1,000 Piece Puzzles & Formula 1: Who Even Am I (Are We) 16 Months Into Pandemic?

This photo of me and K-Pants next to a puzzle was taken in May 2020, when I still thought 500-piece puzzles were a strong enough pandemic tonic.

One night back in October or November 2020 or January 2021–it’s hard to say, it was one of those months when the darkness fell before evening–I sat hunched over the kids’ table in our kitchen, my legs in a squat to the side of my tiny chair. The kids’ table is wooden. My grandpa etched leaves and flowers into it, and I always remember it being with us growing up. Now it’s in my kitchen. And it was the only surface in the house that was free, where I could do my 1,000-piece puzzle somewhat protected from the other pandemic inhabitants.

I needed cookie sheets to handle all the pieces. One puzzle chunk on this sheet, another on the table, another over here on that sheet propped up on a second tiny chair. At one point a kid or a husband collided with one of my cookie sheets. But my dangly and possessive claws caught it just in time. 

My precious, precious puzzle pieces. 

My beady eyes scanned the room for the culprit and hissed in disdain.  

I am not a puzzle person. Or am I? Nothing makes sense really. 

Puzzles are boring. Pointless. 

What?! Musn’t say that! Musn’t hurt the precious, precious puzzle. Musn’t have the puzzle hear. 

But really what’s the point? Puzzles are the opposite of adventure and movement. They’re inside things. Why would you even do a 1,000-piece puzzle? 

We wants it, we needs it. We needs our puzzle. 

Why fight it? I was staying up regularly until 11:30pm because I just had to do another piece. Coronavirus made me a puzzle person. My friend Adrina even got me a felt puzzle mat after the cookie-sheet Gollum incident. But then I suddenly stopped in the late spring. I got vaccinated. Things were looking up. 

Now here we are, with the Delta variant swarming and the great hordes of unvaccinated White Walkers upon us as winter is coming. 

We wants it, we needs it. We needs our puzzle.

So if you have any 1,000-piece puzzles, I would like to borrow them. And a shout out to my friends Robin and Jessica and Tommi’s little lending library for loaning me puzzles last winter. If I were a cat, the 1,000-piece puzzle would be that hand rubbing my back while I purred. I was not expecting to ever write that sentence. 

And then there’s Formula 1. 

I would like to talk to you about Formula 1. My sister and brother-in-law introduced me and K-Pants to Drive to Survive. The Pants learned the meaning of a Netflix binge through this show. I have never understood race car driving or watching a race or why it’s a sport or why anyone would attend one of these monotonous events in person. 

But I feel conflicted and anxious even writing that because of my August 2021 self. 

SHUT YOUR FACE, WOMAN. SHUT YOUR DAMN FACE. F1 IS THE BEST THIS WORLD HAS TO OFFER BESIDES PUZZLES. AND YOU KNOW IT.

There. She feels much better now. 

Name a current F1 driver. August 2021 Evelyn can tell you five facts about them–who they might be driving for next year, what might happen if Valterri Bottas doesn’t drive for Mercedes and it shakes up the whole lineup… I have 10+ reasons why Lewis Hamilton is my favorite driver (predictable, I know, but how can you NOT?!), followed by Sebastian Vettel (did you see his LGBTQIA+ solidarity rainbow helmet in Hungary? And of course you saw him stop to check on Lando Norris after that huge crash in qualifying at Spa), and why I would definitely be married to Fernando Alonso in my imaginary F1 life in which I am also the technical lead of the Alpine Renault F1 team (because HELLO of course we would travel as a pair). Look, I lived in Spain, so of course I would choose a Spaniard, and I know that Carlos Sainz is the young dreamboat, but I’m not really a Ferrari girl, plus BONUS Fernando and I would get to hang out with Esteban Ocon all the time (who definitely should be your favorite young driver. There are so many great young drivers, I know, but I’ll convince you about Esteban, don’t you worry). 

WHO AM I?! WHO? AM? I? 

I am a girl who freaking loves Formula 1 and 1,000-piece puzzles and the only way you’re going to get them away from me is if you steal them and climb to the top of Mount Doom, where you–like me–will become consumed by the pure joy of these two things and lose your focus. Don’t worry, though. I’ll bring you back to reality by snatching them out of your hand as I bite it off and fall to my fiery death. 

Who’s watching the Dutch Grand Prix with me Sunday?

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