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January 2020

Post image for When In Doubt, Make Soup

One night a few months ago, two friends and I were feeling the onset of winter doldrums, and made a plan to address it with soup.

We had come together for some activity I no longer recall (movie? board game?) but everyone was feeling pretty low. Each of us was clearly addled by one or more ongoing life-woe—angst over relationships, money, health, aimlessness. Nobody wanted to ruin the evening by dumping their laundry on the floor, but it was obvious that we all needed to talk to someone.

So we made a plan to get together, on a different night, to do just that. Somebody would make a big pot of soup, then while we dined, each person would have a chance share their current struggles, and the rest of the group would listen and try to help.

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Post image for The Other Environmental Crisis

During a holiday get-together, several times the topic of conversation became, “Things that have quietly disappeared from ordinary life.”

We had been playing a word game that requires you to come up with examples from obscure categories of nouns: shampoo brands, film directors, types of fish. When “fashion model” came up, we noticed nobody could name one from this century.

In the 1990s, some of the most famous people in the world were fashion models, but at some point the world-famous model must have become an obsolete institution. Nobody was sad about this, but it seemed interesting that we hadn’t noticed their disappearance till twenty years later.

Earlier, my mom had been unable to make a particular recipe because she didn’t have enough sugar, and didn’t want to make a trip to the store just for that. Someone asked, “Hey… why don’t people knock on the neighbor’s door to borrow a cup of sugar anymore? When did that stop?”

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