Dear Blix:

I thought that while I was in lockdown, I would keep a journal, organize my closets, try out a recipe for baked Alaska, as well as learn to speak a foreign language. Seriously! Stay home, stop commuting to work? I was all in! Well, we are now coming up on a whole year of being inside, and I see from the internets that many of the other humans have done amazing things. Here, Blix, are my accomplishments: I have watched 9,000 cat videos on YouTube, have taken part in online fights with Russian bots about mask-wearing, AND I mostly eat dinner standing at the stove just so I won’t have to do dishes. What is to become of me?

Signed,

IS THERE HOPE

Dear Is There Hope,

First of all, Sugar Plum, the social media humans have proven that they are not to be trusted. Many of them are probably wading through six months’ worth of dirty laundry and tear-soaked tissues to get to their laptops. And then, after popping open a 7 a.m. beer, they manage to type how wonderful it is that they were able to master making sour dough bread AND learning Mandarin Chinese in the same afternoon, AFTER they had taught their children how to solve polynomial equations and how to diagram sentences that have both direct AND indirect objects.

Then they go back to lying face-down on the rug breathing in dog hair.

Listen to Blix. YOU ARE DOING FINE. The fact that you are still writing in complete sentences and that you know how to locate your stove is more than cause for celebration. Maybe knock off arguing with the Russian bots—they don’t even have decent grammar—and spend more time with the cat videos. Dog videos can also be quite entertaining, too, you know. Don’t miss the YouTube videos posted by Andrew Cotter, a BBC sportscaster who in pandemic times is now hilariously calling the play-by-play antics of his dogs, Olive and Mabel.

I myself have spent years of my life since last March watching a video posted by Mark Muldoon. It’s a cockatoo rocking out to his owner singing Elvis’s “Don’t Be Cruel.” Not only is it the funniest thing ever, but you can do some valuable self-examination by deciding if you’re the cockatoo on the left or the one on the right. It is self-knowledge that you will always be grateful for.

(I would post the link to these, but who knows the copyright laws—and in these troubled times, I can’t risk having the FBI come and cart me off to jail for stealing someone’s videos. But I’m sure you can find them easily on YouTube just by typing in some keywords. Millions of other people have!)

So go easy on yourself. Celebrate the big wins, like remembering how to turn on the computer and find the stove. For fun sometimes, you could count your breaths.

Here’s the thing to remember: the world will start up again at some point, and we will all go back to our real lives. Offices and movie theaters and indoor restaurants and bars. Trains and airplanes. Subway cars. In-person meetings. Elevators. Crowded sidewalks.

The pace will be unnerving, I’m sure. So we have to rest up for this.

My personal prescription: Take hot baths. Read books. Read books IN the hot baths. Take naps (but not in the bath). And drink a lot of tea.

Love,

Blix

Annnnnnndd…If you’d like a little more Blix in your life, you might like to know that MATCHMAKING FOR BEGINNERS is on sale on Kindle through February for just $1.99. This is the book that started it all, when 85-year-old Blix Holliday leaves her Brooklyn brownstone and all of her unfinished matchmaking projects to a woman she barely knows. The Associated Press called it “simply captivating from beginning to end.” It was a Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller, and was just named one of Goodread’s Most Popular Romance Novels of the Last Three Years.

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