Just when I think I’ve almost — almost — gotten used to this quarantine thing, I wake up in a panic. Today was particularly brutal because not only did I wake up to terrible allergy congestion, but also had an incredible dream interrupted. I dreamed that I was marrying Nick Jonas. And it wasn’t a superficial marriage; I was marrying him with the knowledge (you know, that weird background information that you just somehow have in dreams) that our relationship had been a full romance: dating many months, years even, Nick Jonas eventually proposing to me in a sweeping chivalrous gesture. I woke up dismayed that I was not marrying Nick Jonas, but instead was struggling with a clogged nosed, crusty eyes, and a whole new day of NOTHING ahead of me.
I digress to some more light-hearted aspects of the week.
Twice a week, my department plays a trivia game on some random topic, though they’re often sports-related (I mean, I guess since we work for the Olympic & Paralympic Committee, it makes sense, but like…can’t we do a topic I know more about?). Last Monday, the theme was “brands.” However, I couldn’t help but feel the whole quiz was a meme on brands, because there was no single question that spelled all of the brands correctly. You know something’s off when “buffol wind wings” is the correct answer. Further, the last few questions were, “What kind of dog is this?” I’m pretty sure that dog breeds aren’t brands. (I did get all of those questions right, though, so I can’t complain.) Maybe I would have been less skeptical of the whole quiz if I had won, but that certainly didn’t happen, and I sort of doubt it ever will. Unless the quiz is on Parks and Rec, cross-stitching, alt-pop boy bands, or how to bake madeleine cookies.
I felt like I was back in school again during work this last week, as I had to take a mandatory training on our video conference service, Blue Jeans. It’s like Zoom but less well-known. The session was scheduled for an hour and a half, and I thought, “There’s no way IT can stretch this program into 1.5 hours. It’s not that complicated. We’ll be out early.” Wrong. Our IT teacher showed us every. Single. Feature. of Blue Jeans and it took the full hour and a half to see them all — and none of us had any questions to slow it down!
The comical moment came at the end, when our teacher said, “OK, since we have a minute, let’s practice ‘sharing a screen.’ Hector, why don’t you share your screen with us?” (Hector isn’t his real name, but his name is unique enough that it is most definitely identifiable.) A few seconds later, Hector, an older gentleman, appeared on the screen. “What do you want me to do?” This was going to take a while.
As Hector argued with our teacher about how he was supposed to follow the instruction, people started signing off the call. Our teacher noticed, and, trying to keep some engagement, said, “OK, if you have to sign off, go for it, but please stick around if you can.” I had no reason to leave, so I begrudgingly stayed on the call.
Another minute passed. “I’m sharing my screen! How can I get out of it?” “You’ll have to press the button at the top.” “What button?” “I’ll show you offline.” “How can you show me offline if I can’t stop sharing my screen?!”
I hung up.
One night, my sister proposed we finally watch Frozen 2. We loved Frozen 1, especially because the reindeer has the exact personality of our late dog, Millie. Frozen 2 was a little complicated for our taste, especially with Instagram as a distraction, but I was reminded of how much I freaking love musicals. I don’t know what it is about them; maybe it’s just from growing up going to Broadway shows with my grandma, or performing in them as a middle schooler, but I am just a sucker for a good score, song, and dance. I low-key get chills from watching a strong performance. Not gonna lie, it happened when Elsa sang, “Into the Unknown.”
Speaking of being unreasonably amazed by things, I was also recently reminded of my strange appreciation for spaghetti squash. Anyone who has lived with me has heard me rhapsodize about it, so if that’s you, skip this. You’ve heard it before.
First off, how magical is this stuff? You put it in the oven for 40 minutes, stroke a fork over it and it just turns spaghetti. It started off looking like the inside of a gutted pumpkin and then BAM. SPAGHETTI. And you can combine it with basically any sauce and it tastes good, and a single squash makes SO. MUCH. FOOD. You can survive off a spaghetti squash for lunch and dinner for practically a week. And they’re so cheap in season! They are, in my mind, the most economical food you can buy. Goddamnit, they’re amazing.
I made spaghetti squash for Easter dinner. I know, not the most fitting for Easter dinner, but I don’t believe in God and I had a recipe in mind. So sue me. The real feature of the meal was not the squash, but dessert: a decadent, rich, triple chocolate cake I made with my mom.
This cake was particularly exciting to me because it was a non-birthday cake. You see, I never eat cake on non-birthdays. I hardly think about it. In my mind, cake is only good cake if it’s birthday cake.
So, being that we’re in quarantine, a non-birthday cake seemed especially DRAMATIC in my very boring, un-dramatic life right now. But it was darn good. I’m not saying I’m about to make non-birthday cakes left and right, but I sure am going to be making them more. As in, any time I feel like.
I’ll end with this. It seems like everyone and their mother has told me to watch Tiger King on Netflix. I wasn’t going to succumb to it initially, but I finally gave in last night. Honestly, I was certainly intrigued by the subject, engaged in watching it. But I was also really tired and struggling to make it through episode one.
What struck me about the show was actually how accepting I was of all of it. Like yeah, I could see why these big cat owners are certifiably insane. But I also wasn’t really disturbed by them? Like…I didn’t react to them very much?
Maybe I’ve just met a lot of odd ducks out in Colorado, but I just seemed almost too comfortable with it all. I’m not sure if I’ll continue watching, but my family friend did make a good point — “If you really want to forget about coronavirus, this will definitely bring your mind to other places.” Amen.