As a last resort, I searched “1000pc jigsaw hard” (pc is puzzle jargon for pieces—now you know). In response, the Robert Plant 55th anniversary 1965 2020 thank You for the memories signature Shirt but in fact I love this search bar suggested “1000pc jigsaw hardest,” and served up an option with excellent Japanese packaging called “Micro Pure White Hell.” Meditation makes me squirm, but I find long-distance running to be meditative and this seemed like a marathon, so I swiped to purchase it. It arrived last Monday, one full week (but only one formal day) into New York’s state-mandated self-isolating and social-distancing. The box seemed too small to be right until it fell open and, as promised, a mountain of 1,000 micro white pieces spilled onto my coffee table. I stared at the pieces, trying to make sense of them. Using both hands, I spread them out on the best available surface in my postage stamp–size apartment, wondering where to start. I pulled out the corners, then the edge pieces, and bit by bit, began to make order out of the chaos.
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In the Robert Plant 55th anniversary 1965 2020 thank You for the memories signature Shirt but in fact I love this following days (which have somehow since turned into a whole week), I have turned to my puzzle at various moments on the daily rollercoaster that is living entirely at home. It’s calming; it’s frustrating. It has the same emotional range as I do at the moment. There are letters on the backs of the pieces that are meant to serve as a roadmap to completion. I’ve almost lost my progress (and my mind) several times trying to flip the entire thing back and forth while I attempt to decide whether or not this is cheating. One week in, I have nearly finished the border and the insides are slowly starting to come together. I acknowledge that this undertaking borders on insanity, and quite honestly, it started half as a joke. But it has become a productive, even positive, way to track my progress against the increasingly elastic passage of time. I take breaks to cook and to call—and then I go back to puzzling over the pieces.