I Bought an Air Fryer the Other Day

I bought an air fryer the other day. It is a Philips brand and has a digital control interface. (I think it’s the premium model. Not sure.) I can now fry dumplings in 10 minutes, broccoli and cauliflower in 20 minutes, American fries or French fries in 30 minutes.

Also, I am now the business English course lead. I learned about my promotion 15 minutes before the first course meeting at the start of the semester. I have been spending my mornings and parts of my weekends creating instructional materials for use in the course. 

Recently, I went to bed too early and woke up at 1am, so I worked on PowerPoints for reviewing the rules of articles, proper nouns, and comma splices. I fell back to sleep at 4am. Here is an example of my nocturnal handiwork:

Find all the proper nouns in the table.

souq waqifcollegebusinesslusail stadiumbeach
harrod’smotherpursecitymarket
desertdohathe mondrianmallstore
qatar national daysarahalanguagedhowthe souq
ahmedmanqatar universityprofessorarabic
sheikhbuildingnikecornicheshaikha
londoncollege of businessholidaymr. ben kohler al jazeera
womansouqsealineguccishoes

The other week, I sent in the paperwork for a Wisconsin absentee ballot. It cost me 330 QAR to send the documents. DHL delivered the paperwork in less than a week. Then I received an email from the La Crosse City Clerk saying that the paperwork needed to be sent to the Onalaska City Clerk. However, she forwarded my documents for me. I hope to receive my ballot and send it back in time for the November elections.

Surprisingly (not surprisingly), one of my family members contracted the coronavirus. He was traveling with friends, and they stopped at a bar and played some pool. Later, during their travels, they started to feel tired. They thought that it might have been altitude sickness. After the trip, he lost his sense of taste. He’s doing fine now. He did say that when you can’t taste, the feel of sauce on spaghetti noodles is disgusting. 

Last week, I went to see a movie in the theater. It was me and 9 other guys from work. We saw the movie Tenet. I liked the score and the practical effects, but I will admit the dialogue was hard to hear and the explanation of time travel was inscrutable. The next day I watched several videos that explained the time travel in the movie. 

After watching Tenet, I invited a couple guys over for a post-movie drink and discussion. One of the guys decried the movie as terrible. I am a bit of a Christopher Nolan apologist, so I defended the movie. I said that it was pre-coronavirus cinematic spectacle airing in a post-coronavirus world. I added that we have yet to see what filmmaking in a post-coronavirus world will look like. How will films be produced? What will they look like? How will they be consumed in the new paradigm?

A couple days ago, I asked a course instructor to create questions for a practice exam: 40 questions by the end of the month. That seemed reasonable given his course workload. Then I wondered how long it would take me, so I spent a Friday and Saturday morning creating a bank of 120 final exam questions. I asked someone to check them to make sure they were usable for creating multiple versions of the final exam. 

I haven’t written a blog post in about four weeks. It’s not because I’m busy, it’s more because I am uninspired by current state of the world. What’s the point? When is there going to be a vaccine? Who is going to be elected in November? What kind of future will there be for my sons?

People are continually surprised that I have two grown sons. They ask, “Your sons are in college, right?, ” and I clarify, “My sons are college aged.” They are not in college. My oldest only attended one semester, and my youngest did not apply at the end of his senior year of high school. Am I disappointed? Not really. I am glad that they are not accruing student debt to pay for online classes pursuing a major that is uncertain to yield them gainful employment. I am more disappointed in the landscape of American higher education.

I did something unrealistic the other day: I researched the possibility of travel during the upcoming winter break. I searched for countries open to US tourists; I looked at the cost of airline tickets; I dreamed of what it would be like to walk amongst the Baobab trees in Madagascar, walk the wintery streets of Croatia, or snorkel in the Maldives before the country sinks into the ocean.

Did I tell you about my air fryer? It really is a handy kitchen contraption. I paid 1000 QAR for it. I wonder what I can sell it for when I have to leave this country, when I have to depart to an undisclosed location, into a future of uncertainty. I don’t care what the future has in store for me, but I would just like to know what hope feels like again. 

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