For spring? Groundbreaking.
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My phone's camera roll is mostly plants now.   

This week
I have been craving flowers. Craving them in the visceral way I would normally crave something like enchiladas or dill pickle potato chips or frozen custard. I am not the only one feeling this way, and I am lucky that I can walk around my neighborhood and see so many blooming things. (Florals for spring do feel groundbreaking this year!) But filling my camera roll with succulents and jasmine isn't enough. I want more. I thought I might sate this flower hunger by re-reading Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief. Plus I wanted to consume beautiful descriptions of places far from my home—never have I pined so hard for Florida swamps!—and I thought some low-stakes niche drama would prove a comforting distraction. It did. But it only left me wanting more flowers.

This strangely persistent desire reminds me of a phrase that a friend taught me, just a week or two into social distancing: skin hunger. It's the term psychologists use for our need to have a physical connection to other humans. Flower hunger is a related affliction: The desire to have a connection with the natural world. Or anything beyond the confines of our homes and screens, really. It makes me feel just a tiny bit better to give it a name.

I'm reading
The climate crisis isn't coming, it's already here. And the pandemic didn't break the US, it was already a failed state. This is the only world young people have known. How can you shelter in place if you don't have shelter? What it feels like to close down your restaurant and lay off your entire staff. The childcare workers screwed by their rich bosses and this description of the White House stopping hospitals from getting PPE made my blood boil. The fight against Amazon. "Charity has become the governing metaphor of the pandemic response, replacing justice, which itself has been placed on a ventilator." The case for being messy on Zoom. The allure of resentment and judgment in this moment. Why are airlines still flying? The rise of "I'm not a scientist but..." pandemic influencers. A common metaphor for pandemic strategy, "the hammer and the dance" was coined by an MBA, not a scientist. It's time for the hospitality industry to listen to black women. Writers on how they're surviving isolation. Everybody walks in L.A. An interview with artist Carolee Schneeman. The "Fetch the Bolt Cutters" roundtable discussion you've been waiting for. What it's like to have the worst experience of your life turned into an episode of SVU. A history of caffeine and capitalism. An ode to the George Foreman grill. Making soup as an act of love. Learning to bake bread... at an apprenticeship in France, not in your own isolated kitchen.

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I’m looking & listening
These photos of health care workers counter-protesting anti-science protesters. Entertaining and educational: my pal Stacy Wood explains 5G conspiracies on the Road to Now podcast. Meriem Bennani's videos of anthropomorphic lizards in quarantine. Two friends talk about how to keep their friendship alive long-distance. A song about tampons in space. And, of course, Stanley Tucci making a negroni.

My brain saying one thing and my body vehemently disagreeing.

I endorse

If you're in the US, telling your governor that you support fact-based social distancing. This link makes it easy (one click!) to write and tell them you endorse the scientific consensus that it's far too soon for anyone but essential workers to be out and about in the world.

I also endorse filling out your Census form if you haven't already! Today's episode of CYG is all about the politics of the US Census.

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This newsletter is flower hungry.
Forward it to a friend who's blooming despite the odds.

What? You weren't aware I have a book coming out in July??

Ann Friedman

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