Thursday, September 16 2021

caffeine naps, snowpiercer, and shrimp rice

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy - what is it.... Thursday?

I'm having some difficulty building momentum for the day. Even all this bright morning sunshine and beautiful early fall weather isn't waking me up as much as I hoped. In fact I was so tired this morning I attempted to take a caffeine nap.

Have you ever heard of a "caffeine nap"? A caffeine nap is when you drink a cup of coffee and quickly take a power nap. If done right, the caffeine from the coffee starts to kick in just as your waking up. A clever physiology hack, right?

Out of desperation I gave it a shot. I guzzled my Seinfeld coffee mug empty and rolled up a couch pillow behind my neck. I stared at the back of my eyelids, vividly hearing the piercing sounds of sirens whaling outside and Miles fussing upstairs. That's when it dawned on me - the cup of coffee I had guzzled before laying down for a nap was already my second, and this whole "caffeine nap" thing probably doesn't work if you've already finished one cup of coffee. I guess it was still nice to pretend to sleep for twenty minutes. Even staring at the back of your eyelids can reset your focus the same way that a regular nap does.

Anyway, onto the third cup of coffee. And while this beautiful cocktail of aromas and stimulants diffuses into my bloodstream, I'll be writing instead of sleeping.

Sip. Good morning, everybody. How are you feeling today? I think I'm finally feeling alert and present enough to reflect on this past Wednesday we had.

Sadly trivia night was called off. Our babysitter came down with a cold, and erring on the cautious side she decided it was best to keep her distance. Instead of making fools of ourselves at trivia night with Alex and Cassie, we had a normal hobby night at home. Standing outside with Marissa while she examined our freshly re-stained porch, we discussed our thwarted plans.

"I was looking forward to trivia," said Marissa.

"I was too," I replied. "Maybe we can try it again next week when Finley is feeling better. But Alex and Cassie are introverts like us - they probably still had fun."

Even for plans you were looking forward to, doesn't everyone get just a little rush of relief when plans are cancelled? Is that true for everyone, or just for introverts like us? Of course we were looking forward to hitting the town and playing trivia in a busy bar, but there's also something kind of liberating about calling everything off on account of things you can't control. It was like we had no choice but to stay home and have a quiet evening. The universe conspired to force us to relax and share a bottle of wine while watching a movie.

Marissa and I started the movie Snowpiercer. While looking for the trailer on YouTube, we accidentally watched the newer remake with Daveed Diggs, when in reality we owned the older Chris Evans version. No amount of action and suspense could hide the fact that the movie's premise is kind of ridiculous. We paused the movie to grab some snacks from the kitchen.

"Why would they remake this movie?" said Marissa. "And it's not even that old."

"I can already tell it's one of those movies where they skip right over explaining why the bad people at the front of the train are bad. Why do they have all the guns? Why are they so mean to all the people in the back of the train?"

The film opens with a cramped train car. Armed guards point their guns at a gathering of people wearing ratty clothes. A wealthy woman scans the crowd and spots a child hugging her mom's leg. She points at the child, like she's selecting a pet, and the armed guards escort the group away while restraining the screaming mother. A gut wrenching situation, but also the more the movie builds on class warfare confrontations like these, the lack of context becomes more bizarre. Apart from their ratty clothes and affable grit, how do they even tell each other apart?

"And as if it's not bad enough, we have to sit through Ben Affleck pretending to be poor," I sneered.

Marissa looked at me quizically. "That's not Ben Affleck," she said. "That's Captain America." Her claim passed the google search test. Her mouth hung open in amazement. "This is so exciting," she squealed. "I never recognize actors."

That's probably enough ripping on Snowpiercer. In other news, we found a great new recipe that created our own Snowerpiercer-esque suspenseful stand-off at the dinner table. We made bok choy rice with shrimp sauteed in shallot-butter, and because it practically goes against my religion to waist a pan coated with shrimp flavored shallot butter, I fried some small croutons from leftover bread.

Rodney, an ardent lover of shrimp, was beside himself. He scarfed down the shrimp and crispy bread like it was candy, stopping only to proclaim THIS IS SO TASTY. On the other side of the dinner table, Miles stubbornly shoved his pile of shrimp rice away while he looked for distractions. He captured our amusement with a brief game of "copy-the-baby" in hopes of getting out of eating dinner altogether. But things became a lot less fun for Miles over an hour later when it was just the two of us. I battled Miles over every little mouthful of shrimp. He winced in existential pain with each bite.

I'll tell you who was grateful for the meal - the worm colony. I treated them to the leftover leaves of bok choy, and while changing out their food I dug around in the bin to see how our experimental commune was faring. To my surprise, the adult beetles and larva worms seemed to be coexisting peacefully. They didn't form aggressive factions and there was no evidence of cannibalism. It was just a chill group of vegetarian worms and beetles mingling in egg crates and horse food. I think these worms and beetles would put those bozos from Snowpiercer to shame.

That's what I got today. Have a great Thursday, everybody.