For me, alone and bored is not a good combination. I become frustrated with myself, because how can you be bored in such a busy world? How could you be unhappy when there are so many things that make people happy? Somehow, however illogically, my brain has come to equate minute boredom with perpetual unhappiness. And for a moment, in this brief existential spiral, my conclusion becomes de facto “I’m bored and alone, nothing makes me happy, life has no meaning.”
But it’s a cycle I know well. Post-crisis, I remember Sartre.
L’homme est condamné à être libre, parce qu’une fois jeté dans le monde, il est responsable de tout ce qu’il fait. – Jean-Paul Sartre
And I remember the great relief I felt when I first encountered this philosophy. I remember that as human beings, it is our duty to give life meaning. That it is our duty to make ourselves and others happy and to find a way to work in this world where sometimes, boredom is just boredom.
It’s in this moment that I realize, though I’ve been spending more time alone, I’ve also been spending more time with people I’ve neglected.
It’s in this moment I realize I was lying to myself all those times I said I was “too busy.”
In this moment, I’m grateful for the leisure to even have this mini-existential crisis.
In this moment, I can actually make paralyzingly simple decisions, like what to eat when it’s 4 o’clock and you’re starving because you haven’t eaten all day, and you might go to dinner later, but you might not, but you might.
And thus, I emerged from this weekend’s ritual by discovering the crispy egg.
While solving one problem with avocado and sriracha, I inadvertently solved another. This surprising snack reminded me that, of course, cooking makes me happy. And then another: discovering new things makes me happy. When I took my plate to the patio with the festival thump in the distance, I remembered that under 100˚ weather and music make me happy. As I read my book with my people sized dogs adorably eyeing my plate, I began making plans to defeat boredom.
The Crispy Egg (from Smitten Kitchen)
As for skillets, any kind will do. I used both a stainless steel and cast-iron here. The smaller the skillet, the less your egg will move around if it turns out that your stove, like mine, isn’t perfectly level.
-1 glug olive oil or cooking fat of your choice
-1 egg, any size
-Salt, pepper, herbs, spices or hot sauce, or all of the above
Over a high flame, heat a skillet for a full minute. Add a glug of oil and let it heat until it just begins to smoke, another 30 seconds. Add your egg, reduce the heat to medium-high, and step back; it’s going to hiss and sputter and basically be the most wildly dramatic thing to happen at breakfast in a long time. Within a minute, it should get brown at the edges but don’t touch or move it. Let it cook until the white looks fully opaque, another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Shimmy a thin metal spatula under the egg, gently loosening any stuck parts. Transfer to whatever you’re serving it on (toast, latke waffles, fried rice, home fries, a plate), shower it with seasonings, herbs and spices of your choice and waste no time digging in. Repeat as needed.