I finished them. On Saturday I was on the home stretch, so I pretended it was Christmas Eve—the time I’d normally finish them—and worked on it till morning. I’d slept earlier in the night, so it wasn’t too bad. Keeping me company were some Christmas playlists of Victorian and lo-fi music, ambiences of gift wrapping, and ASMR roleplays of Christmas parties.
My next Christmas project is gift wrapping and sending. Since I normally use whatever my parents have at their house and we won’t be there this year, I need to find some wrapping paper. Later I’ll need to make a trip to the post office. And I need to do all this before I start self-isolating on Wednesday for the family’s Christmas vacation. I imagine a normal person would hardly give this a thought, but practical tasks on a short timetable make me uneasy, mainly because I don’t trust my own use of time.
A coffee maker I ordered came in the mail. Up till now I’ve been drinking Mount Hagen instant coffee, but a lot of times I need something stronger, and I figure a coffee maker will give me more flexibility. It was hard to decide on a machine because the reviews for so many were mixed, but I found one customers rated highly at both Home Depot and Amazon, Hamilton Beach model 46381, a 12-cup programmable one. For coffee I’m starting with the standard Folger’s Classic Roast. It’s all working well so far. And it got me through the final night of label making.
I’m listening to a book on the feeling of certainty. Now that my political podcasts are more manageable, I have listening time to spend on other things, and I’m going with a book that keeps drawing my attention, On Being Certain by Robert Alan Burton. It addresses a neurological insight I ran across long ago that lately has felt more important in our divisive time, that certainty is a feeling that is not necessarily tied to actual knowledge or even any prior content at all. I’ll say more next week.
Saturday I hung out at the airport with my online friend Paul. It’s the first time we’ve met in person in the 20 years we’ve known each other. He was on a long layover, and I wasn’t sure how we’d do it in a pandemic, but luckily O’Hare has a Hilton inside its grounds, so we sat in the empty lobby on their well-spaced, cushiony chairs and talked for a couple of hours. It was a good conversation, and I was very glad we didn’t miss the opportunity.