November 4, 2020 will go down as one of the tensest days in American history as voters, confined to their homes in the middle of a pandemic, continue to wait for what may be days to learn the results of the presidential election. Thanks to the digital nature of, well, everything at this point, the news is almost impossible to outrun. Twitter is a cacophony of noise, Facebook is a dead end, Instagram is frantic, and real life is painfully devoid of the updates I keep tricking myself into thinking refreshing those platforms will provide. 

Thanks to conditioning that scientists will one day study, I have a pathological need to scroll. I need the dopamine hit of endless new content but can’t stomach any more politics. There’s only one safe space left for that on the internet: Pinterest.

Despite the fact that I haven’t used the app since college, Pinterest has accumulated an additional 26 million users in the third quarter of 2020. Even Gen Z queen Emma Chamberlain used it in her recent video about making a cheese board. A platform I had written off as a product of a bygone millennial era may be, in fact, stronger than ever. More importantly, it welcomed me back with open arms this morning when I needed a respite from the chaos. 

Naturally, I had to do some housekeeping upon my return. I first created my profile during down time at an internship in Delaware when I was a sophomore in college, so it was filled with what we now know as Christian Girl Autumn hairstyles and blankets made out of gigantic yarn. It also had a board called “NYC,” filled with bars and restaurants that I hoped to one day visit. Were we not in the middle of a political crisis I’d reflect fondly on the fact that so much of the future I had visionboarded on Pinterest manifested itself in some way or another years later, but ... I’m not in the mood. 

I archived outdated boards and added some new ones, and now while Twitter argues over who predicted what correctly and who smugly always knew this was going to happen, I am looking at quilts. Scraps of pastel fabric in geometric patterns punctuated by heavy knit cardigans and pottery speckled with glaze. No thoughts, only light-filled kitchens with open shelving. 

In the hour total I’ve spent back on the site, I’ve already constructed a plan to completely redo a room in my apartment. I’m running out to purchase some cookie cutters to busy myself making clay Christmas ornaments later this evening. I have, yes, closed it briefly to look at The New York Times. But scrolling Pinterest is a meditation of sorts, reminding me that in the midst of so much disruption and chaos, tiny simple pleasures are still here. And when you catch me rocking a cropped, cable-knit sweater I knit myself in 2021, you’ll know why.