I kind of hate the word "backlog." It sounds like a long list of chores instead of an exciting list of things to do or check out. But, it's pretty obvious what it means, and inventory, stockpile, or hoard sound much worse. It also seems more closely tied to a bias towards action, while the others feel more like passive, excessive consumption.
When I hear backlog, I immediately think of software bugs, then games, but I've been seeing it surface a little bit differently today. This week I've seen people slowly turn away from the chaos of the now toward the future. They're starting to dream again, about what they might do, and who they might see, once this is all over. At times like these, it really puts into perspective all the little things we take for granted. We're all building a backlog of dreams, and it's oddly beautiful to see some of the most mundane things show up over and over.
Here are some of my mundane dreams.
- Cowork at a cafe with friends and tip my barista. Leave with a refill.
- Grab boba tea for myself and a friend and enjoy it in the park.
- Grab a hot cocoa at La Colombe. I've been thinking about it since I tried it in San Diego.
- Get a cookie at Culture Espresso. I was in denial but those gooey crispy cookies have imprinted themselves on my memory.
- Eat a giant bowl of ramen at Ichiran. It will probably be great right out quarantine. The single booths make social distancing a breeze.
- Rent a bike and get lost in Central Park.
- Explore the parks of Inwood.
- Visit Highbridge Park.
- Walk around old neighborhoods in the South Bronx. I did this for my old neighborhoods in Queens and it was enlightening.
- Visit the Botanical Gardens. They're literally right there!
- Take a trip to visit a friend upstate.
- Spend a weekend in Philadelphia.
- Wander a museum and just get lost in the artwork.
- Walk the trails on the Westside Highway, then take a detour to the Highline.
- Grab a taco at Los Tacos in Chelsea Market.
- Grab a few beef patties from the Caribbean communities of the Bronx.
- Have friends over for the first time in years.
And so on and on. When I started this exercise, I thought it would make things worse, but I actually feel better. Now, instead of dreading tomorrow, I remember a small sliver of the kinds of things I have to live for.