There’s no single guidebook for adapting to life during the coronavirus pandemic.
But Home Alone, the 1990 Christmas movie starring Macaulay Culkin, has some wisdom to offer. Yes, really.
Even though it was released 30 years ago and is about an eight-year-old called Kevin McAllister protecting his home from two hapless robbers while his parents are away.
Here’s what we can take away from Home Alone for our own lives today:
1. Don’t touch your face
After Kevin gently pats aftershave on his face in not one but two bathroom scenes, the sting makes him yelp a huge “Aaaaaah!”
Let that “Aaaaaah!” ring loud as a constant reminder: Don’t touch your face.
After all, that’s what authorities are advising people to do to help stop the spread of the virus.
2. Even though you’re working from home, consider getting dressed
Would Kevin have been so productive and focused if he’d stayed in his pyjamas all day?
Notice that he gets dressed in pants and a smart but casual jumper every morning to meet his responsibilities as protector of the house.
If you’re working from home at the moment, experts also recommend to change out of your pyjamas.
Fashion journalist Anabel Maldonado says many of us are more confident and happier when we like our outfits.
3. Know your enemy, and have a plan
In Home Alone, the enemy is the Wet Bandits, a burglar duo made up of Harry and Marv, who plot to break into the McAllister home.
Because Kevin knows his enemy, he’s able to create a plan to thwart their every move with booby traps.
In our current era, the ‘enemy’ is the virus.
- While Kevin covers the staircase with tar, we cover our hands with soap and water and wash them thoroughly for at least 20 seconds
- In the same way that Kevin is mindful of cleanliness (by also washing his clothes while his family is away), we can be mindful of germs by coughing or sneezing into our elbows with a clean tissue, then throwing the tissue in the bin
- While Kevin tries to maintain distance from Harry and Marv at all times, we should stay 1.5 metres away from others to maintain social distancing.
4. Support local businesses and consider zero-contact delivery
Remember “Keep the change, ya filthy animal”?
It’s from Angels With Filthy Souls, the black-and-white gangster movie featured in Home Alone.
Kevin plays clips from the film to communicate with the Little Nero Pizza delivery guy when he arrives at his door, to ensure he can pay for his cheese pizza with zero physical contact.
Be like Kevin. Continue supporting small local businesses if you can and do it in the most socially distant way possible.
(Do not however, finish your transactions with the gunfire sound effects. This is unnecessary.)
5. Get to know your neighbours
While there are rumours Kevin’s neighbour “Old Man Marley” is a serial killer, his experience gives him the opportunity to get to know the real man behind the reputation.
In fact – spoiler alert – Old Man Marley and Kevin end up helping each other.
Many people, like Ipswich couple Vicky and Siamak Mohajerin, have gotten to know their neighbours for the first time during this period.
Do you have a neighbour who you could help reunite with their estranged son, drop a note to, or chat to over the fence?
6. Be polite to frontline workers
Not everyone has the luxury of staying home alone.
Like Kevin, when you’re shopping, take the time to acknowledge that people who work there are human.
A hello, a chat, a denial that you’re there at the supermarket solo (you’re eight-years-old) – these all make a difference.
Because this is what it’s like working at a supermarket right now.
7. Stay home
Like the movie title suggests – another spoiler alert – Kevin stayed home alone. He flattened the Wet Bandits’ hopes of burglary success.
Where possible, stay home to flatten the curve.
This means avoiding going out unless you are shopping for what you need, receiving medical care, exercising, or travelling to work or education, according to the latest federal government advice.
8. Know there are happy reunions in our future
Home Alone ends with the enemy defeated, and hugs (remember those?) with loved ones.
While there’s no firm date for a coronavirus vaccine and the end of social distancing, know that some day there will be many happy reunions for us, too.
Until then, don’t touch your face! (“Aaaaaaah!”)