Flush It Friday: Mo(u)rning Routines
In which I talk about a Ringer article. Forgive me.
And forgive me for doing that thing where I bemoan the thing (reading The Ringer) while doing the thing I’m doing (reading the Ringer) and then talking about the thing I’m bemoaning doing even though I don’t really bemoan it though I do groan quite a bit at it–there seem to be some writerly or conversational conventions that are inescapable. Forgive me that, as well.
Anyways. (Sorry about that one, too.)
About a month ago, Brian Philips wrote a funny piece about his obsession with Wordle, which made me think about my obsession–is that the word? Philips actually never uses that word once in his piece–with that silly little puzzle and all the other silly little puzzles and all the other not-as-silly-but-probably-still-silly puzzles I do with machinic regularity and have concatenated into something of a personality quirk by way of making of them a routine. Specifically, a morning routine.
Without diving too deeply into everything my morning includes, which, it turns out is either quite a lot or so very little (I can’t decide), we might review all the variously sized puzzles my morning includes: Connections (NYT’s latest addition which is your classic 4×4 grid a la BBC’s Only Connect where you have to make four groups of four); Wordle; Nerdle; Colorfle; the Mini; and, of course, and most importantly, the NYT Crossword. This list briefly included Worldle, but I am so bad at geography and apparently not interested in getting better at geography that I let it go. (I suppose one takeaway here is that I only play games I have more or less figured out. Except, that is, Colorfle, which is maddening and might get the axe soon enough. [I know Roldy already stopped.])
All of this is merely an extension, it would seem to me, of establishing a morning routine. It also very much smacks of a sort of neoliberal Rockwellianism: the quaint, homey virtues of starting your morning with a puzzle turns into a grotesquely ever-growing list of puzzles one must complete in some sort of way to deliver some sort of satisfaction or sense of self that we cannot elsewhere access. A mourning routine. Or, rather, we’re mourning our routines. Routines can be quite good at dislodging us from our enervating dalliances with mourning, but routines can also, if you’re doing a lot of mourning, turn into ruts. Philips taps into this same sense of boring, middle-class handwringing over how we turn what should (and still are!) little delights into something with a heft and meaningfulness it can’t possibly bear.
Philips also bemoans (he is, in fact bemoaning, as to where, earlier, I was acting at it for reasons unknown to me), being “addicted” to all these games. It’s fair, I think, to wonder about our routines and how they shape our days and how we might give over too much meaning to little pieces of our day, because, though I would hardly call them “addictions,” they can, when we’re feeling less rudderless and more a sense of ruttedness, take on the onus and baggage of being burdensome.
And what a shame! Because I love my puzzles. I love that my sister and I share our Nerdle scores and our Wordle triumphs and shake our fists at a particularly tricky Connections or just shake our heads at those colours making that colour in Colorfle. What a fun little start to my morning that I get to text my sister every morning about something. (We text all the time, but it’s nice to have a little morning chat.) This happens with Toilet ov Hell, too, with an entire Sub-Channel on the Discord dedicated to sharing the day’s scores on Wordle, Nerdle, the Mini, Guess the Game, and any other mini-game someone finds and tries on for size. (I fear, sometimes, that the sharing in Discord is less fun and less about connecting than it is an anxious activity, though that is maybe just my overarching fear about Discord itself.)
Which is just to say, simply, that I hope you have a morning routine that brings you delight and joy most mornings because how could they every morning, and that maybe it’s okay if not great to be a person with a morning routine if being a person with a morning routine is the kind of person you want to be. Goals don’t–can’t–always be satisfying! How sweet when they are, though.
So what are your morning routines? Coffee? How do you prepare it? Tea? What kind(s) of tea? Water? How could do you need it? Are you taking a walk or doing other exercises? What do you grab to read–what news outlets do you seek out in the mornings as opposed to the afternoons? What little games do you play? What puzzles do you find puzzling in a good way or a bad way? What do you wish your mornings included? What do you wish they were rid of? Do you even get to have mornings in the way “having a morning” means something? Are your rituals saved for the afternoon or before bed? I want to know it all! Tell me tell me tell me!
Joe and Jordan watched a movie with a person, as they are wont to do in October:
365 got malignant with this Ceremonial Bloodbath track premiere. Sentient Ruin bands are hella aggro.
Spear returned to take us to Tech Death Church with this Katholik track. This thing rips.
That’s it! This godforsaken week is almost over and, with it, the hope of a less godforsaken one next week. Take a break to share your Goods, Badz, Ugliez while also attending to all my questions about puzzles and routines above. You remember those ones, right? From earlier? Have a wonderful weekend, my beloveds.