Things That Happened, Vol. 3

Before we get to our third (!) consecutive (!!) weekly recap, I just wanted to take this moment to celebrate the fact that I finally got around to cleaning the apartment this weekend. Like, vacuumed and Swiffed and Windexed and everything. You can’t see me but I’m bowing. 

Thank you. 

I find cleaning extremely meditative. Unlike creative work, it’s linear and predictable. Progress is visible and immediate. I can turn my brain off and let my body take over. It’s so satisfying. 

Which got me thinking (This is the part where you should be like, Uh oh). But it got me thinking about how so much of life is going from one to-do to the next. Like hey, the work week’s done so now it’s time to take a break—and do house work! Hooray! Sure, there are ways to alleviate some tasks. You could hire someone or farm it out to a business (if you’re of the privileged sort), but that also creates a lot of upfront work on your part with having to find the person or business, vet them, create instructions, do some quality control to make sure they did it right, etc. etc. Which is still a lot of work.

For now, the housework is generally manageable enough by ourselves. It helps that Franco and I are DINKs (Dual Income No Kids) or more like DIFKs (Dual Income Furry Kid), we don’t cook (Queens takeout, babyyyyy), and that Franco does the bulk of the house stuff (because he’s totally remote, I write when I’m not writing at work, we enjoy the reversed gender roles and I don’t have to explain myself because this arrangement works for both of us and if I were a man this wouldn’t even be a point of discussion nor would I feel the need to write this parenthetical now get off my back OK?!?!?!). 

But there are still other things that, after being mostly home for two years, feel enormous. Like putting on pants. Brushing my teeth. Traveling more than 5 feet to get to work.

And maybe a lot of this is really unprocessed pandemic trauma on top of the daily trauma of, well, living. Like, we went from the exhaustion and stressors and burdens of the old normal, to a crazy ass pandemic reality (and if you were in NYC during those first months, it got real), to this post (?) pandemic normal where everyone’s just pretending we’re fine, everything’s fine, and now we have to add extra outside and social time on top of the extra self-imposed DIY health precautions, and, like, stop talking about the thing that doesn’t exist because The Powers That Be said so.

Nonetheless, if you’re feeling the same as I do, here’s one thing that’s really worked for me: let them go.  

Dishes? Let them go. 

That pile of receipts on your desk in your home studio that you were supposed to get to over the holidays but didn’t because you got Covid during a mandated super spreader? Let them go. 

Inbox zero? More like Inbox 31,420 (true story). 

You’ll get to them eventually. Just not now. 

And the world will continue to spin.

Or it won’t. Which solves the problem for all of us actually. What a relief. Thanks, End Of Days!

And with that, it’s recap time. 

THINGS I LEARNED

  1. Seneca wrote “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Not The “Closing Time” guy.
  2. Seneca did NOT write “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” The “Closing Time” guy did. What a rollercoaster.
  3. Copywriters are going to be replaced by Chatbots.
  4. People don’t know what copywriters do.
  5. White editors still don’t know that non-white writers think about things that have nothing to do with not being white. There are so many gems in this interview with Filipina writer Monica Macasantos but here’s a section I particularly liked:

 I’m beginning to wonder if “being transported” for a white editor wouldn’t mean being transported to the Philippines that most Filipinos know, but to a Philippines of their imagination that doesn’t really exist, but which fits neatly into an othering, colonialist gaze. While writing these stories, I made a conscious effort not to exoticize, but to write about the homeland that I knew, because I didn’t want to turn the people I wrote about into objects for consumption and entertainment. These characters aren’t animals in a zoo. Yes, they are different from white Americans, but not different in a way that sends them flying around or performing all sorts of magical feats.

While living overseas, writing was the only way I could go back to the Philippines. I wouldn’t have felt transported if I felt pressure to transport these white editors to this place that they expected the Philippines to be. I’d be performing my culture rather than rendering my experiences of it in the most honest way I could. Sometimes the truth is boring, but I don’t think it’s that boring. Sometimes you just have to pay attention to people’s stories, to the minutiae of their day-to-day lives.

6. I’m French at heart.

Thankfully, there’s France, home of the right to ignore your e-mail on the weekend and the right not to eat at your desk. In another win for workplace dignity, one of the nation’s highest courts recently suggested that businesses cannot force their employees to participate in office parties and other supposedly enjoyable activities. 

7. It’s still dangerous to be outside. Also, you know the gunman is Asian when cops are like, he’s between 30 and 50 years old. Asian don’t raisin.

THINGS I DID

Had Lunar New Year dinner in Chinatown with coworkers. Homestyle eating’s the best. You just sit back and let everyone else order, and stuff your face with whatever comes out. It’s a surprise party in your mouth. That doesn’t sound right. OK, it sounds perfect.

Went to the city for work. I actually used to hate this neighborhood. It’s literally just a bunch of malls and glass buildings. But I’ve come to enjoy the dystopia. Just a few blocks away you still have remnants of Manhattan. There’s a bike path. I can sit by the water on nice days. And, maybe it’s because I’m older now, I like the quiet.

Took this guy to the studio. This is pretty much what he looks like 99% of the time. He knows when it’s time to work and respects my space.

I love studio life because I can close the door, and no one will bother me. The other people in the building are busy doing their own thing and don’t care to make small talk. I can get lost writing something for uninterrupted blocks of time. I realize I just described privacy, but it’s something that’s nonexistent in modern office life with all the hot desking, open office layouts, and small rooms with clear glass walls.

Here’s the aforementioned home studio desk of receipts. Still there. Still chillin’. Still a part of life. Like oxygen.

THING I WROTE

A comic about a typical day WFHing. It’s possible I’m not the only one who’s happy to have the studio.

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