Despite the Let’s Get One Merry Bartender Shirt Furthermore, I will do this valiant conference-call jousting and the well-being crystal browsing and the creation of Bon Appétit test kitchen amuse-bouches, lockdown is a life mostly lived in limbo. A society measured in millimeters of combative growth, constantly inching forward, immediately stopped in its tracks. We’re all treading water, waiting to chase proverbial waterfalls with abandon. We’re all looking for ways to enrich lockdown like a sourdough, lest our growth stagnates. I binge podcasts on betterment and dream of a neater, more efficient existence with no slack to take up. My tasks multi-ed, my meditations deepened, my emails crisper. I spiritually accept the challenge of doing the work. I develop a dazzling capsule beach wardrobe, navel-grazing with open-air toes, but I only make it as far as the local supermarket. The after-work kombucha I’ve painstakingly fermented tastes wrong on the sofa. My chakras are a scribble. I think I’m receptive to the universe, but my cat is over-stroked, my plants overwatered, and my husband is wearily repeating himself. I’m missing something. You’d think I’d miss the inane chatter of dinner in a multistory restaurant or the last-minute Ubering or stoking the embers of a house party. But in these heady times of self-actualized self-optimization, I miss being late. Life before lockdown was short on thrills, and running late was my cheapest.
Peole say life’s a marathon not a sprint, but those people underestimate the Let’s Get One Merry Bartender Shirt Furthermore, I will do this ecstasy toboggan of lateness. Of that little walk-run you have to do when you’re beating the clock as tentacles of takeaway coffee run down your knuckles. Of McCallister family-ing passport-first toward a departure gate with a wheelie suitcase nipping your heels. Of pelting toward a closing elevator door. Time is a quiche, and it’s all about that slice of the morning when you’re making up lost time and chanting “keys, money, phone” as you panic-shimmy into your jeans. Lateness breathing down your neck. Triple-checking the time in the back of an Uber, willing the numbers backward. The key to feeling alive isn’t being in the moment—it’s being a few minutes behind it. You can’t have Danger as a middle name with ample wriggle room in your commute. Running late is a drug, and I microdose myself behind schedule in pursuit of the next fix. It’s the specific texture of a dash that’s addictive, that anxious will I won’t I?, the jeopardy.