Just two weeks into 2021 and it already feels like we might have another dud on our hands, doesn’t it? Yes, we’re just days away from competent people replacing the morally bankrupt, underachieving sycophants that comprise the Trump administration, and the vaccine rollout finally seems to be picking up steam, but man, nothing like white supremacist cultists staging a violent insurrection to drive home the point that a new calendar year is not going to be the cure-all elixir some of us may have naively hoped for. In keeping with another 2020 theme that has carried over, I’ve been working around the clock for the past two months on a big project that ended earlier this week, and I can honestly say I’m grateful for that as it’s meant I haven’t had time to obsessively read Twitter or watch cable news. It just hasn’t been good, and the discovery of new virus strains that are more contagious is the icing on the crappy cake.
Luckily, there are still little things that help make these unsettling days bearable, like finding the perfect pair of (overpriced) sweatpants, blasting myself with the light therapy lamp that my aunt (who lives in Maine and knows about these things) gave me for Christmas, and watching all seven episodes of Pretend It’s a City on Netflix in 24 hours (Pretend Fran Lebowitz is my Lifelong Bestie is more like it). I’m sure that eating the adult version of buttered noodles three nights in a row is not what people mean when they talk about “self care,” but making this recipe felt like one of the nicer things I did for myself this week. I also finally signed up for one of those ugly produce delivery companies and was thrilled to receive my first box this week. Let the janky, solo version of Iron Chef happening in my teensy kitchen commence! (Related: any suggestions on what to do with 15 poblano peppers?) My veggie abundance arrived just in time, as a creative, enterprising friend who was really sick of her WFH lunch options has started up a soup exchange between a group of us who live reasonably close to one another, and this week is my week to cook—please forward any and all stellar soup recipes you may have. In a final piece of food news, it sounds like Rolo, a new restaurant from Gramercy Park alums that opened earlier this week in Ridgewood, is worth checking out at some point.
As a lifelong word nerd and crossword puzzle enthusiast, I’m looking forward to reading The Liar’s Dictionary, a new novel from Eley Williams that seems like the ultimate hole in the sand for this ostrich to stick her head in. I’m also planning to queue up some of the escapist podcasts that Melissa Locker clued us into last week, and also want to watch some if not all of the Wong Kar Wai movies that BAM is screening virtually this month. Speaking of BAM, the institution’s annual remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr. has gone digital this year, and begins at 11am on Monday. That’s just one of the events that we previewed in this month’s Culture Calendar, which is always a good reference if you’re looking for ways to pass the time.
Otherwise, it feels like hunkering down with renewed vigor is the order of the day. It’s getting old, for sure, but it’s also a little bit of a comfort in light of my recent discovery, via a few random run-ins with people I know, that my social skills have apparently atrophied at the same pace as any discernible muscle tone. Will we all need a refresher course on how to talk to other people when this pandemic finally ends? Or will actually having something to talk about other than the pandemic and politics be enough to get us back over the hump? It’ll be another interesting experiment to play itself out, for sure. For now though, stay home stay safe, and enjoy the long weekend you hopefully have ahead. Oodles of respect to those of you who have managed to stick with a dry January thus far, and keep up the good work. I didn’t even mess around with that this year, so hat’s off! Happy weekend, all, and fingers crossed for a peaceful inauguration week.