Life in the Quicksand

A while back, some podcast did an episode where they talked about this moment in time — maybe the 1990s? — when everyone was legitimately afraid of quicksand, which turns out is… maybe not really a thing? I can’t remember. At the very least, it wasn’t something you were going to fall victim to in your suburban schoolyard.

The point I’m getting to is — right now life is a little quicksand-y. Every time something seems like it MIGHT be certain, another shift happens.

It reminds me of this penguin game on Lumosity where the ice floes keep shifting and you have to walk them through a maze as it happens. I’m really bad at it. Who can solve a maze when “up” keeps turning upside down?

In the last week, there were moments where major shifts seem to be happening and I temporarily panicked — thinking that all restaurants were going to be closed, or they weren’t going to be allowed to sell groceries.

It turns out that one of my lines in the (regular) sand is — as long as there’s access to food from the outside world, we’ll be okay. But I feel like I have to be prepared for the terms of that to shift… in the past few weeks, some of our favorite places (Magpies, Pine & Crane, new-to-the-scene Sogo Roll Bar) have closed their doors indefinitely.

Another of my lines — being able to wear my contact lenses. One of my friends suggested that maybe contacts are a risk, and I was like — honestly too bad. I wear custom contact lenses, and my eyesight is sub-par in my glasses. In my glasses I can’t work out, I couldn’t drive (if there was anywhere to go), I’d probably fog them in a mask (now required here when we go in public)… the thought of not being able to wear my contacts freaks me the fuck out, and I’m not going there. Until I have to…

This whole thing feels like one of those Christmas breaks where everybody finds themselves scattered all around so you can’t hang out, but instead of anticipating the new year we’re all waiting around to see if we get a deadly disease. You know, like Zombie Christmas. Is that a movie yet?

So what’s shaking over here during endless Zombie Christmas? Just trying to find little pockets of fun or normal in the abnormal, I guess.

I ordered us cute cloth face masks. Mine looks exactly like a dress I used to LOVE when I was a kid, which is some kind of weird comfort-in-nostalgia thing I’m sure, but I’m going with it.

Face Masks are shipping out but may be delayed by SweetMello
Kindergarten fashion on point.

We’re buying whatever the fuck fun snacks we want, like childhood fantasy snacks (hello, Bagel Bites and dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets), anything I’d usually press the brakes on. I literally purchased Pringles in bulk while on a FaceTime with my in-laws, I’m beyond caring about snack judgment — YOLO, right? Or as my mom says now, IHIL — I hope I live. (YIKES, right?)

I ordered Samantha Irby’s new book from her local bookseller, so she’s going to send it to me signed. I’m honestly both thrilled and terrified to see what she writes to me. Haha.

I’m working on my writing, getting notes from my manager, trying to brainstorm the next idea — which is so weird because it’s like, am I supposed to write about the non-coronavirus world? Is that what even we’re going back to?

I’m eating more homemade quesadillas for lunch than I ever have in my life. I took a pause yesterday at lunch to have… a restaurant quesadilla.

Getting crazy with opposite triangles.

When I was a kid I went through a long, embarrassing phase where the smell of cheese would freak me out and make me want to vomit. Now literally every meal is a different cheese food-group… melted, powdered-on-chip, cold-on-cracker. It’s wild.

In general, I’m becoming flexible about things that I didn’t think I could be — like, working out at home, and writing with music on in the background (so Sam can play videogames in the same room, where we’ve moved the PS4 so we can host family game nights on Zoom).

I’m staying up late, which I think we might all be doing. Sometimes it involves baking cookies at weird hours. Often it involves playing round after round of online solitaire, a game I had ZERO interest in until recently.

Sam taught me dominoes, and we taught ourselves cribbage. That game is WEIRD.

I’m watching TV shows I meant to catch up on. I binged High Fidelity and ate a delicious Hasselback potato as I watched the season one finale.

Oh, and Charlie, of course. Having a dog is excellent right about now. As is not having any kids, I guess — although I hear differing accounts.

Every week so far, I’ve stretched out one snack and then said goodbye. Week one was TJ’s white cheddar popcorn. Week two was TJ’s cheese puffs. (What week are we on? At some point I was into cheese-flavored Ritz bits.) Week whatever-this-is I haven’t been to TJ’s in a while (and don’t know when I’ll return) so it’s now the Week of the Pringle (there is a cheese flavor in the variety pack, to keep on theme).

Sam jokes that I could write a book titled something like, My Quarantine in Twelve Snacks.

Every time one snack runs out, another presents itself. Until… I don’t know, until you get coronavirus.

Once a long time ago when I was anxiety-ing to my therapist about something, she said — you have to trust that when you need something in life, it will appear to you. So, uh… I don’t know where I was going with that, or if I even paraphrased her right.

Today my therapist said, Make sure you keep your sense of humor. (Also paraphrased.) If I seem flip or consumer-y, it’s not because I’m not aware that people are dying. I’m just… writing from my own little corner, for posterity. And… diversion?

Today in another timeline, Sam and I were supposed to be in Yokohama, Japan, attending a baseball game. That seems… entirely implausible now. When we booked the trip I said things like, “Oh well, if we have to cancel we’ll go to a Dodger’s game instead!”

Dramatic irony — one of my favorite devices in storytelling — is really thriving right now.

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