Quinn rates quarantine trends

Quinn+Palermo+playing+ACNH+while+making+a+sourdough+starter.+Photo+courtesy+of+Kim+Palermo

Photo courtesy of Kim Palermo.

Quinn Palermo playing ACNH while making a sourdough starter. Photo courtesy of Kim Palermo

Quinn Palermo, Editor

Let’s be honest; 2020 has not been a great year for humankind in general. We had Australian wildfires that killed at least one billion animals, impeachment trials for our current president, and a WWIII scare between Iran and the US in January alone. We’ve been weathering a pandemic that has infected over four million people and killed 290k at the time this article was written, and we’ve had to deal with Brexit, a recession, and literal locust swarms that have ravaged eastern Africa for months. Huge invasive hornets from southeast Asia have arrived in the U.S, and we’ve had to stay inside for months with little economic support from the U.S. government. It feels like we have experienced years worth of catastrophic global events all in the span of 5 months, and everyone is struggling to cope with it. But hey, at least we have some fun quarantine trends that distract us from the suffering and hardship that is widespread in the world, right? Here are some of the most popular quarantine trends of 2020 reviewed. 

Whipped Coffee

This was one of the first things that I saw popping up on my feed consistently during quarantine, and I thought it looked really trendy and cute. I followed this recipe (sans the standing mixer) and while the end result tasted alright, the amount of manual whipping I’d had to do was NOT worth it. It had taken me about five minutes of good whisking to build up an actual fluff, which was way too much arm work for me. At first, it seemed as if it might have been worth it because I had managed to make a pretty decent-looking drink that tasted pretty good as well- the froth was picture-perfect, and it tasted sweet enough to hide the bitterness of the instant coffee. But then.. well, then the caffeine kicked in. I shook and shivered like a chihuahua left out on the porch on a windy day, and kept on clicking and fidgeting with things to get the nervous energy out. If that was bad, then coming off all the sugar in the drink was even worse. I ended up watching TV on the couch while glaring at anyone that came too close- I was just super keyed up and straight-up could not handle social interaction. 4/10, it was tasty but also way too much work and made me feel like I had drunk three cups of coffee at once. Definitely wouldn’t do it again. 

Zoom Calls

The first few zoom calls my friends and I all had together were pretty informal, and just served as a way to say ‘hi’ and talk about whatever was on our minds. But eventually we started to plan themed zooms where you could pretend you were at a fancy dinner party or even a game night with friends. We played Kahoots that talked about inside jokes and played card games like UNO and Apples To Apples online. We even had themed meals from different parts of the world during some of our zoom calls! And while it definitely got hectic at times and wasn’t the same as hanging out in real life, it definitely was a good way to reconnect and see people we never would have been able to otherwise. The digital aspect of zooms also offered a lot of flexibility for hanging out; you could leave whenever you liked and join back whenever it was convenient. I can’t wait for my next zoom with friends, even if we end up just studying for upcoming AP exams. I rate this activity an 8.5/10 because of how crazy it got sometimes and because I miss my friends way too much to be healthy. 

Bleaching Hair

Okay, I actually didn’t try this one because the only people I trust around my hair are the people who’ve been trained to cut and bleach it, but plenty of my friends went wild with the bleach and hair dye. While it seems like a good idea when you get it right, I have seen way too many TikToks of people messing it up or having to re-bleach their hair because it came out too yellow, or having chunks fall out (??) because they… well, I don’t know, bleached it too long or something? There have also been people who intend to dye their hair one color but it ends up turning out to be some gross, uneven color that doesn’t look anything close to how it was supposed to. I think that in general it can be really fun and you can come out looking super crazy (but in a good way!) that shocks your friends and has them asking what you did to your hair for it to turn out that well. However, very few of the people doing this at home are professionals (or have any experience bleaching at all) so I personally think that it’s important to figure out how long you’ll have to live with botched bleach hair if it turns out terrible. People with shorter hair may only have to ride out the rest of quarantine with it; people with longer hair might have a year or two until it grows out back to its original length. 6/10, looks really cool when done right but makes me feel bad when done wrong. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Do not @ me, this is definitely a trend. I had no idea what animal crossing even was before ACNH, but here I am playing it on my new Nintendo switch lite anyways. Let me just say that I have zero regrets save for the amount of hours wasted playing this game instead of doing homework because it is super addicting and really, really fun. For those unaware, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the story of you, the resident representative, moving to an uninhabited island with a few villagers and the Nooks, who are the owners of said uninhabited island and also the banking system, general store, furniture store, and your house (for most of the game’s beginnings, at least.) The goal is to get a famous pop star, K.K Slider, to visit your town and perform a concert there. However, it takes a lot of hard work and spiffing up to make that happen! You have to clean your town, terraform it for accessibility, buy furniture and make public works, and prepare the homes of new villagers to live on the island with you. This sounds like a lot of work that Tom Nook and Co. should have done instead of you (and you’re totally right) but the game makes all of these seemingly tedious tasks really fun and rewarding. Plus, the villagers that move in with you and live there are all SO cute and unique, except for Knox. I hate Knox. If I could afford to spend all my time hitting him with a net, I would. But that’s not the point! The point is that the game is really cute and engaging for anyone looking to destress, and I heartily recommend it to anyone looking to buy. 9.5/10, if it wasn’t for Knox I’d give it a 10/10. 

Baking Bread

 If you have flour, water, and salt at home, you can make bread. You don’t even have to have yeast for some types of bread; you can literally make a yeast “starter” by leaving out a water and flour mixture on the counter for a few days. Now, just because you can make bread doesn’t mean it’s going to be good bread. I have made bread a few times over quarantine. The actual making part tends to be okay and relatively problem-free. I have the dough, which is my baby and love of my life that I have been kneading for like ten minutes to get it to the right consistency. The oven is at the perfect temperature, there is a steam bath at the bottom, everything is triple checked to make sure I am likely to succeed. I pop it in the oven, expecting to get a perfect loaf. I pull it out, and…… it’s malformed, ugly, and cursed. The crumb is WAY too closely structured, and the scores I made in the bread didn’t seem to help. I try dipping it in olive oil and eating it and it just tastes like salty disappointment. I am a bread failure. However, if you aren’t a bread failure and the yeast gods bless your endeavor, you can probably get a pretty good loaf for much cheaper than a store-bought bread loaf. The bread itself (if you’re doing it right) doesn’t require that much maintenance either; the only thing it needs is to have someone checking it every so often and some carefully timed kneading and proofing. Ultimately it is a holistic and healthy hobby to get into, and if you do it right you’re bound to get good results. I personally am just awful at it, unfortunately. I rate this 7/10 because I am always disappointed by the end result but the actual process is really fun. 

This year has been hard on a lot of people, and while a lot of the trends that have been going around social media are pretty stupid and don’t really provide much more than a distraction, they make us happy, and a distraction when things aren’t going well can sometimes be the difference between hanging on mentally and falling into a depressive spiral. I (as well as the rest of the Clarion team) sincerely hope that everyone is doing okay and finding ways to make it through these socially isolating and difficult times. If there are any trends that you think should have been covered, let us know in the comments below! Stay safe and stay healthy, everyone.