By Anne T. Donahue
We’re two weeks into 2022, and I’m thrilled to announce that somehow in our dear world everything is worse. Not that I think any of us were really expecting otherwise: shitstorms don’t tend to observe calendars, and the last two years have taught us all that while we know good things do happen, it is safer never, ever to expect those things to happen to us. (Or to me. Personally, I am striving for a mediocre life at this point and I consider said life a blessing.)
So in the name of “please no more, it’s too much, someone help us,” I am here to help you. The following are the ways in which I desperately try to maintain a myth of control by propelling my existence into one of total mediocrity. Because in the immortal words of Kelly Bundy, “I want to do nothing, I want to be nothing.” And reader, in these trying times, that’s all I really ask for.
No way, absolutely not. I love words. I love a word game. But I do not care for the term “wordle” and in the way I avoided Game of Thrones for the entirety of its run, I will avoid a game I do not understand nor wish to learn. Get out of my face with your brags that mean nothing to me. Stay away with your assurances that “It’s so easy!” as I stare at my screen and out-loud ask, “What the fuck is this?” So I will avoid it. I will not play. I refuse to participate. And if this seems easy, log onto Twitter right now and watch as Wordle scores populate your feed as though you’re doing something wrong by not posting one.
You are not wrong. And neither am I. And that will be our mantra as we spend this winter participating in a much better activity: anything else.
Obsess over tasks that require no obsession and should not be obsessed over
I have two passions in life right now: sorting the recycling and looking after the plants in my home. The recycling willbe perfect, my houseplants will live. Do either need me to do anything outside of the bare minimum? They do not, and most of you are already thinking that, I’m aware. But if my recycling looks amazing, it reflects on me and suggests that I am exceptional in ways nobody needs to be. If my plants thrive, it is obvious that I am gifted and can whisper to plants in a way that borders on seductive. Who am I performing for? Not a living soul, I understand that. But it is my life’s work now, and to pass the time I suggest you find the same. (Please validate me.)
I live with my mom, and I know that should I instigate any unpleasantness with her, I will hurt her feelings unnecessarily and do nothing but sink to the deeper depths of hell. But I also live with a cat and another cat who likes to drop in for hours and hours before she leaves and goes back to her other family/the outdoors/Narnia. On top of that? There’s another cat who comes by to eat the food we leave out on the deck and there’s another cat who is so fluffy I want to pick her up and confirm that she weighs as much as a cloud. (She has to. She has to be a cloud.)
So I do what’s started to come naturally: I create a sense of drama between the cats that they’re not aware of. I try an persuade my cat and our visiting cat to kiss. I name the other two cats and assume they all know, work with, and have made sweet love to each other. I break up the fights between them (which are actually very real and quite upsetting because they’re always over the Meow Mix in our backyard which, like, guys it’s $8.99 – please relax). And I refer to them as “babies” (not necessarily mine, just babies in general) to make it weird for the neighbours who live on either side of us.
This is my Titanic, my Yellowjackets (never seen it), my Succession. And it makes me feel like a TV showrunner where the stakes are very low, the viewership is tanking, and the audience has no idea who Carol (the cloud) is, no matter how loud I call for her after she runs away.
Memorize and perform the commercial jingles on your local TV network
Is this weird? Should no one ever know the little ditty that accompanies Sokoloff lawyers? Is it normal to have inside jokes about Russell “the Cashman” Oliver? Are these references so niche that you think I’m just typing words with no end game in site? Exactly. To all of it, yes. But it certainly makes the news . . . different. And in the universe I’ve built around my anxiety and sorrow, the sense of pride I have over singing “Diamond & Diamond” to anybody who will listen (my mother, the cats) I know I’m living my best life.
This is 2022, friends. And yes, everything you just read might be nothing short of alarming, but armed with these tools, I am here for you.
Need a little more Anne? Read more from Anne T. Donahue right here!