Welcome to MR’s Sunday Scaries Diaries, where we chronicle our post-weekend nerves in an effort to make all of us feel a little less alone as we procrastinate Monday. Below, the Sunday Scaries Diary of MR’s Deputy Editor, Haley Nahman.
This Sunday Scaries diary starts in the middle of the night…
I wake up to Avi getting out of my bed and leaving the room. I presume he’s moving to the couch, which he occasionally does when he’s having insomnia and is nervous about waking me up. I lay awake for 30 minutes, mind turning over the previous day. When I hear him stir, I say that I’m awake too, and he joins me back in bed. We talk for the next hour about life — what’s keeping us up, what’s exciting us, getting us down — and eventually both drift off to sleep.
I wake up to Avi’s voice: “My mom’s flight just landed.”
“What time is it?”
“Yeah. I gotta go. I’ll call you.”
He pulls on his pants, kisses my cheek and is gone.
I lay in bed and consider falling back asleep. I had a rough couple nights of sleep and have been playing catch-up. When I realize it’s not going to happen, I succumb to the blue light and check my phone. It’s dead. The memory of last night returns: My charger wasn’t plugging in properly, as if there was something stuck in the inlet. I grab my phone, my sewing kit, and make my way to the couch.
I’ve been using various tools to dig something out of the charging port of my phone for 20 minutes. It looks like cookie dough. I’m squinting and trying to see inside. I don’t test it until I’m confident it feels clean. When I finally try the charger, it works. Hurray! Blessed be the fruit.
I decide to make myself a smoothie bowl, which have a reputation for being snooty and expensive, but which I think might be the hidden secret of breakfast. The ones I make are cheap, healthy-ish, delicious and don’t require fresh food. Here’s how I make them:
-One frozen banana (I keep a bowl of them in my freezer at all times)
-A big handful of whatever frozen berries I have on hand (usually blueberries, strawberries and raspberries)
-A few glugs of almond milk (I buy cartons two at a time and they last forever)
-A tablespoon of flax seeds (or chia seeds, or whatever seeds)
-Blend until smooth
-Top with honey, gluten-free granola, goji berries
As the blender roars, I make up a story in my head about my neighbors hating the all-too-frequent sound and having an inside joke about how much they hate me. When it’s done, I return to the couch with my bowl. I reach for the remote but stop myself and grab a book instead. I’m reading Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh.
“Reading makes me happier than TV,” I announce to an empty room, like a weirdo.
I’m still reading Eileen. It’s good.
I suddenly occurs to me, mid-page, that there were two Man Repeller stories I was supposed to finish editing on Friday but didn’t. I drag my computer to the couch and get to work on editing what will eventually become 12 Home Decor Tips I Can’t Stop Thinking About and Why “Black Girl Magic” Doesn’t Always Sit Right With Me.
My brother Andy FaceTimes me mid-edit. He’s smooshed into his couch too. We rehash the picnic we had last night at Transmitter Park. He had to leave early and wants to know what he missed. He has a general existential fear of missing out, which always makes me laugh because I don’t know anyone who does as much fun and interesting stuff as he does.
I finish editing and suddenly remember I’m supposed to be recording my day today for Man Repeller’s Sunday Scaries franchise. I spend the next 15 minutes documenting the above. Now I need to rush to get ready to meet up with Avi and his mom for lunch.
I shower off but decide not to do anything with my hair as it looks fine. For my skin, I put on EasyDew Active Soothing Serum mixed with The Nue Co vitamin-C power to start, followed by Honest Beauty Nourishing Lotion, then Glossier sunscreen mixed with a drop of Drunk Elephant bronzing liquid, and finish with Glossier Cloud Paint in Haze. Then I move to my closet to get dressed.
Omg. That took me forever and I don’t even like my outfit. I panicked! How does one dress for a day with one’s boyfriend’s mother when one has no idea what the day entails? After trying a basic dress and sandals and realizing I felt entirely unlike myself, I put on navy blue wide-leg pants I haven’t worn in a year and a black puff-sleeve shirt. I feel very whatever about this outfit but I have no further time to deliberate or I’ll be late!
IT IS VERY HOT. Why am I wearing pants? Why am I wearing such dark colors? I’m fired.
I arrive at Avi’s looking so hot and sweaty his mother immediately dotes on me — bringing me water, sitting me in front of the air conditioner, etc. It’s very sweet. Avi says he’s calling a car because we’re going to Jackson Heights! As they put on their shoes, I run downstairs and buy myself an iced coffee.
Avi, his mother, Rita, and I are squeezed into the back of a car on our way to Queens. Rita and I are discussing how chubby Avi was as a baby. She says her doctor put him on a diet at six weeks old! Apparently he was taking down double the milk he was supposed to. This delights me to no end.
We arrive at Sri Maha Vallabha GanaPati, a Hindu temple in Queens — said to be one of the first Hindu temples in the U.S. (Also, did you know some people call Queens one of the most diverse places on Earth? The whole neighborhood is incredible and feels completely different depending on where in the borough you are.)
We remove our shoes before entering the temple and I take note of a sign that says shorts and ripped jeans are prohibited. I’m suddenly thankful for my full-coverage outfit. Avi and I walk around looking at the shrines, leaving his mother to pray on her own. I’m struck by one of the plaques that reads: “When I study, grant me success (by means of right understanding) always.” I make a mental note; I like that definition of success.
After we leave, we head to the temple canteen for lunch, which Avi heard serves the best Dosa in New York. The canteen is underground, looks like a cafeteria and smells delicious. We order too much food, confirm it is indeed the best dosa, and spend the meal discussing Indian politics, Avi’s mother’s argument with Avi’s father about what car to buy next, and Avi’s mother’s similarities to my mother.
After a long lunch, we head out. Next we are going to Patel Brothers, which is the largest Indian American supermarket chain in the U.S. It’s a mile away. We decide to walk because it’s beautiful out. I’m not worried about a thing, except that my brother missed out on lunch. (He’s been talking about going to Jackson Heights for months.)
Avi and I are laughing because we can’t seem to get 10 feet without his mother stopping to identify a plant and discuss its properties. It’s very charming.
Avi: “Mom, you’re too Michigan. Have you ever walked a mile straight?”
Rita: “This is the simple life, Avi. You should learn it.”
We arrive at Patel Brothers. I follow the two of them around like a puppy, laughing in delight as they argue about things like whether Avi needs a 50-pound bag of rice. At times I can’t tell who is trolling who.
All done! When we walk outside, it feels like it’s going to rain, so I call us a car home. The train would take double the time, unfortunately. When it arrives, we pile in for a 40-minute ride back to Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, where we both live.
On the drive home, I feel a vague fondness for driving on the highway. I don’t do it much. The car is lulling me to sleep. Our middle-of-the-night antics are catching up to me.
We are home! Took much longer than expected. I immediately crank Avi’s A/C unit and put on one of his sweatshirts — I’m in the mood to be cozy. Avi puts on a Michael Bublé holiday music video as a joke to tease his mom, who he claims loves Bublé, which she denies. We pretend it’s Christmas for three minutes while Rita makes us tea.
Tea’s up. Avi puts on Jaws for our afternoon nap time, for no discernible reason.
Wow, the aesthetic of Jaws is amazing. The whole thing looks like it’s been run through a Huji filter, and the clothes are on point too. Avi gets up to cook, leaving me and Rita on the couch as she critiques every scene aloud, which is making me laugh.
Rita: “This is bad direction, no?”
The light is dwindling outside. The house is filling with the smell of garlic. Tomorrow is Monday. I wish tomorrow were Sunday instead.
I decide I would watch any movie with Rita commentary turned on.
Jaws ends right as Avi brings us plates of food: sesame wings over rice with pickled carrots (a recipe he’s been perfecting this month that he found on Smitten Kitchen). He puts on cooking videos while we eat. He’s a good TV host — always picking random entertaining things to put on during downtime. The three of us watch a video of a person making cheesecake, and then cookies, and then a home-made iced latte. During the third one, as the guy goes to great lengths to roast his own coffee beans, Rita expresses her disapproval:
Rita: “No way.”
Avi: “What ma?”
Rita: “Why would you do all this? You can just buy one.”
Avi: “He’s not doing it because he wants a coffee, he’s doing it because he wants to do it.”
Me: “He’s stopping and smelling the roses!”
Rita: “I think he needs to go to a third world country and see what’s really important.”
I wash Avi’s dishes as a thank you for cooking for us and then pack up to head home. My eyes are stinging, I think from the sunscreen I put on earlier that morning; it’s making me feel exhausted. Or maybe I’m just genuinely exhausted.
Avi walks me to the train and waits on the platform with me until it comes. We chat and reflect on the day until the very last second, at which point I kiss him and run onto the train car. He watches me go. It’s all very old-timey.
Hello home! Hello Bug.
I put on PJs, brush my teeth and do my skincare routine right away because I know if I sit down on the couch now I’ll never get up. On my skin, I use Paula’s Choice cleansing oil to start, then Glossier face wash followed by Peach & Lilly toner, and then finish by mixing Caudalie face cream with a couple drops of Drunk Elephant face oil (I’ve been dry lately).
I sit down on the couch and solve the Rubik’s cube on my coffee table in under three minutes, my latest party trick. Someone sent a Rubik’s cube to the Man Repeller office this summer and I took it home because I’ve always wanted to learn how to solve one. About a month ago, Avi and I decided to dedicate an entire night to learning. Hunched over a Youtube tutorial we figured it out together, and we’ve spent the last few weeks trying to beat each other’s times.
I’m in bed now. I set my alarm for therapy tomorrow morning. I normally go on Friday mornings but I was sick last week so my therapist kindly rescheduled. I grab Eileen to read myself to sleep.
Wait! I forgot to meditate. I open Headspace and do a five-minute session laying down, which I think is cheating. It’s a miracle I don’t fall asleep.
Okay, now it’s actually bedtime. Night!