I can't remember another time in my life when I wanted so badly to connect with other people.
I miss the barista at my Brooklyn coffee shop. I miss the grocery store clerk who bags my groceries and asks me about life whenever I finish a tipsy shopping trip well past midnight. I miss my neighbor, the one who never fails to wave as he passes by with his tiny dog following right behind.
Social distancing has left many of us feeling very lonely, very nostalgic, and very nervous. Those are all, I think, reasonable reactions to the moment we are facing. But every day I do my very best to fight the anxiety and gloom by connecting with someone else.
Sometimes that means propping up my phone and FaceTiming my mom while I make myself breakfast and a cup of coffee. Like absolutely every other human in America, I've done happy hour on Zoom—once this is over, I hope I never see a Zoom invite link again—with friends. I've gone on Instagram Live to talk with strangers, asking them what they plan to make for dinner, or what they've picked up at the store to stock their pantries. All of these virtual happy hours, conversations about food, check-ins with old friends over a drink, feel normal. Or, at least, they feel as close to normal as anything does right now.
But as helpful as cooking and technology have been to me as I try to find some sense of normalcy and connection, I have friends who are exhausted by the prospect of another video call, and would much rather curl up in a ball and eat mac and cheese from the pot. We're all coping with this bizarre, frightening moment in different ways. I would love to hear how you are taking care of yourself these days, and using food as a way to stay connected to the ones you love. Are you cooking with friends? Hosting "dinner parties" on Skype? Let me how you're staying connected and well fed in the comments below.
I know we all could use a few more good ideas.