Christina’s Corner: September 15, 2023
There are some weeks that I struggle to offer you what I think are novel suggestions, and then there are others that seem rife with crowd-pleasers. It would be easy for me to stick to my standard role call of favorites, but I don’t want this to be just a list of predictable items that would make Miranda Priestly mutter “florals for spring? Groundbreaking.” The following suggestions are for sure rooted in things I love and have recommended before: vegetarian food, a musical, and engaging with other humans on a personal level. But it’s my hope that this week’s suggestions will translate into your life easily. It’s not a prescription, but a suggestion. I hope you feel free to modify: add ingredients you have on hand, watch clips if not an entire movie, consider the story if not putting it into practice. Make it yours. Enjoy.
Eat: This past weekend I had a friend over for dinner and a movie. I sent her a text before she arrived asking if she would be okay with me trying a brand-new recipe for Coconut Kale Noodles. She was game as long as we opted for pizza as a back-up. Little did we know that a few hours later we’d be looking at each other and saying, “I could eat a whole other bowl of this.” It came together in about 10 minutes and is easily adaptable to include whatever other vegetables you have in the refrigerator, or another protein if you want to add tofu or meat or poultry. The recipe is from one of my favorite instagram cooking accounts, Grilled Cheese Social. Really, I am taking up time that you could be using to plan your shopping trip to get the easy ingredients. So check out the recipe and give it a try for yourself!
See: Earlier this week, we observed the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. We all have a story: where we were when we heard, how our lives changed irrevocably after, the people we know who were lost. I was talking to my friend about how to introduce her son, who is 9, to the topic in an age-appropriate way. My recommendation? The musical Come from Away. (Surprising, right? Me, recommending a musical?) But hear me out. The musical, which you can watch on Apple TV+ or see on its new national tour, centers on the tiny town of Gander in Newfoundland, Canada. Gander received all of the flights that were diverted that day: the tiny town’s population swelled by 7,000 and the locals looked for ways to care for the people during their indefinite stay. It somehow walks the line between being too “oh look, the triumph of the human spirit” and “these are the facts.” If you want a story that will leave you feeling like the world doesn’t completely suck, this is it.
Do: I recently heard what’s become my new favorite story and motto. There was an interview conducted with Kurt Vonnegut, the author of Slaughterhouse Five, and re-shared upon his death in 2007. In it, the interviewer asks about a story about, of all things, envelopes.
DAVID BRANCACCIO: There’s a little sweet moment, I’ve got to say, in a very intense book– your latest– in which you’re heading out the door and your wife says what are you doing? I think you say– I’m getting– I’m going to buy an envelope.
KURT VONNEGUT: Yeah.
DAVID BRANCACCIO: What happens then?
KURT VONNEGUT: Oh, she says well, you’re not a poor man. You know, why don’t you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet? And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I’m going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope. I meet a lot of people. And, see some great looking babes. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And, and ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I don’t know…
And, of course, the computers will do us out of that. And, what the computer people don’t realize, or they don’t care, is we’re dancing animals. You know, we love to move around. And, we’re not supposed to dance at all anymore.
I love this story, because it explains quite beautifully a reason why COVID was so hard for many of us. We lost the subtle art of small interactions. The necessity of isolation eliminated our chances of running into a neighbor to ask about their new haircut or developing secondhand joy when observing a toddler jump in puddles.
This do for the weekend isn’t so easy to explain other than to say: buy the envelope. Singular. Do the thing that will bring you the chance of interactions that may seem pointless but are actually the whole point. Take the chance that someone will tick you off because there is an equal chance you’ll meet a great dog along the way. Dance.
Have a coconutty, hopeful, and humanity-centered weekend,