Taking My Temperature With a Meat Thermometer, and Other Bizarre Things I’ve Done in Quarantine

by Alex Dickerson

Like many people in New York, I’ve been working from home since the coronavirus outbreak started getting really serious a couple weeks ago and at this point, my freak flag is at full mast. In fact, I’m writing this while wearing a caftan, a fur coat, a Carmen Miranda turban from Amazon, and the Pat McGrath red sparkle lip from 2016. So, on that note, let the reveal of quarantine oddities begin!

1. I took my temperature with a meat thermometer.
I pride myself on being a level-headed person, despite everything you’ve just read. That said, on day four of self-isolation, I had a meltdown. My eyelids were hot — usually the first indicator for me that I have a fever — and my throat felt weird.  Panicking, I dredged my medicine drawer to excavate my thermometer, purchased circa the flu of 2002, and was devastated to find the battery was dead after a mere 17 years of disuse. Shock. Horror!

I went online to purchase a functioning thermometer on Amazon Prime and found only rectal thermometers for $100 more (no, thank you!), which would arrive sometime between April 1 and May 15. Not helpful! They say necessity is the mother of invention, so cut to me pulling my meat thermometer out of the Thanksgiving drawer, inserting its dagger-like end under my tongue, and waiting anxiously to see my fate.

I am happy to report that while my meat thermometer did not give the most accurate reading, it did clock in at 96 degrees, which, given that the margin of error for most meat thermometers is +/- 1.8°F, was good enough for me. I continue to feel fine, minus the now-standard anxiety attacks.

2. I started (and finished) the Dr. Valter ProLon Cleanse and The Alcohol Experiment.
I moronically/brilliantly decided to do the Dr. Valter Longo 5 day fasting cleanse, during self-isolation. Disclaimer: after having watched the entire GOOP documentary series in one sitting in January, I just had to be like GP and do the same anti-aging ProLon Fast Mimicking cleanse. At the time, 5 days of fast mimicking sounded hard — all the plans I would have to skip out on, the excuses I’d have to make! Well, thank you COVID-19 for entirely eliminating those concerns. Never one to enjoy moderation, I simultaneously started reading The Alcohol Experiment, which challenges its reader to take 30 days off the sauce. Folks, I haven’t had a drop of booze since March 12th, and I also didn’t eat anything except astronaut food soup from March 16-20th. At this point, I fully expect to emerge from this cocoon of solitude looking like Cindy Crawford in her 1992 Pepsi commercial.

Full disclosure, I feel amazing and highly recommend both the cleanse and the book.

3. I found embarrassing, vintage photos and shared them in group chats.
I live in what I call “the sorority house,” because two of my best friends live in the same building (there are only 4 units total, and we occupy 3 of them — our poor poor 3rd floor neighbors). Naturally, we have an epic group chat, which has evolved into a forum for sharing amazing photos and odd thoughts we’ve had during isolation. My favorite one has been about American Girl dolls, the roles they played in our childhoods, and what they say about us now. In a vicious chat exchange we sussed out that Kirstens (like me) are chronic overachievers who now masquerade as boho chic fashionistas, Samanthas are snobby elitists with sailor suits on their souls, and Mollys are the loathsome people in the office who re-heat fish in the microwave at lunch.

Check out the receipts, below. And yes, one person loved her doll so much she sat for a formal Sears portrait with it. (Thank GOD we are in isolation, so they can’t come murder me for sharing this right now)

4. I’ve become a full-time witch. 
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love a good woo woo witch ritual. I call them “witchuals,” which, now that I write it, makes me sound like the priest from The Princess Bride, but whatever. Every morning, the day breaks with the lighting of my sacred palo santo stick, which I fan around the apartment with an eagle feather (found, not plucked) whilst listening to the high priestess, Stevie Nicks. I then do a glorious crystal meditation, aligning stones on my different chakral body parts. (Please, don’t ask me about my root chakra. I’m a lady.) I’ll spare you the rest of the gory details.

Anywho, after two nights of fitful sleep, I took things to the next level when I used my heartiest pair of Fendi loafers to hack my chakra ritual amethyst into smaller pieces, so I could have at least one piece on either side of my bed. Why, you ask? Because amethyst purifies your thoughts and helps promote restful slumber. Laugh all you want, but I slept like a baby last night.


Admittedly, I felt vulnerable sharing this weirdness, so I reached out to some friends to see if they had any unusual behavior to report. Oh, how the stories poured in! Here are some of my favorites:

“Planning to tint and perm my own eyelashes and eyebrows.  Nearly bought an emergency munchkin kitten and uncovered a scam in the process.  Planning to film a series of gummy bear videos.  Considered painting a self portrait accent wall.  Thinking about creating social media accounts for my alter egos.  Orrr…should they be more health related?”
@JILD aka Baby Jules. (Follow her Twitter to find out how she went viral — back when that was a good thing — a few years ago via an act of odd and creative courage on BART in San Francisco.)

“My dad and I have Chinese tea time every day, as we watch Cuomo and discuss how he’s the real stable genius.  We commence the ritual by screaming ‘It’s Cuomo Time!’ to each other.”
– Amber Katz, @rouge_18

“I’m in a landslide of obscure behavior.  Yesterday I spent the better part of 25 minutes trying to come up with an excuse to cancel a virtual hangout, I ate one less chip to save on needing to get more food, I accidentally joined an IG Live of someone I don’t follow in a failed attempt to secretly stalk them (still praying they didn’t see me), and then I googled ‘Andrew Cuomo relationship status,’ ‘What are allergy symptoms?’ ‘YouTube videos on how to cut your own hair,’ and ‘How much EmergenC is too much EmergenC?'”
– Anonymous male

My main takeaway from this is we are collectively letting our freak flags fly inside, so embrace your inner weirdos while you can! There’s safety in numbers, after all.

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