Howdy, y’all! I couldn’t be happier to be back from my, er, mini-sabbatical. OK, it was kind of a nervous breakdown. What? We’re all having them these days. Along with sourdough starters and TikToks of middle-aged white women having public meltdowns, it’s what passes for a trend now.
As literally every publication, commercial and Facebook listicle will remind you, it’s a difficult time. (God, I hate that little chestnut. It’s almost as lame as “our current situation.”) It doesn’t really bear repeating that we all have a lot more pressure on us than normal. For me, at least, the worst part is all the forced alone time. While some people are cheerfully going about business as usual, bar-hopping and licking each other’s faces or whatever you do in the outside world, I’m hiding under my bed with a can of Lysol. I feel like one of those pod people from The Matrix, which I feel compelled to admit I did not actually see in case this analogy doesn’t work. It’s even harder to get work done; how do I write jokes when all the people I gently rib are inside?
Maybe, rather than pining for the delights of human interaction, it’ll help to be more realistic. Close your eyes and imagine a beautiful summer day, one to three years in the future. You’ve been trapped in the glacially air-conditioned, burnt-popcorn-scented office all day, Microsoft Excel burning teeny tiny holes into your retinas. All you want is to go home, take your pants off, and eat Szechuan in front of The Voice. Hey, don’t judge future you. Season 57 is pretty good.
Unfortunately, relief is not to be yours, because you told your friends from college you’d meet them for tapas. The very thought is enough to make you cry, but if you back out of this one, that bitch Megan is going to stage another intervention about your “emotional availability.” You spend an hour finding parking downtown and three hours sitting on a cramped restaurant patio, eating wildly overpriced hors d’oeuvres while you mentally calculate how much it’s going to cost you to attend two years’ worth of accumulated weddings.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 285.