Unreality

Wherein I proceed into what's surely a dystopia in the making.

I did not anticipate my talk of a ridiculous chair cushion last week would generate such interest, but we are a like-minded bunch, so silly me. For those of you wanting to know more about my wibbly-wobbly cushion, this is the one. And I’m happy to report that I’ve loved sitting on it for the last week. Active sitting, good times.

While we’re talking about how on earth to keep ourselves from falling into a sedentary health crisis during ongoing quarantine, I made a shocking-for-me impulse buy a month ago.

It’s shocking for two reasons.

First, I do not exercise with other people if I can help it. Even in the Before Times, when I went fairly regularly to a gym, it was the kind of gym where you were on your own. No getting to know the person sweating to the left of you. No small talk. And for heaven’s sake no cheering-on or affirmations. Back when conferences and retreats were a thing, I never ever got up early to do group yoga. I did not and do not go on jogs with friends.

If I’m going to exercise, it’s going to be something I do very blissfully by myself.

Second—and I recognize this one is likely to sound batshit insane and also, given this time in history, odd—I think the kind of apocalypse that’s going to really bite us all in the ass is going to be a massive electromagnetic pulse that will wipe out all the connected tech we use. Yes, that is some load of tinfoil-hat crazy, but I am always honest with you, dear reader, and it’s been a long time that I’ve had EMP at the top of my Likely Apocalypse List. (Pandemic was just below, but thankfully the one we’re currently experiencing has proven, though guttingly tragic, not apocalyptic.)

Covid makes me even more certain of the eventual EMP apocalypse, really, since we’ve spent the last ten months oohing and ahhing over how wonderful communication technology is and how grateful we are for its help keeping us connected even when we have to stay physically apart.

Would it not be the absolute worst for us all to get vaccinated and then a huge EMP renders obsolete the tech-connected world as we know it?

So. Back to my wholly uncharacteristic impulse buy.

It’s a virtual-reality headset, and I bought it so I could do a particular interactive workout with my friend – me in my den, she in her living room.

Just writing that out, I am literally shaking my head at myself.

First, I’m a big fan of reality-reality, even when it blows chunks like during a global pandemic. My entire worldview, and all the principles it creates that I live by, centres around taking the bad with the good. We see the bad, we try to make it good. If we pretend there isn’t bad, we build a glass house around ourselves that’s destined to fall apart and cut us and those around us as it breaks, and we don’t even give ourselves a chance to try to leave this place better than we found it because we spend so much energy trying to keep our glass house intact while we’re in it.

Spending time in a virtual reality instead of reality reality seems dangerous in a similar way.

Second, and the part that’s making me shake my head at myself again, is that I made this purchase so my friend and I can, like, sweat and breathe heavily and curse while in each other’s ear holes – me from my house and her from hers. I don’t even know who I am anymore.

I’ll tell you the kicker, too. The kicker is that though I usually weather the dark, rainy Vancouver winters without complaint, this year’s winter really, deeply got to me. December and most of January were the worst. For days and weeks on end it felt like it never actually got light out. (All y’all who live in Alaska and Siberia and Northern Canada, I don’t know how you do it.)

The part about the VR that made me downright impatient for it to arrive was the promise of being able to sit for ten minutes immersed in the landscape of a sunny beach, or a mountain lake. A change of scenery in these pandemic-restricted times, yes, but also simply brightness that my brain would think is real.

An EMP may disconnect our connected world someday, but in this particular moment of physical disconnectedness, virtual reality feels like exactly the right answer. This weekend, I will shove my head into the headset and I will hold pretend bats which I will use to beat the crap out of make-believe flying cones, and I can’t wait.

This is all very weird, dear reader. I hope you’re holding together okay.

Onward!
Kim


We’ve got two discussion threads going, which next month will be open to all paid subscribers (thank you!):

On books, and on crafts.

Come hang out and chat!


Items of Note

  • In the next few weeks, I will be moving our online community to a different system than the forums we’ve been using for a while. More to come, directly to forum members, but I wanted to give you a heads-up.

  • Working on this series on Indigenous beadwork was truly a privilege.

  • The Art of the Reverse Knit

  • The kid and I have been watching The Great Canadian Baking Show and now I want to bake all the things (except the gross ones like I will never ever accept cheese in desserts), maybe starting with doughnuts, because obviously. (Anticipating some replies questioning this: yes absolutely 100% yeast doughnuts. Life’s too short for cake.)

  • The embroidery story of Dr. Jill Biden’s dress 😍.

  • The bold, monochrome outfits women wore on Inauguration Day. So many articles about it, but none that I found in my admittedly quick search had the actual story: How this was coordinated, whose idea it was. And no article used the word tapestry, focusing instead on each individual woman and their colour and designer. Those pieces are interesting, but what’s more interesting is the full effect of many, many women wearing bold monochrome ensembles all together. It was a vision that communicated far more than any one individual’s fashion choices and designers that day.

What I’m making: A sock I started a very long time ago, top-down. This weekend I aim to turn the heel. And I’m hoping picking this one up halfway through will make the second sock seem less like a repetition and more like a fun new thing. We’ll see!

What I’m watching: The third season of Star Trek Discovery, which I still think, overall, is a big disappointment, however amazing it is that there’s such a diverse cast of characters.

What I’m reading: Ok, so Archer’s Voice was terrible. Great concept, ham-fisted execution. So sad. I’ve just started Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and am too close to the start to have an opinion yet. Have you read it? The kid and I are still reading The War I Finally Won, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, and the author again explores complexities – of war, of family, of class, of nationality – artfully and skillfully. Head over to the book discussion thread! Starting next month, threads like these will be open to folks who have paid subscriptions. Yum.