Here we go:
Not knowing what day it is.
My Instant Pot
Sharing my Instant Pot thing (I’m not quite sure what to call it) with my friends, and then they each bought an IP, and then we formed a kind of club, involvement in which also involves denial, so kind of like Fight Club.
Not remembering what life was like pre-Covid, from about May forward.
Reading up on and getting obsessed by odd things, like bird poop “time machines.”
Birds. We bought a bird feeder and a giant sack of bird feed, and books, and watching them and learning about them and then tiring of the squirrels the birds brought to our yard.
The quiet. At least during the first wave.
Tiger King. Not the series itself, but the good fortune of its timing and the gratuitous (perhaps too gratuitous) schadenfreude of it, and the illusion it kind of provided of a short quarantine.
Trees. And how they communicate. With each other.
Eyeing every single mode of transport that relies on the internal combustion engine with a weary eye.
Soon, I started to eye everything with a weary eye. Even sneakers.
This fact. And how it was too easy to make fat jokes and how the “fat joke” has changed now.
Cooking. I cooked almost every night. I’m not trying to brag, I just did. And when I didn’t we did take out and we tried to make that takeout as local as possible. This morning, I was walking to the grocery store and I passed a restaurant I hadn’t ordered from this year (or ever, frankly) and I figured, well, I’m sorry, I truly am, but if I didn’t support you this year, I probably never will, and then I spent the rest of the walk wondering if I was a bad person or if the restaurant had done something wrong. I mean, I can’t eat and/or order from every restaurant around. It’s impossible. Probably.
I am worried about bars in general and the bars in Montreal in particular (they’ve been closed pretty much six months now) because Quebec has both a very open and a very moral and paternalistic attitude when it comes to bars and alcohol. (and if you live in Montreal, this is a good place to help restaurant and bar workers).
The American election. Holy cow. It is tiring to be American. But I have hopes for the incoming administration.
The plague made me more of an environmentalist. I wrote a cli-fi book and a sequel (both of which are with my agent, who is both tireless and probably annoyed with me). The plague made some jurisdictions accelerate their climate plans, which is good. Very good. In an odd way. Silver linings.
But there was still, and will continue to be, a lot of bad things environmentally speaking. We tend to obsess on the bad. There’s a reason for that. You can’t overshoot good. But you can overshoot bad. One just means more survival. The other, not so much. It means mass suffering.
All the plastic gloves on our streets. And masks.
I wish I’d kept a running tab of good stuff I’ve watched over the course of the year. Netflix should do what Spotify does with their personalized year end lists (which almost always surprises everybody). The Spotify algorithm remains a marvel. Though not a Marvel. That’s on Disney+.
Speaking of Disney+, The Mandalorian. I watched that.
And speaking of The Mandalorian, Mark Hamill also showed up in another show I binged more than once, What We Do In The Shadows. Which is comic gold. You will never laugh harder.
I Will Destroy You. Which I will never watch again but I’m extremely pleased I watched it once. It is harrowing and brilliant and amazing.
Porches and patios and backyards. Which became meeting places and drinking places and places we met and drank.
I hung out with the family. A lot. And when I say “a lot” I really mean almost all the time. Literally. And sure we had our moments but for the most part we got along. We are close. I don’t know if we are closer now but I don’t know if that was possible to begin with. But we have inhabited this space, our home, together, forever. A lot. I’m grateful to them, my wife and son.
Legal weed. What a gift. Weed is a gift, but that’s it’s legal? Even better.
White Claw. I was one of those people. This surprised me because I’m kind of discerning in my booze tastes: bourbon; scotch; local (very) and botanical gin; red wine (and, here again, I’m picky). But something about White Claw, especially the Black Cherry White Claw, helped me get through the summer. I liked it to a dangerous degree.
My parents usually spend their winters in India, because they’re smart and fuck the cold. This winter they didn’t, for obvious reasons. That doesn’t mean I’ve seen them a lot (hardly at all), but it was good to have them around, close by.
Zoom. Webinars on Zoom. Watching reporters on TV who are on Zoom. Come on and zoom zoom. Soon, we will not want to communicate this way. Unless it is improved somehow. Because it sucks and even though it sucks we accepted it. We are going to want to meet, again, face to face. There are certain people who will WANT to go to the office, at least some of the time. We are social beings. Most of us.
Not knowing what month it is.
Reading. Knowing I have the time to read deeply. And having the inclination to do so.
I’ve never been a huge podcast fan. But You’re Wrong About became a thing. Their 5-part series on Princess Diana was stellar. The whole thing is entertaining and almost always surprising (which is the point) and the two hosts (Sarah Marshall and Micheal Hobbes) are very likeable. You want to have a very boozy dinner with them and then make sure they’re on your team for some random bar’s trivia night, which I would never partake in UNLESS I was with Sarah and Michael. Highly recommended.
I’m not sure my dog is going to appreciate the end of this plague. Someone has been home at all times since late February. Like 98% of the time. And she got used to it. Big time.
Bots. On Medium. By the hundreds. The stuff that makes the internet good is the stuff that makes it terrible. I could take this screenshot over and over and over.
I’m under no illusions about 2021. It may end better than 2020 ended but a lot of it is going to be a slog, a lot of people will suffer, many needlessly. The behavior of many people during this time has been, and continues to be, appalling. But we also found heroes in unlikely places. We have newfound appreciation of people who do their jobs and do it well (anyone remotely considered front line). People in different countries managed to create vaccines in less than a year, which was considered impossible until it had to be done. I’m not one for predictions, but I do wonder how this plague will change things. Cities. Work. Art. Everything. We live history every single day, but here we lived history collectively. The entire world lived it. We will all remember a “before” and “after.” In an age where there really is no collective culture anymore, this plague was it, a collective thing, a shared memory, a point of reference we will all have. Which is odd. But that in itself is very 2020.