By Anne T. Donahue
Most of us have been in self-isolation or quarantine since long before we were even born. I do not remember my life before quarantine, and I certainly will never be able to forget quarantine after it’s lifted. At some point I know I saw people other than my mom and dad in-person (I’m hunkered down at their place), and I know that once upon a time the highlight of my day wasn’t going to get the mail at my apartment. (Or lack thereof. The mail! I think it’s in quarantine, too.) But those memories feel distant and weird and perhaps part of a montage I’ve made up as a means of self-care. Who knows? Not me. Not you. Time isn’t real anymore.
But that’s not to say that I’m not spending an inordinate amount of it watching everybody’s lives unfold on Instagram. And, because we’re now entering the fifth (or sixth?) week of cocooning out of pure necessity, the early days of content-that-tided-us-over are long passed, and the standards have been raised. So, to keep everyone in-step with my mile-high expectations, here is what I want to see more of from all of you. And yes, I do make the rules here. Because I am bossy and because I need the false sense of control.
So give me more of:
I can’t stress enough how much more of your pets I want to see. I want to see them sleeping. I want to see them wearing shoes. I want to see them being weird as hell and cute as shit, and I want that content on the daily. You know who can’t possibly offend me? Your animals. All they want is to live a nice life and reader, I want to watch you give it to them. I want them in all their glory, and I want to see them doing strange, human things like the way my cat will sleep halfway under blankets like a teenager which sort of freaks me out. (Too human! What the fuck!) Give me your pets. Let me see them. Try to make one wear a hat. Mine has been wearing a harness and wandering around my parents’ backyard.
Your delicious meals, but not in a pretentious way
Don’t you dare ruin your meal stories by telling me how healthy something is. We’re past that now. Do you understand that I hate a bag of Mini Eggs last week for dinner? And that I didn’t care? And that I’ll do it again? Nobody needs your low-cal bullshit right now, we want to see pure, incredible deliciousness. I want to be comforted by your cooking. I want to look at the end result and think, “Damn! I feel alive again!” I want to watch your process based on what makes you happy, not what makes some of us eat more bran. I don’t want to eat bran! I want to eat the entire shrimp ring I bought on the first week of quarantine that I’m saving for a special occasion! (Read: because I want to eat it, and likely tonight.) Cook for us, absolutely. Show us the perfect, amazing end result. But if you try to tell me how “easy” it is to like, braise some type of meat that’s slathered in . . . I don’t know, flax? Get out of here. No. Not today. Show me how much jam you’re putting on a bagel and let me applaud it from my home.
Cute child things
I was not someone who wanted this ever, once upon a time. But now I need to know that something beyond me and you and everything else exists. Give me proof of hope. Of potential. Of absolute cuteness. Do I want to see your child slathered in peas for 14 frames? No, because I don’t want to see anybody slathered in peas. But I want to see your child saying weird and strange things, and I want to watch them get psyched about learning to use a rolling table-thing while they wear a cute, tiny outfit. You know how kids can make the strangest expressions and have no idea that they’re doing them? I want you to give us a front row into that reality. Show me their crafts! Film the songs they make up and could be interpreted as a type of threat! Post the sidewalk chalk art they’ve worked tirelessly on! I may not have kids, and I may not want them. But so help me, I want a direct ticket to the magic of your children and the promise that past this terrible moment in history, another generation will thrive. (Also, I do genuinely like your kids. That’s why I like to consider myself a type of universal aunt.)
Sidewalk chalk/window art
The other day I went for a walk with my dad and I saw that someone dressed up a bear, sat it at a table in the window, and made it look like it was waving. Did I immediately stifle the urge to cry? Absolutely. (I don’t like to cry in front of people as a personal rule.) But damn it, I needed to see this beautiful thing. I needed to see that bear. And then I needed to see all the bears, since apparently this is a thing that people are doing. I want to see bears and chalk and “we can do it!” art because I need to be reminded that we can. So post it! Give it all to me! And also . . .
Give me your scarf and mask pics! I want to see (part of) your face! I want to see your DIY mask! I want to pretend we’re hanging out! What are you afraid of?
Also, keep those selfies coming, I miss you all so much I could perish.
Holy shit, show me the inside of your house. Now is not the time to be bashful, all of us know your home is clean as hell because what else is there to do? I want to see where you work. Where you eat. Where you lay down, at night, and clench your jaw because the anxiety we’re feeling as a society right now is bigger than most people could’ve ever imagined. I want to feel like I’m your friend and I’ve been invited over. And this isn’t some HGTV house tour – this isn’t Cribs or something ridiculous, either. There is no pretention. I don’t want to see your perfectly-fluffed couch pillows. I want to see where you live and eat and so I can pretend that for one precious secondI am not in my own home. And then I want me to tell you where you got that throw rug, because it’s adorable and I love it and I am very bored of everything around me right now. (Unless it wasn’t on sale. Because I’m only buying clearance currently.)
Things you’ve bought
This actually just stands all the time. Take me fake shopping with you.
Need a little more Anne? Read more from Anne T. Donahue right here!
Love this and love the way you wrote it.