Well, ladies and gents, we are—incredibly—heading into week TEN of lockdown, and although things feel a tad less terrifying than they did at the onset of this thing, COVID’s frenetic emotional roller coaster continues apace. At this point, the lack of definitive answers to absolutely any of the millions of niggling questions that run through my mind on an endless loop every day feels like the ultimate crazymaker. What do these staggering unemployment numbers actually mean (other than just, obviously, “bad news”)? Are we all in denial about an inevitable future that involves sharecropping and gun ownership and other vaguely intimidating concepts that I’m both unfamiliar with and spectacularly unequipped for? Do I have antibodies and, if so, what does that do for me? Why are doctors only just now discovering this awful ancillary disease that affects children? I’m not the only one who thinks it’s weird that we are reopening things when absolutely none of the circumstances that precipitated the March shutdown have changed, right? Will I ever wear jeans again or it is strictly sexless cotton schmattas from here on out? What will happen to the arts? What will happen to commercial real estate? What will happen to New York City? Why is it snowing in May? Are you f’ing kidding me with this “Obamagate” thing?
It’s all so relentlessly unsettling, and as in other challenging times in my life, my consistent approach to it all is an astonishingly robotic stoicism, which certainly gets me through the days but feels unhealthy and unsustainable. It looks like my office will be working from home until at least the fall, so I ordered a bird feeder and some birdseed and have been anxiously waiting for some cardinals or an oriole to show up and entertain me. I spent a sunny Sunday afternoon relaxing in Prospect Park with a sour beer and a low dose of THC (while keeping a social distance like every one of my exhausted, addled, responsibly distanced neighbors). A local source for this insanely delicious Delice de Bourgogne cheese that my quarantine-mates and I discovered and have been pounding in a weeks-long, pandemic-induced frenzy ran dry, but a friend seriously stepped up with a Jeni’s ice cream delivery in honor of my birthday, which is tomorrow and feels simultaneously irrelevant and like it should be an impetus for profound (and so far nonexistent) realizations about what to do with my life going forward. For some reason, this maniacally bad 80s TV theme song that my sister found on Twitter has had us laughing all week. I finally tackled that Samin Nosrat lasagna recipe, and against the soundtrack of an old Spotify playlist from happier times in 2013, it was a Zen-inducing project. A stormy Monday afternoon produced the most vivid, intense rainbow I’ve ever seen in my life (iPhone pic does not do justice), and the news today that thousands of brave people have volunteered for the human challenge vaccine trial is a reminder that the cynical misanthropes who dominate the headlines are not representative of all of humanity.
If you’re looking for things to do this week, Atlas Obscura is hosting a trivia night this evening, or you could check out Bedtime Stories, a new initiative from artist Maurizio Cattelan featuring daily readings from artists and performers like Iggy Pop via the New Museum site. Biophilia, a new art exhibition about appreciation of the natural world, opens at Sugarlift on Thursday with a virtual reception and curator tour. I absolutely loved Oh Hello!, the Broadway show from John Mulaney and Nick Kroll, and the pair’s reprisal of their Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland characters in a new related podcast is something I’ve been meaning to get into. There’s a new drive-in movie theater in Astoria, which is a concept I can 100% get behind. I also love the idea of this drawing class at the Met, or the fact that Olmsted, one of my favorite restaurants in Brooklyn, has reinvented itself as a trading post. If all else fails, I recently ordered two Nora Ephron books for a little escapism, and Dead To Me, a silly but fun show starring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, is back for a second season on Netflix.
Last week, a few of you responded to my request for new pandemic traditions that have brought your comfort and I can’t tell you how great it was to read about the quirky tools you all are using to get by. I’d love to hear more from you at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’ve got other insights or ideas to share or just want to drop a note. One constant throughout this wild time is a new understanding of how much people crave interaction with other people, and anything that can make me feel less alone is a godsend right now, so please don’t be shy. On that note, I’ll leave you with this piece from Dave Eggers, which perfectly captured my mood of late. Happy weekend, everybody, and keep up the excellent work!