It was recently my birthday. I started the celebrations by sleeping in so late that I probably wouldn’t be that sleep deprived. My boyfriend continued the celebrations by making me breakfast in bed and setting aside his work, donning a hat, and singing to me when I woke. He actually always makes me breakfast and it is usually in bed, but that didn’t really detract from it.
I went to work in my own room, and had some success clarifying my thoughts about arguments for catastrophic risk from artificial intelligence in a Google doc. I took a quick walk in the sun. I dropped into a massive online town to have virtual coffee with my colleagues and other passers by.
I went back and discussed some troubling things with my boyfriend while standing on one leg, so that the discussion couldn’t possibly get out of hand and eat a lot of time.
We went out for a leisurely walk, but quickly realized that if we were going to eat cake on this day, we probably wanted to acquire it from a bakery a twelve minute walk away and get back to the house for his next appointment within less than 30 minutes. So it became a brisk walk up a giant hill and down the other side, to the slightly alternate universe of Noe Valley, where there are things like children and farmers markets and good but not fancy restaurants. The bakery had a queue, but we did not give up, and it turned out to be an extremely fast one so we got home with a creamy yellow passionfruit cake before too long.
Alone again, I opened a present I got myself, a giant piece of rope. I keep having some unexplained hankering for hauling myself up a giant piece of rope. So I thought, why not? Now I am only impeded by my total lack of arm strength or general dexterity. (No this fantasy was not based on prior experience of climbing ropes, I think.)
In the midst of various kind offers to make food I like for dinner, I became flustered and couldn’t remember what is good to eat. I thought it might be okonomiyaki, but coludn’t find any for sale in my city. Eventually I happily went with what I always make: crispy fried silken tofu with craisins and nuts and greens. With the possible addition of farro, a recent interest. So we cranked up the music and made it together and drank green apple cider and ordered extra fries and jalapenos and such on the side.
My whole household joined for dinner, and we talked about why it isn’t possible to buy academic papers at prices that someone might plausibly pay, and whether it is generally better for the world if goods like Netflix movies are sold in large bundles (all of Netflix) rather than one at a time (pay per movie).
Then we got out a neat little box of polymer clay in many colors that I recently acquired, and sculpted things while we played a game I remembered from years ago, though still don’t know the name of. You basically try to guess summary statistics of your group for different questions, then reveal the individual answers that let you see who was right. For instance, questions included ‘how many of us can play the tune of happy birthday on two different instruments without sheet music, but with five minutes to think about it?’ and ‘how many of us have kissed someone of our own sex?’
We then briefly played ‘what’s more unlikely?’ a game where you are presented with two very unlikely things, and try to convince a judge that one of them is less likely. For instance, is it more likely that by 2060 a potato has become president of the United States, or that a head of cabbage has? (Favored answer: potato)
We then had a round of ‘Katja is interviewed about things’ (“How do you feel about trees?”)
Then we played askhole, which was tamer and more wholesome than their website led me to expect. It was pretty good.
Eventually everyone went to bed, except for my boyfriend and I, who stayed to clean up a little more. But cleaning quickly turned to dancing, and dancing turned into dancing a lot. At least for me—he got tired and flopped around on a beanbag mostly. (This was arguably the best bit of the day, but I can’t elaborate because I am falling asleep so aggressively while writing this that I just concluded this sentence with apparent nonsense.
In other news, if you don’t have the maximal number of cars in the massive garage of your weirdly proportioned house, and you aren’t allowed to rent out the space to another sub-letter, and you have eaten down some of your quarantine stores, and you mop up all the shards of broken fluorescent tube that fell there, and your housemate kindly lays out the mats, then you can sometimes have a rad private dance floor!