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What are you doing with the time you would have spent watching the Jackets in the playoffs?

I’m curious.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Columbus Blue Jackets at Tampa Bay Lightning John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Since 2017, the Blue Jackets have been dependable first-round staples of the Stanley Cup playoffs. That means for the last four summers, we’ve all devoted a fairly decent chunk of time to post-season playoff hockey - but not this year! This summer, we’ve earned a well-deserved break from watching the Jackets flounder through a shallow playoff run after a pretty painful and abbreviated regular season.

So... what’s everyone doing with their extra free time?

I don’t closely follow any other NHL teams - sure, I'm on Hockey Twitter and I know when exciting stuff happens, and if I had to pick a team, I’d pick whoever MrSwift13 is rooting for, but I haven’t been watching games. First of all, I simply don’t want to spend money on NHL TV, and second of all, I’ve been up to other stuff! I’m fully vaccinated and the world is my oyster, or something to that effect.

Here’s what I’ve been doing in my free time, sans CBJ games:

Watching television programs that are equivalently painful to watching a CBJ loss.

Have y’all been keeping up with the new season of Handmaid’s Tale? That show has been rocking my world. On the lighter side, my buddy Will Chase has been reminding me that the new season of Dave is about to come out - guess that means I still need to binge the first one! Oh, I’m also watching Peaky Blinders for the first time. I love an action-packed Bri’ish show, but I could also just watch Cillian Murphy chain smoke cigarettes for hours on end and be equally as happy.

Trying not to freak out about the new head coach situation.

For some of us, this may feel like a nightmare, worst-case scenario... and that might be true, eventually! But there’s no way of knowing yet, and I’m not typically in the business of worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. I’m willing to let him give it a try before I truly grouse about it. I would be lying if I said my hopes were high, though!

Reading. A LOT.

I turn into a bookworm in the summer, mostly because I’m able to combine my love of literature with my love of sitting in the sun like a lizard who hasn’t seen daylight in the past six months, because that pretty much has been the case. I’m currently greatly enjoying A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and Death In The Air by Kate Winkler Dawson. What are you all reading? Oh my gosh, should we start a Cannon book club?? Please express any/all interest in the comments.

Reentering the public sphere.

I mentioned I got vaccinated a few months back - still waiting to hear from Mr. DeWine that I’ve won the Vax-A-Million sweepstakes; expecting that call any day now - please get vaccinated if you haven’t! It protects yourself and everyone around you, and life is slowly but surely slipping back into a semblance of normal because of it.

It’s been amazing to be social again! The pandemic made me realize that social skills are like muscles - if you don’t flex them every once in awhile, you’ll lose ‘em! Sure, in a truly PERFECT world, I’d be practicing my social skills while sipping a beer and watching the Blue Jackets in a playoff game, but I’m perfectly happy to plant myself on any patio and chat with my friends or with strangers; CBJ game on or not.

Planning trips!

I haven’t been on an airplane since January 2020, and that has been really difficult for me - I really struggle when I have to stay in the same place for too long. Fortunately, I’m so excited to have a few trips on the horizon: Charleston and Buffalo in July, plus I’ll be camping for the first time on Catawba (please pray for me, as I’ve never spent a night outside in my life) and then Austin and Dallas in October. Also, I have a freaking slew of weddings coming up due to a backlog of pandemic engagements, so that’ll be fun! Where are you going now that you’re able? Got any recs for these places? Please share!

So what are you up to, now that the world is reopening and the Jackets are vacationing? Who are you rooting for in the playoffs? What are you reading or watching? Where are your favorite places to hang, in Columbus or elsewhere? Sound off in the comments!