No, there is nothing that can replace the serendipitous joy close physical proximity affords. Scrolling through my Instagram feed has its own benefits, I’m sure, but it does not result in the kind of joyous accidental closeness that shared sidewalks and streets and grocery stores do. It is a poor proxy for friendship maintenance. But what else is to be done?
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The glorious day my parents finally caved to my manipulative whining and added MTV to the list of our available TV channels - thus freeing my sisters and me from suffering through endless and truly mind-destroying episodes of VH1's Pop Up Video feat. Duncan Sheik Barely Breathing - coincided, magically, with a sick day home from school. At 10 AM, Channel 52 went from static to transmitting a clear picture of Carson Daly's face, and ahead of me stretched a long day to lie on the couch in the warm sunlight and eat cinnamon sugar toast, to watch MTV Jams and read Seventeen magazine in the ad breaks. In this memory I believe I feel the pure, unadulterated joy of youth.
Coming home with a baby for the first time was a completely overwhelming experience. I hadn't been around one at all since my teenage babysitting days. So there I was, too afraid to let Henry cry to take a proper shower, let alone change into a shirt without spit up caked on the shoulder. And I found myself feeling completely untended. So one vain day, I decided that with the right accessory I might feel more put-together.
Here’s what I know: the simple practice of exercising keeps me from winding myself into the boa constrictor of my mind, it keeps me from falling asleep at the television every time my infant goes for a nap or agrees to be strapped into her rocker. It recalls me back the animal simplicity of my weird self. So without further ado, I present to you my favorite exercises.
It was too hard to think about beauty this past week, too much to ask of ourselves. At this remove - though our minds are as jammed as they've ever been with spinning wheels, and despite the fact that we're still not sleeping so great - not thinking about beauty is a kind of failure we are not prepared to admit.
"I know the cure for everything: Salt water...in one form or another: Sweat, tears or the sea." –The Deluge at Norderney, from Seven Gothic Tales, 1934
I would trust Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke - or, if we're to go by one her better-known pen names, Isak Dinesen (author of Out of Africa and Babette's Feast, the latter of which I am personally crazzzzy about) - on this one. No doubt about it: salt water, in one or several of its forms, will cure what ails you. Sea salt will also do all sorts of other things, all of them practically alchemical or just plain regular magic.