The good news is — our family recently got our second Pfizer shots. Now we’re just waiting for the two weeks after to be up so we can be normal again.
The bad news — I’m not sure we know how to be normal again; and by we, I really mean me.
What do I mean by “normal?” Excellent question. I mean being able to be around other people not in my immediate family and be okay and not feel panicky and act irrationally — because if you ask my family, okay, me too —I’ve been anything but rational.
Case in point — Husband David, son Ryan and I celebrated getting our second Covid 19 vaccines at our local hospital by immediately going out to eat at a biscuit bar afterward. The trendy, and what turned out to be a fast, casual restaurant provided plenty of outdoor seating, which is the hard and fast criteria I have for eating at a restaurant. Also, the weather was perfect for eating outside. It was in the low 70’s and the sun was shining and there was plenty of fresh air and blue skies. So far so good.
WHERE DO THEY ALL COME FROM?
Not so good? People. There were so. very. many. people at 9 AM. Some were wearing masks. Others weren’t. And they were all breathing. Fuck. If it had been just me (as though I’d go to this place by myself, ever…), I’d have been long gone.
But we, as a family, were celebrating; and Ryan had been looking forward to eating here for a month; and I had promised him that we’d come here, of which I’d been reminded by both a disappointed Ryan and an adamant David when I suggested that we find somewhere else less people-y to “celebrate” and so…yeah. I acted like an adult and sucked it up (not the air, ew…gross.) What I mean is I sucked up my desire to run out of there as fast as I could and, instead, followed through on my promise to Ryan, while praying that no one around us had Covid.
BTW, is it just me or have you also noticed that people look at you funny whenever you pray in public? It’s probably good that I didn’t end my prayer by saying ‘God is Great’ or some other version of that. As it was, some of the people in the crowd looked a little twitchy, as though they were ready to run if I said the wrong thing or moved too quickly. On the other hand, praying in public probably bought me an extra foot or two of social distancing. Please feel free to do this if you’re feeling a little too…crushed. I hope it helps and you’re welcome! 🙂 Of course, I might have been a little paranoid. Not sure.
Also, David wasn’t impressed when I did this.
Ry, David and I stood in line (no social distancing) for about fifteen minutes before we were able to make our way inside the eatery to place our order. Then the cashier gave us a number to put on our table so wait staff could find us when our food was ready.
It seemed odd that the three very busy registers where you place your order and pay, and the beverage counter where you serve yourself coffee, soft drinks and tea were both stationed at the front of the restaurant, across from each other. The waiting line, of course, converged with the registers and beverage/utensil counter, kind of in the middle of the two, so the area was filled with a bottleneck of people trying to figure out how to get to where they needed to go, preferably, intact. The line of customers went out the door, past the large, outdoor dining patio, where the majority of people were, and onto the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. In terms of trying to stay out of the fray, it was impossible.
As you can imagine, it was claustrophobic just inside the restaurant with so much in this small space. People were accidentally bumping into each other, some with masks on, but more without. Chaos reigned — people were ordering, paying, grabbing utensils and beverages and then fighting their way back out the same door that people were coming in. Wait staff, delivering food, were also maneuvering through the crowd. As far as I could tell, everyone was coming in and then immediately going back out of that one small area. Oh, and then there were customers trying to get back into the restaurant from the patio to get REFILLS.
Pre-Covid, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about any of this. Eighteen months later-ish, as we are nearing the end of the pandemic, my whole perspective’s changed. I no longer witnessed a happy crowd out to enjoy breakfast at a trendy new restaurant. Instead, my senses and physical being were assaulted, and I was horrified at the sheer and utter madness of so many people in such a tiny area.
Wanting nothing more than to escape, I looked around. In the back of the restaurant, there were nothing but empty tables. No one was sitting indoors. And why would they on such a gorgeous Texas morning in early May? So that’s where we sat. At the very back of the dark restaurant. Away from all of the people. Breathing.
There was a cushioned bench up against the wall at the far end. That’s where Ryan sat. He had a perfect view of everything happening inside. That left David and me to sit in chairs that faced Ryan, which meant David and I also faced the back wall of the restaurant. Fortunately, our food came out quickly. Then, others found us.
assholes lovely individuals sat at the table right behind where we were sitting. There were other empty tables in the restaurant, of course. But this particular table easily sat between ten to twelve people, so this is the table that, apparently, worked best for this group. I’d say there were at least eight men and women in their twenties. Unfortunately, none of these twenty-somethings knew how to say, “Excuse me,” as they forced their way between their table and David and me.
Smashed against our table, David and I were roughly jostled from behind. There just wasn’t enough room for people to easily walk through the too narrow aisle behind us and their table. Because it wasn’t this group’s fault, David and I quietly sat in our chairs and waited for them to settle down.
Then the wait staff showed up for this table, again, trying to get down that atrociously miniscule aisle. Then various people got up to get refills. Someone had to go to the restroom. Sonofabitch. Couldn’t they just sit still and eat their damned food?
Unfortunately, all of these people were laughing, eating, enjoying each others’ company and — breathing — without masks on.
So essentially, we went to the back of the restaurant to escape the throngs and ended up getting trapped instead.
I just want to say something on my own behalf right here. Family and friends often accuse me of having no filter when I talk. They believe I say anything and everything that pops into my head. This is not true, as I’ve told them many times. And now…NOW!!!!…this situation at this restaurant is PROOF that my family and friends have no idea what the hell they’re talking about. If I were filter-less, I’d have been thrown out of the restaurant if not thrown into jail. There are so many things I wanted to say…that I didn’t. There are so many things I wanted to do…but I didn’t. Instead, I sat there and acted appropriately with my mouth shut, covered by a mask. Just like an adult. Dammit.
THE PRICE WE PAY
Anyway, this is the atmosphere in which we sat and ate. Our food was about the same as if you ordered a biscuit sandwich at McDonalds; except, of course, we paid about four times as much for the “atmosphere.” Ah, trendy restaurants! Overpriced food, atmosphere and PEOPLE!
A VERY LONG TEN
We survived. Barely. We stayed for about ten to fifteen very long minutes as Ryan and David ate their meals.
Me: Okay, guys, are y’all about done?
Ry: No, Mother. I just took my first bite.
David giving me an intense look and saying low under his breath: Stop. Now.
As we sat in mostly silence, we heard commotion from the front of the restaurant. It sounded like one of the wait staff accidentally dropped a tray of food. You usually hear the crowd clap and cheer when that happens. Not this time. I’m not sure why and, you know what, I didn’t turn around to look either.
Ry who witnessed the whole thing: Oh, my! Someone bumped into that waitress and she dropped her tray.
David who turned around for a second at the sound of the commotion: Oops. I guess they’re going to have to remake that table’s order.
Me: Yep. It was bound to happen. Too many people, too little space.
Ry: Why isn’t this restaurant more organized so people don’t have to touch each other?
Me: Beats the hell out of me.
David: I’m sure they’re doing their best. There’s just a lot of people today. I’m sure it’s not always like this.
Me two minutes later, trying to hurry things along with Ryan: Surely, you’re about done by now. We need to get on the road. Lots to do today.
Ry: Mother, is everything okay with you?
David: Ryan, she’s fine. Aren’t you, Mona?
Me: Sure. I just need to get home, that’s all…but, hey, I can wait…unless you think you might want to box that up and take it with you.
Ry: I just want to sit here and finish eating.
Me: Okay. That’s fine. *sigh*
David: glaring at me but silent.
Me: What, David? Why are you looking at me like that? I told him, ‘That’s fine.’ Geez!
David: Really? Just let Ryan eat without saying anything else. Please.
Me: Smiling and holding it together behind my mask without saying another word. Balloon thoughts above my head — devil balloon, “If one more person bumps my chair, I’m going to tell them to fuck off. And if David says anything else to me, I’m going to—” Angel balloon interrupting devil balloon, “No, you won’t. You’re going to sit there and wait until it’s time to leave and you aren’t going to say or do anything that is unkind no matter how much you want to, including to David.”
David: Has no idea what I’m thinking as I smile, but he turns away from me and shakes his head, knowing it can’t be good.
TO GO, PLEASE
Neither Ry nor David seemed too perturbed by the situation in which we found ourselves. Okay, they were a little annoyed with me, but that’s normal. I, on the other hand, immediately packed my biscuit sandwich into a to-go container because our food arrived just about the same time that the twenty-somethings
I also immediately put my mask back on while I waited for my family to finish. When we got up as a family to leave, let me just say — who knew I could gracefully move my ass out of that crowded restaurant so fast that I left Ryan and David in, hopefully-but-not-for-certain, Covid-free dust?
If you’re fully immunized, face masks are no longer required in many places. My family and I aren’t quite there. Until then, there just doesn’t seem to be enough of face masks, hand sanitizers or my sanity to get me to the end.
HOW ABOUT Y’ALL?
Wayward Friends, how are you doing as the US and, presumably, the rest of the world slowly returns to a pre-Covid 19 state. Or is that even a thing? I know that India’s still in the throes of this brutal scourge. May this be over…yesterday.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about how you, specifically, are returning to “normal,” and what “normal” means to you. Has “normal” changed for you? In what way? For me, it’s changed in how I view life and people, even without my trying to change.
Or if your country or you are not returning to normal any time soon, I’d like to hear from you as well. How’s the state of where and how you are?
SUGGESTION — THIS
One more thing before music…because music is life…For those of you who would like to comment but don’t seem to be able to on my site, may I make a suggestion? I don’t know for sure whether this will help or not, but someone suggested this on someone else’s blog who was having the same or similar problem…
If you are coming to my blog via your WordPress Reader function and find that for whatever reason you’re not able to comment on my blog, try coming to my site via https://waywardsparkles.com/ . This will take you to my homepage and from there, you can click on my newest post or some other post and then you should be able to comment without any further trouble. Hopefully. Fingers crossed. Matter of fact, I’m going to give out the link to my http address each and every time I post anything new so that you can just click on it.
Or you should be able to just type in Wayward Sparkles and my site should come up on your browser. Let me know, if you can, whether this works for those of you who haven’t been able to comment in eons. If that doesn’t seem to work, try coming in through a different internet source. For instance, if you usually come in through Google and can’t comment, try Yahoo or vice versa or through some other browser. So I hope this helps and I look forward to hearing from you again! I miss what you have to say and, you know how much I adore you, right?
Now, positive music to get me back to normal?
20 thoughts on “Jostled”
As of yesterday, everyone in my household has their first vax, but we are still (thankfully) in a sort of loose and confusing state of lockdown. Interpretive lockdown if you will. Tread softly out there Mona.
An interpretive lockdown…that makes perfect sense in this crazy world. Congrats on getting your first vaccine. Which are you taking? Treading as softly as I can, which allows me to gracefully move my ass quickly out of bad situations, Mona 😉
Hey Mona! Thanks for your comments on Just a Small Cog. I actually responded to you there, but it wound up being placed under Lee’s comment. But I appreciate it and wanted you to know that. Our Governor in Florida wants to pretend none of this has actually happened, so – no masks – no distancing – and of course, since Trump’s down here now, the State is suing the CDC for some stupid ass reason. Can you believe that prior to the late 1990’s Florida was a BLUE State? Stay well.
I just read what you wrote. I wish I were more shocked about the issues you ran into with the medical staff, but I just dealt with uncaring medical staff when my dad was in the hospital in April. He was in an accident. Anyway, the doctor at the hospital, in her infinite wisdom, decided to release him and they threw him out of the hospital long before he should have been released. Nothing anyone said was going to change their minds. Of course, now he’s back in the hospital. This time, he went to a different one. After this stint, he’s supposed to go into a rehab facility until he is much better healed. We’ll see what happens.
It’s so good to hear from you and I’ve missed your voice. I know you’re going through a lot right now. If there’s anything I can do, please let me know. Wake up every morning, knowing that I’m sending you a virtual hug, my friend! Mona
Sounds just like what happened to us. Ken originally went in for a bed sore. A BED SORE. Unbelievable. They released him the first time, drugged out of his mind. I sent him back something like 3 hours later. Then another week. Home for 4 days then back to a different hospital. 10 days under ‘observation’ – the tested positive for Covid so I couldn’t see him anymore. He went mentally downhill from there (18 days). The last 4 days he was completely shut off – wouldn’t talk – wouldn’t eat – and nobody told me about any of it when I called 2 or 3 times a day. The only time I got to speak to the doctor, despite my urgent requests that he call me back, were when I called the Patient Advocates and complained – then the doctor would call and tell me Ken was OK. Until he wasn’t.
I do believe there is a special place in hell for doctors, who have sworn an oath to take care of their patients, and have failed them and their loved ones utterly and miserably. I’m so sorry you and Ken had to go through that. No one deserves to be treated that way! I have no idea if you have any recourse, but if you do, I hope you stick it to those sonsofbitches! Mona
I have to say Mona, your resolve is strong and your restraint even stronger. I would have told those a-holes at the next table to use some fucking manners! Yes, I too have been told I don’t have a filter, but obviously I do or I’d be in jail right now for co-workercide as well as parricide. And of course road-rage-acide. I mean seriously? Anyway, I’m glad to hear from you again, or maybe I’m just not getting my notifications from WP. But either way, you stay YOU MONA! Don’t ever change! 😉
I’m so glad you understand exactly how I felt and still feel. What you wrote is high praise; and you know what, I’m feeling blue AF today, so I’m just about in tears writing this. Thanks so much, I needed to hear this! You just don’t know how good it feels to hear from you again, my friend! Know what? We are both warriors and we’ve both had to fight much in this world and will continue to have to fight. Sometimes when it gets too much, I picture Anthony Hopkins in Legends of the Fall, after his stroke, shooting his middle finger up and saying “Screw em!” Well done, Sir Anthony. I so concur! Sometimes I just need something like that to hold onto when the world has gone to shit and I just need to make it to the next day! Big hug to you, Huntress, Mona
Big hug right back at ya my dear friend! 🤗🤗🤗
Ready to return to normal? NOPE! We still haven’t ventured into a restaurant or department store. We are fully vaxxed and still wearing a mask. If I have my way, I may never leave this house again.
Your ability to see the “celebration” through is amazing. I would have took one look at that set up and refused to go in. I would have sat in the car and waited until my people were done.
I love how adamant you are that you are not ready to return to normal. I take it you aren’t a raving extrovert? (Some of my social friends found out that I’m not as extroverted as they thought I was, either. Ha! Not being able to be as social as they wanted has done a real number on them psychologically, when they realized just how much they needed face-to-face engagement.) Anyway, it’s probably not a bad thing that you aren’t ready to get out and about anytime soon considering the recent pipeline debacle with no gas available to so many. Hopefully, that hasn’t impacted your family. But if it ain’t one thing…
Trust me, I thought about returning to our car. My son has autism, though; not as high-functioning as someone with Asperger’s, and when you make a promise to him…well, let’s just say that if I’d stayed in the car, all hell would have broken loose in ways you wouldn’t want to possibly imagine. Ry is close to 400 lbs. and about 6’3″. His meltdowns are major and we do what we can to minimize them, especially in public; no that’s not true, especially at any time. The thing is, we’d driven by this place before and there weren’t that many people at that time. I made this promise to Ry because he was highly anxious about having to go back and get the second Pfizer shot. It was a whole month-long stressed out worry/anxiety thing with him, so I’d promised him we could go to this restaurant after our shots as incentive. It was difficult for him, but he lived up to his end of the bargain, so I did as well. Hopefully, we continue to be Covid-free. And thankfully, we averted a major melt-down as well. Now I don’t have to ever eat there again! Mona
Nope, not an extrovert – and everyone who knows me is not surprised by my resistance to getting out and about.
Thanks for explaining about the autism, I didn’t realize that was part of the situation. Now that I do? I salute you for following through on your promise to him. I would have done the same.
One day at a time….
So what you’re saying is that life has become a Norman Lear sitcom from the 1970’s? 😉 Mona
I’ve been ‘normal’ this whole time. The only thing I have changed is ordering online with curbside pick up as I am sick of mask bullies. I have done my cash reports every day, licking my fingers to count the money all these other people have touched. I don’t wear a mask unless required to and now the mandates have been lifted VERY few are wearing. If we don’t stop wearing them, we will never stop wearing them.
I just read another article yesterday on how the ‘powers that be’ refuse to listen to the science. And this could have been over MONTHS AND MONTHS ago.
I’m just over it.
Tell it like it is, Boo! 🙂 Mona
I’m in Ontario and it’s still completely locked down here. But as much as I long to eat in a restaurant again, I would have lost my mind in your situation!
Only one of the reasons why my sanity straddles that fine line. It’s great to hear from you, my friend! 🙂 Mona
Hello Mona. Lovely to read your post. You are correct describing how everyone is trying to get back to normal. The weather here has been cold and wet for months, so the initial lifting of restrictions has meant that many Brits have been sitting outside under canopies in the pouring rain! Like you said it’s hard to get back to normality. Glad you are well my friend x
It’s great to hear from you! It sounds like the weather has been crazy on both sides of the Atlantic. We’ve had a ton of rain in Texas and back in February, we were very close to losing electricity across the entire state. Scary because everything was frozen over for over a week! As it was, many people died. Repairs to homes hardest hit with broken pipes, etc. cost astronomical amounts of money to fix. With all of this going in in the middle of a pandemic, it was unbelievable. So basically, 2021, is as bat-poop nuts as 2020, thus far. As it is, the humidity and rain have now moved in this month of May and the heat is inching up daily. So it feels much like we’re wearing wet blankets lately. Ick. Big hug to you and, hopefully, your weather will improve soon as normalcy inches closer as well! XOXO, Mona