Okay, hey, in case you didn’t know, I just want to pass along this news from Connecticut. Apparently the pandemic is over. I had not seen this on any reputable news outlets, so it kind of took me by surprise, but in case you had missed the news, I thought I’d better fill you in.
On Friday evening, I drove out to one of our favorite restaurants to pick up our order. The usual drill is that I call from the car and someone comes out with the bag containing our dinner, but tonight the phone was busy for about five minutes, so I figured I’d better venture into the restaurant to see if the routine had changed.
I opened the door and stepped into a scene from some 2019 movie. There were people crowding around a packed bar. The dining room was filled to capacity. Looking to my left, I saw a man whispering (or maybe shouting) into a woman’s ear. What? Where was I? When was I? I looked to my right, the café area was crowded too. A group of three sat around a table slightly larger than a postage stamp. Two of them were definitely not of vaccination age. Do they not card in this place? They were sharing a lot more than stories, too. You could almost see the aerosols flying. Whichever way I looked, I saw full tables with laughing, loud-talking patrons. Everywhere bare faces stared back at me, noses, lips and cheeks exposed for all to see. It would have been breathtaking, but, out of habit, I still felt that I should hold my breath in public.
I inched over to the cash register clinging in vain to that passé notion of social distancing. I wanted to tap someone and ask, “Did they cancel the pandemic? Is it just down for the weekend? When was the announcement?” People were staring at me as though they’d never seen a mask before. I wondered if I was living some Rip Van Winkle moment. Then a waiter approached. He wore a mask (actually two), and it may have been my imagination, but he looked as nervous as I felt. Had he missed the memo, too? Or was it just certain people who got to go maskless? I gave him my name, and he hurried off to find my order. He returned quickly bearing the bag. I thanked him and rushed for the door.
I couldn’t wait to tell my family the news.