How We Passed the Time this Year

Welcome. My colleagues are wanting again on the methods tradition was upended in 2020, and their reflections are serving to me make sense of a yr that ceaselessly appeared mindless. James Poniewozik put it finest, I feel, mentioning that that is the yr “everything became TV”: We watched “I May Destroy You” on Netflix, and used the identical display to attend faculty, to take yoga courses, to commune over Thanksgiving dinner.

When you end up with time on screens this weekend, you’ll want to learn Salamishah Tillet on tradition’s reckoning with white privilege, and take a look at how Jesse Green realized to critique theater on a curve. Read Reggie Ugwu on how podcasts made him really feel much less remoted, Zachary Wolfe on discovering an opera neighborhood on-line, Dwight Garner on discovering the time for studying. These critics have been at house, too — working remotely, like so many people — turning into, as Ugwu put it, “involuntary shut-ins, haunting our own homes like premature phantoms.” Their meditations on 2020 helped me really feel extra linked and should do the identical for you.

Earlier within the week, I advised you about an apparently phantom-sent bag of birdseed I obtained within the mail. It was adopted the following day by a fantastically wrapped chicken feeder that suctions to the window — good for condo dwellers — and accompanied by a card from my considerate older brother. I used to be upset, in fact, to not have an Encyclopedia Brown-style thriller to crack, however glad that the birdseed wasn’t, as some At Home readers wrote in to counsel, a part of the unsolicited seed mailings from China.

Those mailings might have been a part of a “brushing scam,” wherein on-line retailers ship out unordered merchandise with the intention to goose gross sales. Could this be the explanation one reader obtained two high-tech umbrellas she didn’t order? “I called my mother. I called my mother-in-law. I called my brother. I called my neighbor and long-forgotten friends,” she wrote. “No one sent them. No one seemed to think I needed another umbrella, or two. So here I am, no rain and two fabulous umbrellas I didn’t order.” If you’ve obtained thriller packages (that aren’t presents from beneficiant siblings!), the Better Business Bureau suggests notifying the retailer and altering your account passwords to be protected.

Another thriller: Barbara in East Hampton is questioning the place the teensy ants in her home are coming from. She included only one clue: The home has a basement. Any guesses? I’m undecided of the supply of the bugs in Barbara’s case, however I’ve vanquished my very own uninvited parade ants with a sprig product of equal components white vinegar and water.

As 2020 involves a detailed, how are you making sense of the yr? What did you understand about your self, the books and tv and recipes and display time that crammed your months, the best way you handed the time? Do our critics’ experiences communicate to yours? Send us some cultural criticism of your individual: athome@nytimes.com. Include your full identify, age and placement, and we’d share your response in a future publication. We’re At Home. We’ll learn each letter despatched. As all the time, extra concepts for main a superb life at house seem under. See you subsequent week.

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Source: www.nytimes.com