this is the week steve and i were supposed to be in portugal! let me tell you, it’s all fine. the world has bigger things to worry about like alison roman’s apology. instead we’re outside of hudson, ny, at my parents’ place doing a little backyard quarantine. we finished short work week on tuesday and are taking a little vacation to try to stave off the portch ache! i’m a sheepish photog but steve helped execute a drive-by photoshoot of these hudson babies (we activated the yappy dogs in a few yards so didn’t get all that i wanted). colonial revival? once homes 2 rich whalers, now homes 2 yappy mutts.
escape versus escapism. i’ve been trying to do the first here in hudson, but i can’t quit you instagram! i’m ashamed but going to be honest here. molly baz’s portugal vacation is a ripe and repeatable fantasy. every foamy coffee thefirstmess consumes on her porch. those pups. i watch, i re-watch, i almost feel like they’re mine. it’s not an interesting thing to psychoanalyze here, but it’s happening to me a lot these days.
that said, yesterday was a near perfect day. we went hiking in the catskills and my brain was deliciously BUSY loving the climb, the sweat, the moss. it couldn’t wander. i fantasize about days like that when i’m on the subway going to work, preparing for a day – a week – an unforeseeable end – to sitting at my desk. work stress is an inexorable force in my life, in part because i love what i do and the mission is core to my identity. but also because it’s just… hard? and hard to constantly be living, breathing, physically or mentally thinking about how to get ahead with work.
but hiking is a true escape, even from my addiction to escapism. i immediately start thinking i need more of this my life. when do statements like that, which i make regularly, become a reality? can they? it’s a white collar millennial problem/pipe dream for sure.
pipe dream, sure. but i’ve been thinking a lot about my constant state of work angst in the context of the covid, and how millennials will characterize this defining time in our lives. staying couch-bound as our civic duty, upping our SSRIs, tempering our malaise with WWII documentaries or band of brothers. it’s coping with the burn out, the leakiness of remote work into our personal lives, and dealing with the third “once in a generation” crisis while ensuring our productivity stays up so we don’t get canned (or worse, judged). ^that vox article felt like goddamn church.
and yet for me, this isolation sometimes feels so smooth, i feel wary of its inevitable deceit. not having to perform against the routine stressors (the subway, hierarchies and interpersonal dynamics, spending money) have made me hellbent on self-determination. how can i get my life back when all of this ends?
some friends of mine are either scheming or have already figured out how to quit the 9-5, get that daily hike, say g2g from that post-work bottle of stress wine, and make money on their own terms. it’s a charmed sphere i’m talking about, not the norm (or should be norm) for sure. but it’s a sphere i’m orbiting around, winking at. what would i do if i could do exactly what i want?
today it’s anything that makes me dog-tired, sunkissed, and free from the tyranny of my thoughts – the 10 mile hike. but would that only feel good in its infrequency, or would i be a new human if i could do it every week? analyzing, reanalyzing, leafing through ideals and time. it’s so hard to be present anymore.
this post much-inspired by this ezra klein podcast “work as identity, burnout as lifestyle” sent to me by my sister frances!
if you’ve watched mrs. america on hulu, tell me what you think. i appreciate it for the range of narratives it tackles (though so far it’s white women focused, and i don’t think that will change) and getting deeper into the motives and intelligence of the ERA opposition. a good watch for the liberal echo-chamber. but also fuck you phyllis.
there’s hope yet: we can maybe sit in circles this summer.
hanging with friends this week meant dueling t-shirts.
yesterday i surprised myself at how well i can sing k-ci & jojo while driving. we also stopped for ice cream on a sleepy quarantine main street and debased the town statue. a little eye candy 4 the road.