When we're vaccinated.

Sunday Letter | #318

Matisse (the pup) in golden light, lying on a white sofa.
North La Salle, Detroit, MI (Ektar 100)

We spent another weekend at our friends’ cabin in West Michigan, likely the last stay of the season. We’re coming up on our first full year at our own house; I deboned and cooked a whole turkey last week, and we’re picking up a live Christmas tree tomorrow. I also installed a pair of shelves in an alcove in our sunroom, and will next be adding a desk for Julia, who just started a new job doing swabs and contact tracing at the Wayne State University clinic.

On our drive out on Friday, we talked about the things we looked forward to once we were all vaccinated—mainly seeing family, and having friends over for dinner, and watching movies in the same room with them instead of trying to manually sync audio over an iffy video chat. For those of you in warmer climates: I’m jealous, and hope you take full advantage. With winter knocking, outdoor hangs and outdoor meals are less viable an option in Michigan. Julia and I have started playing two-person Codewords and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which I have not seen), and drinking a lot more red wine.

I have a non-vampiric viewing recommendation for you this week: Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1972 documentary on China, Chung Kuo. I started writing to you about this here, but my letter kept growing longer and longer, so I’ve popped it over here. It’s a fascinating piece of film, mainly because the kind of footage it shows—of everyday life, of noodle shops and people riding bikes down the street—is so rare for that time period in China. Antonioni gets across, in a surprisingly watchable two hours and forty minutes, a sense of what it was like that’s wholly absent from more-official accounts.

And I can’t wait to see it again, with my parents in the same room.