Instructions

Cooking Taquitos, or Any Other Freezer-to-Oven Meal

  1. Turn on oven to 4oo.

  2. Dump contents of bag/box onto a pan you found on the counter, which already has some crumbs of freezer food on it. This is the currently-designated Freezer Food Pan; why clean it if you’re just going to get it dirty again?

  3. Put food in oven without waiting for it to preheat.

  4. Forget you put food in the oven.

  5. Remember when the smell of the food permeates the rest of the house, and rush to check on the oven, realizing that the food is either a) burned and must be removed or b) is not quiiiiiite done yet and just needs another minute.

  6. Repeat steps 4-5 until state 5a is achieved.

  7. Dump into the trash.

Growing Plants

  1. Buy a pineapple at the grocery store, and cut it up.

  2. Feel sorry for the pineapple top, which you know has the potential for life. All life is worth living, right?

  3. Plant pineapple top in one of the many empty plant pots that seem to accumulate on your front porch.

  4. Spritz obsessively with a Lowe’s spray bottle ($1.99), making sure that the soil never gets too damp, for months or years, until you have a large, happy plant that takes up a ton of space with its long sharp leaves, produces no fruit, thrives when your other plants die, and is wildly ugly.

  5. Find some sucker to pawn the pineapple plant off onto. Smile contentedly; you now have so much space in your home for other, nicer-looking plants!

  6. Develop a sudden craving for fresh pineapple.

Salsa Dancing with Strangers

  1. Get asked to dance by a short, wiry man with a face set in a line of grim determination.

  2. Figure out what his general style is, and try to copy it, but like, backwards.

  3. If he is a young man, make an amiable attempt to follow, knowing in your heart that he does not have the force to control you. You are a wild creature and also more man than he will be until he is a father with children of his own, and his grip is as clammy and impotent as his insistence that you “just need to let him lead.”

  4. If he is an older man, relax into his patriarchal confidence and let him whip you around like a spinning top. Just watch out for his attempts at dipping. And his wandering right hand.

  5. Think about the fact that you could hypothetically ask a woman to dance, but hold off, knowing that you lead like #3 man, because you don’t trust your own instincts.

  6. Begin to question whether you are a bad lead and a bad follow, and what that says about the kind of creature you are, stretching in all directions and succeeding in none. Watch the people you love dance like normal people, gorgeously, as they were meant to. You aren’t sure you were meant to be anything. Spiral like it’s what you were made for.

Getting Over a Bad Mood

  1. Drink a lot of coffee for days at a time to perk yourself up, and then realize that the anxiety you’re feeling is probably at least in part because you’ve had too much coffee. Wonder if it would help to smoke a cigarette from an old pack you bought for a party, and then don’t, because if this is how you are with coffee, you probably aren’t going to be responsible with nicotine. Decide that knowing that you are irresponsible counts as a kind of responsibility.

  2. While lying awake fretting about literally nothing, remember that thing your therapist said about talking to yourself like you’d talk to an eleven-year-old who was having a hard time. Begin with hey, kiddo, how’s it—and fall instantly to sleep because you are apparently actually an eleven-year-old and C knew their shit.

  3. Keep doing stuff. Doing stuff sucks, but it sucks less as you keep plodding forward. Gradually, you will start to notice pleasure again, creeping in around the edges, beginning to tint everything once more with color.

  4. If someone wants to hold you and sing to you, make yourself into a small ball that can fit neatly under an arm. Press your ear to their ribcage and listen to the reverberations, and feel how little you need, right now, to be fun or clever or anything other than a small ball that is warm and listening.

  5. Go through your computer and find a document you wrote in 2014 about getting out of a bad mood. Be charmed by both how little you have changed, and how much. Reflect that life is a spiral of iteration, that we always return to the same places at the same times, and that if each time we do a little better than the time before, we are, in fact, doing quite well.