21 Things You Can Do Instead of Violating Your 21 Day Ebola Quarantine

Sometimes when you’re potentially (or most definitely) exposed to Ebola and you’re quarantined for 21 days, you just go a bit stir crazy. We’ve all been there. Endless 24/7 news coverage of your face on Fox News with talking heads screaming about how you put the country at risk simply by existing. People on Twitter calling for your execution. Sometimes you just want to get away from it all, amirite?

You just want your favorite soup to comfort you. You just want to put it all behind you and jet set off to start planning your wedding. Or you really want to go on that cruise you booked months in advance, even though there’s no way in hell they’d give you a hard time if you called and said “yo, I’m about to bring Ebola on board, can I reschedule?”.

But you’re either being “closely” monitored or you’re quarantined, albeit voluntarily, for 21 days, and you’re feeling a lot of pressure to stay inside your house. But rather than sneaking out with the rest of your Ebola-exposed crew for take-out food, or hopping on a plane with a low grade fever, or sailing the seven seas with some 4,000 other people who basically then become involuntarily quarantined with you, try these 21 things you can do at home instead of violating your Ebola quarantine.


First, a few notes.

  • To the nurse who flew from Dallas to Cleveland to plan a wedding, your wedding is really important. TO YOU. The rest of the country doesn’t care, so don’t put them at risk. Great, now you have Ebola, and you flew on a plane with 130+ people. If a movie is ever made about this, Samuel L. Jackson is already cast to stop you. YOUR WEDDING PLANS CAN WAIT. I promise.
  • To the TV medical expert, aka an actual MD, who had a hankering for soup from a local deli, that soup is crazy delicious, I’m sure. Totally worth ditching quarantine and hiding in the back seat of a car while you sent your lackeys in for that sweet, sweet nectar. I’m sure, as a doctor, you realize that any time you dine out during cold and flu season at any restaurant, your soup may be made by a minimum wage worker who may have influenza but can’t afford to call in sick – hope you got your flu shot, just in case he sneezed in the broth. Ha ha! Just kidding, restaurant owners, don’t sue me.
  • To the lab worker from the Ebola-ridden hospital who hopped on a cruise ship with her hubby to just get away from it all: man those Caribbean cruises are so magical. Nothing says relaxation like causing mass panic in a captive audience who have only two options: jump overboard in the chaos and take their chances in the open water, or tear you apart limb-from-limb when the mob mentality sets in. Okay, so maybe neither of those scenarios are presently happening, but I’ve seen movies. Oh, and nevermind that minor political incident between the U.S. and Belize – oopsies! NBD.


Now then, onto the 21 things you can if, you know, none of those scenarios sound particularly appealing to you.

  1. Don’t feel like cooking? Order delivery. Leave the money on the doorstep, ask the delivery guy to leave the food on the doorstep. Open the door after he’s gone, get your food, and enjoy.
  2. Binge-watch Netflix. You’re probably too busy being a journalist, nurse or lab director to watch all your favorite TV shows. GOOD NEWS! YOU HAVE 21 DAYS TO CATCH UP! You’re going to LOVE how the latest season of OITNB ends, man. And don’t forget Hulu and Amazon Prime! You are totally set.
  3. Missing your BFFs big time? FaceTime and Skype are on your side. Or do what Felicia Day does, get drunk and record a Google Hangout on Air about vaginas and literature (and specifically, the effect of literature on vaginas) with a few of your besties.
  4. Oh my God…you actually have time to try that thing on Pinterest. Go for it. Go for them all.
  6. It’s fall! Get out the crock pot. Time to slow cook some stew up in this mutha. Think how good it’ll smell while you’re catching up on House of Cards, and seriously, don’t even blink when watching that shiz because you’ll be like “whaaa?” and have to rewind. It just happens that fast.

    SEE WHAT I DID THERE? Get it? Dr. Who? Blink?
    SEE WHAT I DID THERE? Get it? Dr. Who? Blink?
  7. Learn to knit. Don’t have yarn? Rip up an old t-shirt. Don’t have knitting needles? Use your arm. Apparently there is never an excuse for not knitting, ever.
  8. Decorate your house for Halloween. Take a white sheet and spray paint “EBOLA HOUSE” in black or red for maximum impact. Hang in the window. The neighborhood will love it!
  9. Watch the stock market. You’ll chuckle when you see how stocks in airfare took a plunge after you made everybody in America think twice about flying. The same will probably happen with cruises. And it would happen with fresh-made soup, except I don’t think there’s a stock market for that.
  10. Missing gym time? Dig out those Sweatin’ to the Oldies tapes that were, at one point, federally mandated in every American household. I swear doing the pony with Richard Simmons is as good as any elliptical. Can’t find your VHS player? GOOD NEWS: Sweatin to the Oldies: Disco Sweat (which critics unanimously agreed was the best Sweatin to the Oldies, apart from Roger Ebert who gave it a lukewarm reception) is on YouTube!
  11. Play a video game. Did you know Minecraft is still a thing? I know, right? And Destiny – shut up and take my money. Bonus: if you own an Xbox One, domestic spies can make sure you’re not violating your, er, voluntary quarantine!
  12. Do a Reddit AMA. “I May or May Not Have Ebola, AMA.” Or just read this one.
  13. Donate to charity and do good right from the comfort of your desk, in your fuzzy PJs. I’ve heard there are some people in West Africa who need help.
  14. Meditate. I recommend Meditation for CRAZY BITCHES.
  15. Read a book. Or many. Gone Girl is supposed to have a crazy twist. I’ll never know, because I don’t read crap like that.
  16. Button down shirt? Check. Socks? Check. Candlestick? Check. Ready. Set. Go.
    Duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh. Duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh.
    Just take those old records off the shelf.
    I’ll sit and listen to them by myself.
    (Which you very may well be doing if you end up in involuntary isolation.)
  17. Take selfies. In the bathroom mirror. In the shower. On the toilet. At the kitchen sink. In the linen closet. Take selfies with your dog. Take selfies with a cake. People freakin’ love selfies. Your Facebook friends will be all over that like white on rice. Oh those sweet, sweet ‘likes’.
  18. Vaguebook. I’ll give you some status updates to copy/paste:
    – Ugh.
    – Lol.
    – Wondering why I even bother.
    – Should I?
    – I’m over this.
    – One day at a time.
    – Just. Breathe.
    – When you text him and he doesn’t text back.
    – Thinking…
    – FML.
    – Don’t even ask, I don’t want to talk about it.
  19. Tweet Cher. Don’t forget the emoji.
  20. Plan your wedding on Pinterest. For the nurse actually planning a wedding, this is really good advice. But since the advent of secret pinboards, everybody has planned a wedding on Pinterest. Everybody.
  21. Act like a grown up. Realize that YES, THIS IS HAPPENING TO YOU. You are being monitored by the CDC. You may be in voluntary quarantine. Ebola has touched your life – Ebola, a crazy African disease you thought would never, ever in a million years be at your doorstep. It’s here. This is not a dream. This is not a drill. Be a responsible adult. Be a responsible citizen. Don’t fly with a fever. Don’t put yourself on a cruise during the 21 days it takes for Ebola symptoms to manifest. Don’t go out for soup. Be reasonable. Don’t put others at risk. Think about somebody other than yourself. You’ll get through this. Even if you actually come down with Ebola, remember, you’re in America, and we have some hospitals that can handle this. (I think there are like 4. But don’t worry, you’ll end up in one of them. Maybe.) Your chances of surviving are far better here, because our medicine is more advanced. You may want to tear your hair out at the thought of sitting in your house for 21 days, stewing over the worry that you may or may not have Ebola virus inside of you. You may want to go anywhere, do anything, absolutely anything other than have to face that. It’s OK. Everybody will be on your side if you stay smart, and don’t be selfish. It’s that simple.