Get used to it.
Get used to it. JESSICA STEIN

What's in store for us? We're self-isolating and trying to figure it out. This week: banning gender reveals, Tinder for desk chairs, and the future of Seattle protests.


Death totals from extreme heat will steadily rise. The American anarchist and anthropologist and one of the founders of the Occupy Wall Street moment died on September 2, 2020 in Venice, Italy. One of his last tweets (if not his very last tweet) warned that “extreme heat will before long be killing more people than all diseases put together.” It’s hard to disagree with this prediction by the look of things. The US, for example, is experiencing a summer with “hotter than normal temperatures.” Fires are raging in Washington, Oregon, and California. Seattle is lost in a noxious cloud of smoke from nearby wildfires. We can expect more smoke and heat next summer. The heat-related deaths will not spike in the US first, but in poor countries in the Global South. The question is: Will the US handle the heat-related deaths in the same way it handled COVID-19-related deaths? I shall leave that prediction to you. C.M.

The air conditioning class divide will widen in Seattle. As of 2015, only one in every three Seattle households had air conditioning. This week is going to be hot and smoky. For those of us without air conditioning, that means our usual trick of opening the windows and praying the heat away won't work. Everyone who has the means to do so will pivot to air conditioning and embrace the new, hotter and more-indoors normal. Those who can't afford air conditioning will continue to suffer. And, of course, those who don't have air conditioning or homes will be the worst off. N.G.

Parks will ban gender. Look, at this point we have irrefutable proof that gender reveal parties are a disaster in all circumstances except the one in which they originated. So it’s no wonder that in the coming year parks and natural areas will explicitly ban gender-reveal parties lest they lead to further death and destruction. We simply can’t trust the cis to conduct themselves responsibly where the binary is concerned, and it’s a matter of public safety that their reign of terror must be ended. Of course, in a perfect world, it shouldn’t even have to be stated that fiery explosives ought not be brought to bone-dry drought country. Better yet, everyone should be free to express their gender or lack thereof without blowing something up. But times being what they are, it’s time for our nation’s great outdoors to make the policy clear: Public parks are for sex, not gender. M.B.

Tinder but for ergonomics. Forget doctors and nurses, in the aftermath of the pandemic, we'll consecrate a new frontline profession: the ergonomics specialist. If you're like me, you never considered ergonomics until, say, March. Now, you're buying kneeling chairs and exercise balls to—please, god—alleviate some sort back pain. But your desk is still too high, and who knew wrists could feel sore? Your dentist even says your posture is why you now need those two root canals. Soon, a tech company will launch an app that matches you with an ergonomics specialist. It's like Tinder for spinal health. Uber, but for a licensed professional that comes to your home and fixes your workspace. By next year, we'll have our own dentists, doctors, therapists, and ergo specialists to keep us, the cogs in the spokes of capitalism's ever-turning wheels, healthy and happy. N.G.

Leisure activities will get more exclusive. With museums, bowling alleys, aquariums, and other tourist-y activities slowly reopening, there's a stampede of people looking for socially distant stimulation outside their homes. And as these activities become more available to everyone, there are more opportunities for People of Means to isolate themselves from the masses—like renting out an entire observatory to an exclusive group of people for a timed party. As the pandemic chugs along, more of these offers will pop up as museums and other tourist-y sites look to make up for financial losses, creating an even bigger divide between the wealthy and everyone else. Whether that's in the form of museum "member only" days or high-priced, sanitized space rentals, the rich will find a way to relax with as few COVID restrictions as possible. J.K.

The Mars terraformers tricked us. It seems like just yesterday that the arks blasted off, carrying thousands of pioneers to Mars on terraforming vessels with lofty plans to buy humanity a second chance on the red planet. Well, now it’s ten years later, and five years since they broke off communication, and it’s starting to become clear what’s going on. We can see that Mars has been rapidly converted into a habitable ecosystem, and biology — human and non-human — is thriving. And yet their defensive grid has rebuffed all attempts to reestablish contact. As we slowly suffocate, they’ve created a paradise. Clearly, the Mars pioneers have decided that Mars is theirs now, and those of us left behind on the dying Earth are doomed to finish out our days as the planet reaches its extinction point. This outrageous betrayal cannot be allowed to stand, which is why it is absolutely vital that we launch warheads immediately and eradicate the burgeoning Eden colony as a lesson to future generations, in the unlikely event that there are any. M.B.

House dresses are here to stay: Pre-pandemic, I mostly associated house dresses with my older aunties and Scrooge from A Christmas Carol. They seemed to function as garment made exclusively for people over 45 who eat sweets and watch TV as they wait for their rollers to set. During quarantine, however, waistbands have become my mortal enemy, and wearing sweats makes me feel especially unproductive. I've found myself flocking to the breezy, formless house dress to live in while at home—and so have many others. You can be naked, yet covered, Zoom presentable while completely comfortable. The house dress, I believe, will outlast this socially distant moment. J.K.

The protests in Seattle "will get worse before they get better." Or so said the person who plays the flute at some protests organized by Every Night Direct Demonstrators. At the Labor Day March on Monday, I spoke with the flautist about Kyle Rittenhouse, who allegedly shot two people during protests in Kenosha, WI, and Michael Reinoehl, who police suspected of killing Aaron "Jay" Danielson at a Trump rally in Portland. Rittenhouse turned himself in in his hometown without incident; officers in a "federal fugitive task force" shot and killed Reinoehl. "I haven't killed anybody, but we're seen that way in the eyes of the federal administration," said the flute player, who uses they/them pronouns. "Feels like only a matter of time before some far-right militia fires into a crowd. Once that's happened, you have that bloody shirt, and it's hard to come back from that," they added. So far, the right-wing presence at recent Seattle protests has been minimal compared to Portland's Trump caravans, but that could change. R.S.

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The ears of children will stick out more from habitually wearing face masks. That's it. That's the prediction. C.M.

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