Well, the persistent sore throat that I semi-joked about being Omicron in my last dispatch turned out — tada! — to be that sneaky bug after all, so the past week hasn’t exactly been the action-packed splash into 2022 that I might have hoped for. In truth, it was mostly chugging Gatorade (so far I’m the only person I know who is reporting extreme thirst as a Covid symptom), avoiding tweets about potential long term effects, and obsessing over Yellowjackets, a show for sickos that somehow combines the most disturbing elements of Lord of the Flies, Lost, and Alive into one glorious paean to 90s high school girls, who are played as their adult selves by the holy trinity of Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci, and Melanie Lynskey. I canNOT for the life of me stop watching this thing, and at one point even found myself in subreddits poring over unhinged fan theories. The season finale this weekend coincides perfectly with my CDC-approved release from quarantine, so it’s all happening at once and soon I will be a functioning member of society again!
Thanks to sheer luck and the miracle of vaccines, my symptoms are already gone and never got past “weird cold” status, and I feel incredibly grateful that the worst part of this ordeal has been anxiety and a sort of righteous indignation that this thing finally caught up with me after two years of scrupulous vigilance. Many have been far less lucky, which absolutely sucks, as does the fact that we are collectively where we are right now– failing to launch our third attempt at 2020 with a paucity of useful information. It does seem that the infection rate is plummeting as quickly as it spiked, though, so I’m optimistic that things will look significantly better in a matter of weeks. In the meantime, I’ve been on lockdown with little to distract me other than work and a long overdue appointment with Babyfoot, so I decided to go all in on this January home cleaning/improvement regimen from Apartment Therapy. If you’re sick to death of staring at the same stuff day after day, I can’t recommend a massive closet and junk drawer purge enough.
Perhaps you have a weekend getaway planned, or maybe you are hunkering down for another freeze out here Brooklyn, but unfortunately, most of the indoor cultural events that normally fill up January calendars have been canceled or postponed. It’s ok though, you can catch up on Search Party or Righteous Gemstones, write those holiday thank you letters you’ve been procrastinating on, embark on some time-consuming soup or chili project, take a bundled up walk around a new neighborhood, sign up to participate in the city’s revamped curbside composting program, or get deep into a book (for once, in my case). You could try To Paradise, the latest from Hanya Yanagihara, who is appearing at BAM on Thursday night for a talk with the New York Times’ Dean Baquet.
Whatever you do, try to pamper yourself a little this week— things are not great out there and it’s important to find relaxation or even joy wherever we can. It can be as simple as a hot bath or a good stretch or a satisfying dinner. In a moment of self-pity the other night, I placed a rather batshit takeout order for cacio e pepe, butternut squash soup, and banana bread from Pasta Louise in Park Slope that made for about three meals of utter deliciousness, and will once again sing the praises of Mile End Deli’s matzo ball soup to anyone who is feeling under the weather.
I learned a few days ago that someone I was very close to as a teenager took his own life recently, and I’ve been absolutely reeling about it. We fell out of touch many years ago, but he occupied a lot of space for me during a very specific and formative time, and I’ve been flooded with long-dormant memories of an exceptionally complex and sensitive person whose emotions ran deep and hot, even back then when we were young, oblivious, and shimmering in the sun of a series of seemingly endless suburban summers. I don’t pretend to have any insight into the specific circumstances that led to his decision and certainly don’t want to speculate, but it’s hard to imagine that the hellscape we’re all trying to navigate right now didn’t play some role. The true impact of it all on our individual and collective psyches is unfathomable, but it’s clear that living in a persistent state of anxiety and rancor and alienation and ennui and dread cannot be a good thing. Please hang in there through this latest low point in the news cycle, and remember that you aren’t alone even when it feels like you are. Stay safe and ask for help if you need it, friends, and be excessively kind to yourself — you deserve it without question.