If a mullet is business in the front, party in the back, Hilda is the work-from-home equivalent. From the neck up it’s pearls, makeup and softly styled hair, but below that beaded necklace? Hilda is a hot, sloppy, gloriously comfortable mess. She hasn’t worn a bra for weeks. She can’t remember the last time she pulled on a pair of pants with a button. Her socks have holes in them and there are chocolate stains across the thighs of her track suit bottoms. Hilda’s greatest fear? Her webcam slipping from its perch and exposing her pajama party on the bottom secret to all her co-workers.
Paula the Prepper
Paula’s got a bunker under her kitchen full of tinned tomatoes and bags of beans. Her pantry is padded, her larder is laden, and her cupboards are crammed. There’s enough spaghetti to feed a small army and enough disinfectant wipes to perform surgery in her kitchen if she needs to–which she’s fully prepared to do. She’s got instructions for an emergency trach and a ball point pen in her back pocket. The basement houses enough toilet paper to wipe all the asses in the county…or sell on the black market if the economy tanks. Paula’s been ready for the total breakdown of society since she watched Red Dawn as a kid. She’s been prepping for this her entire life. Bring.It.On.
Winnie has pandemic stats on constant refresh on her browser, running live all day, every day, like a stock ticker. She devours every article and can tell you the average age of the citizens of every country plus the breakdown of cases vs. deaths vs. recovery. Winnie’s a one-woman walking Wiki for all things pandemic related. New cases before breakfast, deaths before dinner. She knows what time the numbers come out and her discerning eye can tell an increase from a decrease at first sight. Winnie’s starting to think she missed her calling as a statistician. Or maybe a bookie.
When half the world was panic-buying hand-sanitizer, Priya was smiling to her Purell-ed self. How often was she the butt of germaphobic jokes? How often did folks scoff at her vigorous hand-washing? Who’s got the last laugh now? That’s right. Priya does. Priya’s been stashing purse-sized bottles of Purell for years. Every handbag, every glove compartment, every backpack and bag has a bottle. From key-ring size to 7/11 slurpee super-size, from low alcohol content to high octane, Priya’s got you–and your hands–covered. Her motto: “I love the smell of disinfectant in the morning.”
Felicia the Fox Fan
Felicia knows this whole virus malarky is nothing more than a hoax to make her president look bad. Ok, maybe it’s not a hoax, but it’s definitely Hillary’s fault. Anyway, it’s definitely not the #BeBest-est president ever’s fault. It’s the Chinese! She’s never going to eat Kung Pao Chicken again, even though it’s her favorite. Anyway, even if it’s bad now, it’ll all be over by Easter. Nobody can tell Felicia she can’t go to church. She lives in America! If someone else doesn’t like it, they can leave! Maybe by Easter she’ll be able to order Kung Pao Chicken again. It’ll be hard to give that up for long. It really is her favorite.
Isobel cannot believe her luck. Home, in pajamas all day every day until further notice? Pinch her because she must be dreaming. While the rest of the world freaks the hell out, Isobel’s never been so relaxed. She’s sleeping late, eating well, and chilling. Happy hours and parties online and she doesn’t need to shave her legs? Quarantini, anyone? Zoom her at eight! Take-out is suddenly helping the economy? Having her groceries delivered is heroic? Is it her birthday?? Christmas? Isobel is in isolation heaven.
Hetty the Humane
Hetty was the first to dig out her old sewing machine and start stitching masks. She was the first to organize meals for healthcare workers and coffee for caregivers. She’s coordinated public applause nights for the frontlines and arranged logistical drop offs. She’s out there reminding folks about the hazards of check out clerks and take-out drivers. She’s checking in on lonely relatives, writing notes and cards to nursing homes, and single-handedly keeping Girl Scouts afloat with her Thin Mint addiction. She is a one-woman good-deed factory. Praise her. She deserves it.
Trudy the Tidier
If she’s going to be stuck inside, Trudy is determined to tackle the cupboards, the closets, the drawers and the filing cabinet, not to mention the medical files. What better time to get organized, right? Her recipe book needs updating and the attic could do with an overhaul. It’s time to streamline the financials and the basement’s a mess. No Netflix and chips for her. No, siree. She’s going to get in shape, learn another language, and write that novel that’s been swirling around in her head in between learning to play guitar. Really this time is a gift, if you think about it. No way Trudy is going to waste it on Facebook. No way. Things to do, do, do. Just as soon as she finishes that Buzzfeed quiz about what flower you’d be in a dystopian landscape…
Ollie the Optimist
Sure, global pandemics are scary, but did you see how much carbon emissions are down by?? Surely this will finally convince Americans that health care is a right, right?? By golly, yes, bad things are happening, and lots of people are dying, but this is a chance for real change! A chance to do good. It’s a time for the best bits of humanity to shine. The light! The love! The worst of times but also the best of times! Stop posting death rates, Debbie Downer! Let’s grab this pandemic by the horns and ride it into the future!
As always with these Nine Lives posts, I end up finding a little bit of myself in each archetype. The question is, which one are you?
Stay safe people, and most importantly, stay home.