Editor’s note for this series: Times are weird right now. Confusion. Anxiety. Panic. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions these past few days. There’s a lot to observe when we’ve been forced to take a long collective pause. For our writers, they are working on their classic vulnerable OOM stories, and they are also bringing the funny, the reflective, and the weird bits we’ve all been experiencing during isolation. This new series, “Isolation Observation,” is meant to bring you into the very real worlds of our writers. Some go deep, some very light, and some in between. We’re all here in this together. xo Alex
I like to watch you at night. All of you. Your sourdough starters rising to the surface. Your gently ladled sauces and creams. Oh! Is that a high-end juicer? An overhead shot of a coffee grinder? Yes please. Hold on that shot. Slow. Slower. A little longer. Perfect.
I don’t mind that you’re in sweatpants. I am too. I just want to see the bubbling pomodoro sauce fog the lens as you track the phone above the stainless-steel pot. Only have a harsh fluorescent light to display your finished bowl? Baby, you’re beautiful just the way you are.
I see you ran 3 miles today. Good for you. Keeping in shape. Proud of you. I’m really here for the stir-fry, the sizzle and steam of freshly chopped vegetables. I appreciate that you cut them slowly, and then intercut the video with a meme about Baby Yoda. It’s just so you.
You can just pour wine into a glass and I’ll stay here, on my couch, a little stoned, enjoying the sound of fermented grapes on glass. It’s okay that you cried during Zoom yoga today. I’m crying to your Malbec soundtracked by indistinct jazz sax. It reminds me of Paris. Though I’ve never been.
Now you’re walking me along your tiled apartment floor with you as you gaze into the oven and flip the light on: pizza formaggio. The cheese is bubbling, a little crisp around the edges of the crust. Wait. Wait! I do not want to see your completed puzzle! Please stop. Please. Okay, phew. Just a brief pivot. Now the pizza’s half eaten, the final slice basking in the fading dusk light by the window. I hear you’re gonna try your nana’s recipe for baba ganoush tomorrow? I’ll dream about it tonight.
Even you, exhausted and weary, managed to carefully arrange your steamed broccoli in a vibrant spiral. Do you know what kind of strength that takes? To rise from your bed, pour water, and turn the stove top knob? You could’ve just stayed wrapped in your crumpled blankets, re-watching the reunion episode of Love Is Blind. But no! You chose to rise up! You poured out that frozen bag of vegetables and nourished yourself. And me. You showed us all what real strength looks like. Bravo!
I don’t know if I can keep watching all these meals-for-one. Why do you torture me with these caramelized cinnamon buns bulging from the pan? I turn my phone over for a moment, trying to breathe slowly. It all feels so wrong. But I can’t look away. The frosting is glistening now, as your hand spreads each bun apart, massaging their browning edges, gently applying more and more frosting. I don’t want you to slow down. And you don’t. You keep going. Keep spreading. Just right there. That’s right. Yes. Yes. Yes!