So here we are in the last three days of the year that was so bad it killed 300,000 (and still counting) people in America alone. I’m not sure what I’m expecting to happen three days from now aside from a huge psychological sigh of relief. It’s January 20 I’m really aiming for, when the Secret Service dumps Donald Trump outside the gates of the White House and let’s the real world have at him. Fake news, my ass, here comes the Southern District of New York, Donald, and they have some questions.
So what have I learned this year?
1. Even if I am by nature a loner, happiest when in the middle of the woods with some dogs and a deeply suspicious cat, the lockdown got to me. I can’t imagine what this is doing to gregarious people. I mean I know everybody’s baking bread and exulting over their toilet tissue hoard, but it’s not the same as human contact. At this point, I’m even willing to drive to my daughter’s hellhole of a neighborhood just to see her and her family. (“Hellhole” is my take on an expensive suburban enclave backing up onto a gorgeous historic park: the houses are too close together, every lawn in manicured, and the people there never wear shoes from two different pairs because they can’t find the mates and really need to take the dogs out before they pee in the hall.). So my big plan is to get out more to see people I love as soon as this fuckery is over.
2. After ten months, it is dawning on me that just throwing stuff on the floor when I’m done with it because I’m living in the guest room bed eventually makes the guest room a landfill. I am excavating now, but note to self: do not do that again. Although I think it’s good for the dogs to have to fight their way to the door over clothes and books and yarn because it strengthens their legs and burns calories, I think seeing my floors again might be an improvement over walking on pajama pants from last spring. Just a guess.
3. While only leaving the house every two weeks for groceries had an appeal, it has faded. I would like to shop at Home Goods again, even though I don’t need anything. Home Goods is open, but the idea of risking my life for cookware stops me from going. More than that, I need fresh veggies and bread at least once a week from the grocery. While Amazon can send me anything in a bag or bottle in about two days, bok choy and shallots must be picked up (no, Amazon’s Whole Food delivery thingy won’t work here; I’m in the middle of nowhere). So from now on, I’m going out ONCE A WEEK. I was born a rebel so don’t neg me about this.
4. The thing about cooking that I have learned is, you have to keep doing it. Like cleaning but with more pressure. For awhile I just sacrificed one day and made up a bunch of freezer meals, but now I am spoiled and want fresh cooked meals all the time. I just don’t want to cook them, mostly because my kitchen is a nightmare right now (although I am not throwing food on the floor, so it’s not the bedroom situation all over again). On the upside, I can now make a stir fry from damn near anything and my pan sauces are superb, so the year hasn’t been a total loss.
5. Always have dogs. I knew this before the lockdown but, my god, what do people who don’t have dogs (or cats or whatever) to talk to and cuddle do in a pandemic. “We’re in this together,” I tell Mona and Veronica, and they look deep into my eyes, having no idea what I’m saying but secure in the knowledge that I’ll give them food at some point. It’s an elemental relationship, but a strong one. (I miss you so much, Milton. God, this year has been terrible.)
6. I was overtaken by the urge to do a Paradise Park collage, so I ordered the stuff I’d usually forage for in a craft shop from Amazon. William Morris paper and lacy cupcake holders (balconies and railings) and a ton of other stuff. Somewhere I have bags of stuff I bought years ago for this, so it’s going to be spectacular. But I feel like I have to wait until Jan. 1 to start it. Like there’s going to be a big screech of a needle ripping across a record at midnight and then the music will begin to play again, only, you know, good this time.
7. The journal came but was not as good as I’d hoped because NO STICKERS. What the hell? OTOH I got an entire thick volume of stickers that were wonderful, so I’m coping. The journal is also short, which is probably a good thing because it means I’ll have a chance of filling it up before I wander off. The no-stickers thing is a serious drawback, though.
8. The sound of dogs snoring is better than valium.