Why don’t you buy yourself an electric (not gas powered!) power washer and experience the exhilarating and insane sense of control it gives you? You may remember when I was rhapsodizing about my weed eater, well this is the same rush of supreme authority, but because it’s plugged in and never stops, you never have to worry about stopping. You lose sense of time, you get in the zone, it’s like meditation. You aim, pull the trigger, and then thirty years of accumulated mildew rips away from the house where it’s been harassing you for as long as you can remember, sneering at your attempts to defeat it. But now, with a power washer, you’ve won, and the feeling is like taking drugs. 


Why don’t you tell me how to enjoy a movie at home? I rented an Agatha Christie adaptation that was less than two hours and it took me five hours to finish. I don’t have the concentration. I have too many questions about the actors and the development to stay focused. Maybe I’ll keep a pad of sticky notes on my coffee table to write down my questions. Also…coffee table? I honestly think I’ve put a cup of coffee on my coffee table once. Where’d that name come from? Wine table makes more sense. Am I right or am I right?


Why don’t you remember to truly relax? I’ve taken the Coronavirus very seriously, and this has bewildered some people. I’m bewildered that anybody with the means and ability would want to leave the comfort of self isolation. Being untethered from normalcy, time has lost all meaning, and I’ve thrown myself into work. I’ve moved literal tons of garbage, I’ve shifted earth, I’ve cooked feasts, I’ve recovered lost architectural treasures, I’ve raised produce from seed, I’ve read more than I ever have before, and I’ve rediscovered the love or remembered my love for exterior design. And I’m so tired. Last week my Apple Watch said I was averaging four or five hours of sleep a night. I’m just too excited about the next day to sleep. (I know, I think that sentence was absurd too, but it’s so true! I’m honestly buzzing with excitement about my next task. It’s stupid.) Anyway, it turns out the body needs some rest. Today I’ve just spent time with the kittens, reading a book, teaching myself to knit, enjoying a cocktail as the sun sets. I’d forgotten that this was the point of all the work to begin with. I put a television in the bathroom to enjoy a movie while soaking not to quickly shower and run off to the next thing. Life can be very long, there’s always more time. Remember to enjoy what you’ve done. I’m such an idiot sometimes.


Why don’t you enjoy the virtual reality tours that the Egyptian government is releasing of their most beloved sites? My first experience with virtual reality was years ago. This is true, a guy who says he’s Anonymous and drove me to Santa Barbara in a red Ferrari convertible — long story, but someday y’all have to go down the 101 with the wind in your long hair — showed me a clip of a really awfully acted zombie movie that tried to make you feel part of the story using a set of glasses you put your phone in. It was not effective and it felt more like one of those attractions at Disney World you used to be able to ride that felt like they were forgotten remnants of the nineties and you were in an alternative universe — Ellen’s Energy Adventure…guys!?…but that has nothing to do with Egypt. Just something I’d forgotten about. I miss those days, I’m too old for people to let me into their world anymore. Enjoy your youth while you’ve got it. And while you’ve got nothing but time, go virtually wander through a tomb. It’s fabulous.


Why don’t you plant a boxwood wall and let its odd fragrance waft over you, taking you on a sensory journey to Paris? For years and years and years I have been haunted by this weird smell of rotting wood. It’s not exactly pleasant, but it’s earthy and heady and it always takes me straight back to Paris in my memories. I’m like Dolly and her coat. I finally discovered it’s just boxwood, so I thought I’d better have a bit of Paris here with me. I bought six lovely plants and when I water them, that smell of Paris’s intimate gardens, late nights, and a reasonless feeling of contentment comes rushing back. It’s like Proust and his madeleines. I’m being maudlin and it’s embarrassing, but I love those boxwoods. 

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