This week will mark 8 weeks of this. 8 weeks of house arrest. 8 weeks of increased curfew and now a slow relaxation. A slow opening of stores and businesses around us. Still no flights in or out. And likely, none for 6 more weeks, but within the city we’re gaining some breathing room.
I’ve done some productive things, both personally and professionally. I’ve seen some of you, dear readers do many amazing things. Sourdough starters. Mastering steamed pork buns. Refinishing wood floors. No less than leaping tall buildings in a single bound. Yes, the global pause has been good for us, in some ways.
Looking back, I’ve done some things that are mundane, too. It’s been eight weeks of very tiny and specific projects.
On Day #2, I de-calcified all our shower heads. In our house there are 7, so it takes some time. I have no white vinegar, only red wine. This seems to work okay, though the first shower results in me smelling like salad dressing. The increase in water pressure is barely perceptible.
Day #3, I organized the books by topic and then size.
Day #7, Mrs. SAM is part squirrel. She acquires things and secretes them away for later. Just in case. One thing she seems to specialize in is soap. I find it everywhere. I hear that COVID-19 can affect one’s sense of smell. So, in an effort to test myself and also, in an attempt to foment an argument, I go on a mission to find all the soap in the house and collect them into one location. I mostly succeed, though I find a couple more bars on day #11 and #12.
Day #14, I make congee, rice porridge in an instant pot. Mastering this involves modifications on days #21 and 28.
Day #35, my Google map pins in Bangkok, are all one color. I’ve so many places I love, they are rapidly becoming indiscernible. I take several hours and stratify them. Fine dining, street dining, art, interesting things, bars, etc.
Day #45, I discover how to rapidly skin and eat mangosteen. I am now consuming and entire kilogram in a morning.
Day #46, I stumble upon a recipe for mangosteen using Google and witchcraft. I dry the skins in the tropical sun and steep a liter. It is good for tuberculosis, menstrual cramps and mental acuity. I have one of these problems, sometimes. I note some improvements.
Day #52, It is mango season. And there are fewer people to consume them. The streets run yellow with mangos and sellers. I eat on averaging around 2 mangos per day. After nearly severing my thumb gripping the slick fruit and a knife, I have mastered the thai art of slicing a mango and can present in an appealing fashion on a plate. I average one mango sliced and peeled every 4 minutes. My freezer fills with this yellow treasure, for smoothies in the future.
Days 1- 56. Attracted various forms of birds to our balcony. Considering we reside on the umpteenth floor on a non-descript urban canyon wall, this is a feat. We’ve been graced, by finches and doves and flower suckers and of course pigeons. On day# 54, I attracted a mynah bird, but just for a moment. This had been the goal for the month. The birds and I have an understanding. They get a health meal and water every day and snacks every other day. They wait for me now, staring with some intensity if I am late. I’m sure if they had a blog, they would say that, though it took them 8 weeks, they finally trained the schmo in Umpteen-D to give them free food.
Day #55 I accidentally invented a new cocktail which Mrs. SAM has dubbed the Mekhong Creamsicle. Consisting of sweetened condensed milk, soda water, lime juice and Mekhong Whisky, over crushed ice. There is nothing whisky about this liquor made from sugar and rice and local herbs. But along with the other stuff, it is just what the 100F temps call for.
Day #56, I upgraded the lightbulb lumens in the ceiling lights. This has proven enlightening and vastly improved my outlook on cooking and life in general. If your house is dim and dreary, I cannot recommend this enough.
So, along with the miles walked and the kilometers explored, small things helped pass the time. And along the way, like you dear reader, I spend a lot of time thinking about nothing, and dreaming about nothing, but certainly as the above illustrates, I was not doing nothing. I hope you were not doing nothing, too.