The Banalities of a Day in the Life During Quarantine

8:30 a.m.: I have been up for one hour. In the time since I’ve risen, I am ashamed to confess that I have taken 21 photos with my iPhone—one, a response to the morning dressing prompt from Man Repeller’s Thoughtline (the artist formerly known as a text service). I have attempted to eat three breakfasts, starting with a bowl of cereal, which was co-opted by my daughter Madeline, who was consuming one of her own. The second was a trio of banana bread muffins which I made last Sunday, one-and-a-half of which were co-opted by a combination of Laura (my other daughter) and Abie (my son. I mean partner). Finally, I toasted two slices of bread, slathered avocado on them, topped with a hard-boiled egg , and no one, I repeat no one, tried to get in the way of my eating them. It seems in order to feed myself around these parts, I must relegate my desire for something sweet and eat only the boring savory artifacts of my refrigerator. Noted.

9:21 a.m.: By this hour, I’ve worn exactly three outfits if you count the pajamas that I started in, which I do, because they were an integral part of the Thoughtline’s WFH Dressing Challenge. I’ve been sitting cross-legged at the head of my bed with my computer in my lap and am now wearing a navy blue day dresscum-night gown and silver slippers. I’ve read a 10-page memo from a credit analyst, I’ve re-read the draft of a story that’s going up next week. I’ve picked my left eyebrow and evaluated the most recent trove of comments under this story underlining the morally-ripe conflict of whether one should shop right now. Tl;dr: It’s complicated. The most disappointing and probably belated discrepancy I’m discovering amid this outbreak is the odds at which financial security and humanism stand.

Vita Kin dress, Loewe slippers; Doen dresses and sweatersVita Kin dress, Loewe slippers; Doen dresses and sweaters

10:36 a.m.: Have you been bickering with your partner? I know this question only applies if you cohabitate, but Abie came over to give me a glass of water a little while ago and proceeded to kiss me, then smell me, and remark that I have b.o. Before the remark, he smelled me like four times, even obstructing mobility in my arm to lift it above my head and really get his nasal passage in there, at which point I snapped, expectedly in my view, but he snapped back. In his gentle but biting Abie way he said, “If you don’t want my nose in your armpit, just say that.”

Didn’t realize I had to when I signed on the dotted line, ya fuckin’ freak.

On the other hand, he brought me a glass of water, unprompted, just as my throat was getting dry. Googly eyes.

12:16 p.m.: Made lentil noodles for Madelaur, heated up some veggie burgers that I have had frozen since January—remember January?—and roasted some sweet potatoes and pan-fried cubes of chicken mixed with coconut aminos for Abie and me. I will say that I am pleased that where I once thought I could never be any good at running a household, it seems I can be pretty decent. I do not wish to do this forever, but I’m not letting the message get lost on me. Incidentally, it’s true that if you put your mind to something, you can achieve it. You don’t even necessarily have to want it, there just has to be no other option.

12:18 p.m.: I just donated $100 to Win. I’m not saying this to blow steam up my own ass or earn altruism points, but if you can donate anything, Win is the largest provider of shelter for homeless families in New York. Last year they helped transition 700 families out of shelter into their own homes! Employment is a requirement to apply for a housing voucher with Win, and after last week, the 53% of Win parents who were employed had dropped significantly, leaving the 5,400 children that the shelter serves at risk.

I still don’t know what I’m going to do to make a dent, but I won’t continue to discredit the small things.

1:05 p.m.: Just got home from a walk around the neighborhood. I wore gloves (but not a mask) and did not touch anything as I traversed Mulberry to Mott to Elizabeth Street and back. I was on the phone with my mom the whole time, who was telling me about a Friday-night dinner that occurred two weeks ago in Great Neck. Among the ten people who congregated to celebrate the Jewish Sabbath—immediate family members, to be clear, who live in different, neighboring homes—five got sick. Two died. I still don’t think we are aware of the severity of this virus.

1:25 p.m.: I’m feeling like a sociopath, in case you are wondering, because after letting the news sit heavy on my chest, I am about to go Live on Man Repeller’s Instagram to indulge a home tour, breaking down in less-than-exquisite detail the trivialities of this post. I couldn’t complete the tour because Abie was meditating in our bedroom, so instead I just let my head spin around my neck while I tried to catch comments, push notifications, and maintain eye contact. Going live is like indulging monkey brain to a far-out degree of magnitude but also, does anyone even actually want to watch them? Mallory said they’re kind of like fashion week events approaching peak whats-the-point-ism to the extent that everyone thinks they need to do one and no one really wants to go (or watch). Some of them make sense! Don’t get me (or her) wrong. But I thought it was a good observation.

4:30 p.m.: How you doing? In the past three hours, I have had one meeting, taken one phone call, recorded one more installment of this thing we started doing last week and am about to make dinner for everyone. I basically have not moved from the floor of my bedroom bathroom, which I say only to remind myself that even though I’m not physically moving, I am moving. You know what? I should physically move. I’m going to do 30 jumping jacks and 20 squats, then I’ll go cook salmon for Abie and make pizza for the kids and me.

7 p.m.: I did it—I made pizza for the kids and me, using a cauliflower crust from Trader Joe’s, topped with tomato sauce, the last leaves of a giant bag of arugula and shredded Swiss cheese. I cut up romaine hearts and mixed in some avocado and toasted walnuts and dressed it in balsamic vinegar. Abie had that next to a piece of pan-fried salmon. I also made a new cracker/crudite dip for the week, which has pretty much been the best food hack I’ve uncovered during quarantine. So long as you can use nutritious, caloric items like chickpeas or lentils, you can hold yourself over during the hundreds if not thousands of snack breaks you are wont to take over the course of the day. I guess almond butter works too. But in case you’re wondering, I made a lentil/walnut dip this go around with:

1 can lentils, drained (or cup of cooked lentils if you don’t have a can; cook them with 6 cups of water for 20 minutes)

1 cup toasted walnuts (put them in the oven for like, 10 minutes at 350)

3 teaspoons miso (not required but I really like miso)

Half an onion and two cloves of garlic, sauteed (Put them in a pan on oil for like, 15 minutes or until the onion gets mushy wushy), THEN THROW IT ALL IN A BLENDER, CALL IT A METAPHOR FOR YOUR FEELINGS AND MIX THEM ALL UP IN THE HOPES THAT WHEN THEY EMERGE FROM THE BLENDER, THEY’LL TASTE BETTER TOGETHER THAN THEY DID WHEN THEY WERE SEPARATE.

I should go to bed.

11:42 p.m.: This show is fucking crazy.

Feature image styled with Roller Rabbit pajamas and Ray-ban sunglasses.

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Leandra M. Cohen

Leandra M. Cohen is the founder of Man Repeller.

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