By Anne T. Donahue
At some point, reminders to drink water and to unclench our jaws became the norm on social media, and in the early days of TLC messaging, I was a willing participant. I liked being told to hydrate and to ensure that I won’t give myself a jaw-centric condition. I liked feeling like my well-being was looked after, and I celebrated the good intentions behind this sincere approach to mass messaging. I was a proud “drink water, guys!” banner waver (and maker), and never expected my good intentions to disappear as we descended further and further into the pits of hell.
But alas, they have. In the year of our lord 2021, I no longer need to be reminded to drink water. My jaw? It will never recover from the stress I inflict upon it, and if a single soul reminds me to stretch I will stretch myself all the way into their computers and scream “I WILL NOT!” for dramatic effect. I no longer need reminders to do the bare minimum. Instead, as a state of emergency blankets Ontario for the second time (and arguably makes no difference whatsoever because man alive, Doug Ford, just give everybody paid sick leave I beg of you), I need to be reminded only of the following. Give me these reminders and these reminders alone, and apologies to anyone I once believed needed me to tell them to participate in common sense.
Remind me to:
Pick up my cat and hold him like a baby
As soon as behaviour like this begins to wane, you know you’ve lost precious normalcy. Our cats rely on us to annoy them. They need us to look into their tiny faces and say, “But you’re my son! My baby-son!” as they struggle to get away because our obsession is frightening, and they don’t know what “baby son” means. I must be reminded to do this. It is essential that I stop what I’m doing at least every hour and interrogate my cat as to why he’s so tiny, what made him so tiny, and whether anybody else in the world is as small. Then I will drink water. Maybe even out of his dish.
Check any and all celebrity gossip sites
It is crucial to remember that at no time, ever, under any circumstance, are we too good to know who’s doing what and why and where. Mainly so that some of us (hello) can be relieved that we live boring little lives where not a soul cares about anything we do. And also because I want to know everybody else’s business since my own is quite a buzzkill.
I need to be reminded of this so that I can justify doing it and handing my work in late. If I tell myself to nap, I am slacking. But if you tell me to nap, you are helping me take care of myself. And for that I thank you. I will see you in three hours.
Text a friend: “You think you know someone”
Any friend. Choose one at random. Choose even a former acquaintance, and entertain yourself for up to an hour as they write back in confusion, or worse: admit that they’ve done something terrible, making you wish you hadn’t started this activity at all. Obviously, you must eventually tell them what you’ve done and that it was at the behest of a strange woman on the internet who clearly enjoys inciting chaos. And then, once they’ve finished yelling at you, return to work and remind yourself: it’s a pandemic, there are no rules.
Take a long, hard look at Twitter
There’s this push to “stop doomscrolling” and guess what: I’m not going to. But I am going to stop looking at the internet as much if somebody tells me to because honestly? I am the boss of myself, and I do not know you.
Stop watering your plants!!!
You’re over-watering them! Stop it! Drain them, I beg you. Let them breathe. They are not as thirsty as you and I, posting photos of ourselves outside in the snow, as if to prove we are adaptable and outdoorsy. (I am not, and I am not.)
It’s one of my favourite movies in the world, it reminds me of summer, and I just think we’re all be better off if for two hours every few days, we heard Bill Paxton being referred to as “The Extreme.”
Also, to all my editors wondering why my work’s been late as of recent days: you are welcome.
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