-word, but I don’t think this article is the place to battle royale that out.
Now, I realize that there are some risks with this. I mean, I would never want to come in contact with a wild animal while drunk or on something else. Certainly while on coffee, maybe after a mimosa, but definitely not on drugs. Can you even imagine? Running away from a snake or a cheetah (let’s pretend I could outrun a cheetah) while paranoid, stumbling, or having hallucinated that animal in the first place.
Okay, so maybe no hallucinogenic substances. Just the other stuff.
Thing #2 – A Boyfriend
Okay, okay. I know what you’re thinking. Choosing a dude to escort me to my fictional desert island is kind of cheating on the integrity of the exercise. And, while we’re at it, how dare I speak of another human being as a “thing”.
But… if self-isolation has taught me anything, it’s that talking to myself gets old fast. I can only have the same conversation so many times, and the arguments… they get heated.
Plus, I’m really not that great at building stuff. So, diving into archetypical masculine traits, I’d need someone along who knows how to throw together a ramshackle shelter, at the very least. And like, if we’re going to be on the island for a while, I wouldn’t mind an actual house either — a bamboo house or a McMansion — I really don’t care as long as I can have my own office. Ya girl likes her independence.
I’ve also never killed an animal for food before and that’s 100% going to be an issue.
I really don’t think this is too much to ask for, but if it is then I’ll also take a cat. A cat who can forage for berries, catch fish, and help build the shelter.
Thing #3 – A Harmonica
Let me preface this by saying: I don’t know how to play the harmonica. I do have one though. I bought it in Toronto a couple of months before I left on my big European adventure in 2017.
Basically, I wanted to be Bob Dylan. You know, feet dangling out of a rail car, satchel slung over my shoulder, writing the next great American novel kind of Bob Dylan. All the while wailing on the harmonica like a pro (one thing Bob Dylan actually does out of this list). I knew this specific scenario was a lot to ask for as I started off on my big journey, but I nailed the intention.
But I think that one of the main reasons I’ve never actually learned how to play the harmonica is because it’s annoying AF to other people. There’s no way I could just pick up my harmonica and start learning to play while living in an apartment building. Hell, I even felt self-conscious when I was living in a house. I mean, I had neighbors.
So then, you ask, why did I choose to bring a harmonica to the desert island when I’m not even playing it on my current self-isolation island?
Because I’m gonna need my tunes. Besides all the aforementioned driftery-intention stuff, which totally comes into play here, I wasn’t sure if bringing a smartphone to the island was practical (no signal means no Spotify access), and there’s no way I’m lugging all my records around.
Nope, it’s time to make my own music.
And yes, being on a desert island will finally give me the privacy I need to actually learn the dang instrument.
Things I Would Make On The Island From Trees & Stuff:
A Banana Leaf Eyemask – I need my beauty sleep.
Tiger Tooth Necklace – For cred.
Dewdrop Telescope – I recently re-watched A Bug’s Life and I think it would be handy.
Sunglasses – If it isn’t too hard to find some amber and shine it up, that is.
That’s it for my top 3 desert-island must-have’s!
Thanks for reading this insane article — it was probably the most cathartic thing I’ve written in ages. If it didn’t give you a chuckle, I hope you started judging me hard enough that you stopped thinking about it-that-must-not-be-named for a few minutes.
This is a strange time for all of us and I hope you’re staying safe and healthy out there. xx
P.S. All photos in this post were taken on Isla Mujeres, Mexico