In the thick of Covid lockdown, my parents called a Zoom meeting for me and my brother and sister.
“Guys,” my dad began in his commanding baritone. “Mom and I have called you here today because we want you to know where our important papers are in case we don’t make it through this.”
I burst into laughter and my siblings joined in. My father, a tall, hearty man, rose from his chair and walked away, muttering, “okay, I guess you don’t want to know.”
“Dad, come back,” we all yelled. “You got us all gathered here! …
I had always wanted to cook, but my first kitchen, no more than a 6-foot-by-6-foot linoleum-tiled square in my tiny walk-up apartment, stopped me from cooking anything more than couscous salad and the occasional batch of pumpkin muffins. I had always longed for a green thumb, but my first garden was a strip of shady, rocky soil, so I halfheartedly planted a few pansies and basil plants and waited patiently for another house that would have a garden with direct sun. I had always wanted to write, but I didn’t have a room of my own.
For a long time…
I loathe reality tv, largely because I have little interest in watching groups of people in intentionally stressful situations duke it out for survival. I am usually stuck at the premise itself, wondering what fool would sign up for this self-inflicted torture and then profess surprise when things go south.
And yet there I was, in April 2020, stuck in my own form of a wretched living experiment, uncertain if all participants will come out alive or, at the very least, sane.
Let me set the scene.
My family is one month into our quarantine together in our weekend house…
Author of AVAILABLE: A Memoir of Sex & Dating After a Marriage Ends (Boro/HarperUK June ‘21).