13 Bustle Editors On Their Chaotic Social Distancing Activities

by Bustle Editors
People are picking up new hobbies as they social distance to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Getty/Shutterstock/Margaret Flatley

Look, we know: Amid a global coronavirus pandemic, shaky economy, and very real concerns for our friends and family, things feel scary and uncertain right now. We could all use a little distraction (and much-needed levity) from the relentless onslaught of news. At Bustle, editors have been turning to various — and at times seemingly random — activities in between our Zoom meetings and Google Hangouts. Here, a few of us share the ways we've been seeking respite, from baking projects to penguin videos and poetry.

Treating My Sourdough Starter Like She’s My Child

I love to bake, so I thought my social-distancing project would be tackling DIY sourdough. Every morning, I pull my starter down from her perch above my fridge, feed her equal parts flour and water, and give her a stir. She’s starting to get pretty funky! I don’t have a pet or a kid, so taking care of this wet bacteria goop gives me a sense of purpose, responsibility, and control. — Melanie Mignucci, Health & Wellness Editor

Forcing My Partner’s Family To Play House

I agreed to cook dinner for my social-distancing pod (my partner, his sister, and her boyfriend), although I barely know how to turn on the stove. Despite my best efforts, I burned the Brussels sprouts to char, overcooked the salmon, and prepared much too little food for four. And because I am forever ruled by my pride, I forced everyone to sit around the table and douse me in false compliments for the entirety of the meal. One week down, an indefinite amount to go! — Iman Hariri Kia, Sex & Relationships Editor

Becoming Inexplicably Obsessed With Penguin Videos

Listen, I love animals, and I like the occasional cute dog photo on Instagram. But I’m not typically one to watch wildlife documentaries or follow ~celebrity animals~ on social media. And yet somehow, I’ve become inexplicably obsessed with watching the penguins at Shedd Aquarium roam around the empty building. Perhaps it’s the joy of seeing them explore a newly-wide world while mine is rapidly shrinking in on me, or maybe it’s just that it’s really hard to feel stressed while watching a cute animal video (even if it’s only a 30-second reprieve). In any case, it’s comforting to know I’m not alone. — Dana Getz, Associate TV Editor

Learning The Choreography To “Bop To The Top” From High School Musical And Performing It For No One At 12:30 A.M. On A Monday Night

On the fifth day of social distancing, I found myself testing my memory and rhythm by re-learning the choreography to “Bop to the Top” in High School Musical. Yes, I said re-learning — I taught myself the charismatic dance during a particularly lonely week with the flu back in 2013. I brought in the standing mirror from the bedroom and placed it next to the living room TV and played the scene on repeat. Once I had it down, I secured my phone on top of three old Amazon packages and one box of crackers, propping it up with a narwhal paperweight in front of the camera for the most flattering angle, and clicked “record.” I did the dance three times in a row, trimmed the recording to the best take, and sent it to a close circle of friends who were all VERY alarmed. — Allison Piwowarski, Deputy Entertainment Editor

Creating A New Mantra

Say it with me now: I am Lysol, Lysol is me. Please run some tests and make sure my chemical makeup is no less than 98% Lysol at all times. If lower Lysol levels persist, isolate me and spritz the Sweet Lemon Liquid into every corner of my apartment. Breathe the Lysol. Be one with the Lysol. And no, this isn’t a stealth ad — it’s a love letter. — Samantha Rollins, Senior Entertainment Editor

Swiping Like It’s My Job

Having worked from home for most of my life, eating snacks, wearing random sweats, video conferencing my therapist, and having singalongs with myself is sort of just something I do, self isolation or not. Although, in a bout of anxiety about dying alone in my Brooklyn apartment I did change my Tinder profile bio to be more timely, and apparently it was more provocative than I thought! I've been messaging like a dozen dudes a day — sometimes about my grocery list and sometimes a little steamier — and we're like, buddies now. I have no inclination ever to meet them, now or when this all ends, and I don't know if this is normal social behavior or not. — Karen Fratti, Associate TV Editor

Falling So Far Down The Alexis Neiers Rabbit Hole

Prior to social distancing I’d never watched Pretty Wild (the early-aughts reality show about Bling Ring member Alexis Neiers and her family). Now, it’s my religion. There are only nine episodes, so I’ve had to dole them out in small, meaningful bites. I have three left — but when I’m not watching the show I am reading every piece of content on Alexis to ever exist to tide me over. The Nancy Jo Sales Vanity Fair profile, duh, her old Vice columns, and her Wikipedia page ad nauseam. I’m about to start listening to her podcast “Recovering From Reality.” Wish me luck. — Samantha Leach, Culture Editor

Hiking To and From Errands Like I’m Reese Witherspoon in Wild

I needed to pick up a prescription this afternoon, but my pharmacy’s 1.5 miles away, and I’m wary of public transit right now. (I walked seven miles for an appointment on Sunday, so this is my new normal.) But it was the middle of the workday, so I decided to run. Imagine being burdened by a massively overstuffed Eddie Bauer pack, pills jingle-jangling like an Egg Shaker. It was ridiculous. And I felt ridiculous, like a subpar Central Park reenactment of Wild. But I got the pills, plus toilet paper. So, worth it. — Brianna Kovan, Rule Breakers Editor

'Gramming My Newly-Decorated Apartment

I spent ten months putting a lot of elbow grease and a large share of my paychecks into my first studio apartment. Now that I am virtually trapped in it, I cannot stop 'gramming the way 9 a.m. light streams onto my yellow couch, or how much my spotted begonia grows overnight. — Catherine Thompson, Deputy Features Editor

Talking About What We Should Have For Dinner, But Never Deciding

Since we've been social distancing, surrounded by more cans of chickpeas than we know that to do with, and both working from home, my partner and I have gotten into the weird habit of asking each other what we should have for dinner — and then never reaching a conclusion. We usually start around 10 a.m. to see if the other has an idea (we never do), and then throughout the day when our eyes meet across the room or one of us comes over to see if it's safe (aka a no Zoom-zone), we'll bring it up again — "so, what should we have?" Sometimes we’ll throw out ideas, other times we just won’t answer. Then, when 7 p.m. hits and we’re both hangry, one of us will throw together something and not even consult the other. I bribed him yesterday and told him I'd get him a clementine from the kitchen if he told me what we were having for dinner. "Pasta," he answered. I handed over the clementine, but we didn't have pasta. — Michelle Toglia, Deputy Lifestyle Editor

Adopting A Cat

I am hopelessly single and need the snuggles. Will risk coronavirus for a kitty companion. — Olivia Truffaut-Wong, Associate Entertainment News Editor

Writing A Poem

Between the British period dramas I’ve been watching while compulsively scrolling through Twitter — a recipe for mental health if ever I heard one — I wrote a poem. It is about our kitchen and capitalism and Nancy Meyers and death. It’s not quite as bad as it sounds, but close. Just bad enough? — Margaret Wheeler Johnson, Director of Special Projects

Cooking Every Italian Dish I Know

Like many people, I've been cooking a lot more recently — but instead of turning to the latest recipe all over my Insta feed, like I usually do (love you, Alison Roman), I've been finding comfort in making familiar pasta dishes: letting a big batch of Bolognese bubble on the stove for hours; tossing orecchiette over broccoli and sausage, liberally dressed with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes; simmering a quick tomato sauce and ladling it over penne. I haven't managed to wrestle my great-grandmother's Sunday gravy recipe from my parents yet, but that's next. — Christina Amoroso, Executive Editor