This Ordinary Life

This Ordinary Life

Hello friends,

I’ve been wanting to write you a rambling sort of catching-up post for a while, but I keep finding myself at a loss for words. This year is bizarre in that there is always something huge coming across the news- explosions, natural disasters, weird laws being passed- but at the same time my personal news dwindles to things like, “Did I tell you I went grocery shopping and forgot my wallet at home?”  My roommate and I laugh over the fact that we now discuss things like the extra large can of garbanzo beans she happens to own. What else is there to talk about in our personal lives as we wait for the world to resume spinning?

Surreal. I think that’s the best word to describe my life right now. I’m settled into my routine and week passes week, but with not much to mark the time I frequently find myself having to think hard to remember what day of the week it actually is. I wake up and make my coffee, I sit in my beautiful but uncomfortable chair for most of the day working my two jobs from home, and when the day is done, my brain is tired and my eyes are tired and my back is tired. So I cook dinner and maybe take a walk or maybe watch something or read something, and suddenly it’s bedtime and the process repeats itself.

Weekends roll around and I clean my house and maybe do a little shopping and watch my streamed church service. I have the occasional adventure here and there, but it still doesn’t feel like a proper weekend without going to church and socializing. And then it’s Monday and the next week plays over like a rerun of the previous one. And so I live my life, watching the days languidly roll by on the calendar, and feeling incredibly grateful when August come around because it means in one more month we can start thinking autumnal thoughts, and another season of this interminable year will be gone.

I don’t mean to say my life is terrible; it isn’t. This year is just like standing on a subway platform, slightly sweaty, listening to my music and waiting for my train to come, as the screen flashes announcements of delay after delay. But enough analogy, would you like to hear my little snippets of garbanzo-bean-level news?

I discovered that getting to the closest beach is a much easier commute than I had thought. I don’t know why I had it so wrong, but now that the truth is revealed I’ve been going and watching the sunset glow pink over the water and it’s been very, very nice. The water itself is chock full of seaweed- I think if you stuck your head underneath and started to chew you could quickly have yourself a full meal- but it’s warm and once you get past the gentle breakers the seaweed lessens and it’s delightful to bob about in. I look forward to going often in the fall when the crowds have thinned and the sun does less damage.

I’ve been listening to lots of audiobooks on the days when my work requires little concentration, and my latest one is Educated by Tara Westover, which probably all of you have already read before me, seeing how popular it is. I was riveted, and although I have a strong stomach I was a little sickened when she described in detail her brother’s horrible burn that came about from his carelessness. I thought her writing style was incredible as she talked calmly about the mind-control and abuse she went through, almost as if it was normal, but as the reader you are horrified for her. Give it a try.

Oh, some more important news is that I bought a new kind of coffee yesterday and it is truly one of the most horrible things I’ve tasted this year. And I have a whole bag to get through! Help. I’m thinking cold brew, or iced coffee, or maybe I can just pack it into capsules and swallow it for the caffeine- anything to not waste the (very small) amount I spent on it. On the bright side of culinary news, I am researching cakes to bake, as I shall want to bake an exquisite one later this month. I’m thinking something fruity and moist, with a fluffy, light, creamy frosting, and I have a lemon one in mind, but I’m still thinking. Ideas?

I am traveling to another town this weekend to see a long-lost friend from Spain, and I am over-the-top excited about it. It feels like forever since I’ve had something to be this unreservedly excited about. Even the Amtrak train ride appeals to me, and I look forward to leisurely reading for hours. Not only does the adventure excite me, but this particular friend is one whom I haven’t seen for years and who has an excellent sense of humor as well as a fine mind for discussing the details of the human existence. We have a lot of history together- from our school year spent rooming together in a green-carpeted farm house with cows that would occasionally escape for a rampage, to renegade dumpster diving adventures in the rain, to a golden summer spent in Mexico together, teaching English and eating street food until, as she so eloquently put it, “Our stomachs burned with hot sauce and our veins ran with Coca-Cola”. I can’t wait.

How do you all feel about centipedes? One has taken up residence in my shower and it skitters about on the walls as I nervously lather and try to keep an eye one it. I hate centipedes. I could smash it, but then there would be legs everywhere and I just haven’t found the gumption for that. I think I preferred the spider that lived in my door jam in Honduras, because even though it was far bigger than any friendly little spider should be, at least it had the courtesy to hide whenever it saw me coming and didn’t hang out, watching me shower. Even the possums in the ceiling there were never that discourteous, although they did make rawther much more noise and pee through the ceiling and eat my favorite pet bird. Any of you have any centipede repelling tips for me? Otherwise I may have to start just going for runs when it rains or something.

I’ve been exploring my own neighborhood a lot when I go out for my evening walks, but you know what’s funny? I find myself missing New York City, even though I’m back here. I miss the city it was. I miss Manhattan, which I rarely see, and I miss the vast amounts of roaming about I used to do- finding new favorite coffee shops and eateries, showing tourists my current favorite places, sitting in crowded spaces and people-watching, reading about a particularly fascinating piece of history and striking out to see the spot for myself… Although the city is mostly back open, it definitely isn’t the same. But that’s okay; I’m making my peace with life as it is for now.

Till next time, friends. As always, thanks for reading.


A Year Ago:

A Flying Trip

Two Years Ago:

Montana Ooh Na Na

Banff, Jasper, and the Long Road Home

Three Years Ago:

Chipotle Pork Tacos, or, a Shortcut to Making Friends

8 thoughts on “This Ordinary Life

  1. Dear Cousin Rachel! In these unprecedented times in a world gone mad, I must admonish you to choose your battles carefully. Bad coffee is no noble cause; stand tall and walk away, please. You are just so worth it.

    1. Oh cousin Imoan, you will be pleased to know that last night I bought another bag of my usual coffee. I couldn’t make it past one day. I’m thinking maybe some coffee desserts might be in order? Tiramisu?

    1. Craaaaving this, and everything else your mom makes. Cinnamon rolls? One pan, please. Fruit danish? One entire one for myself, please. Popcorn? The whole bowl.

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