Saturday, May 08, 2021

Life & Style

The Big Question

I’ve reached a rather strange and unhappy anniversary. The last time I ate inside a restaurant was a year ago. I had a blue martini and oysters stuffed with lobster. I figured that it would be a long time before the pandemic ended and I would be eating in a restaurant again. So, I went all out. Back then a long time meant, what? Three weeks? A couple of months?

I had no idea that a year later I’d be sitting at my computer on a Friday night, thinking about the anniversary of my last indoor restaurant meal. I’ve eaten outside at a restaurant a few times, but since it’s gotten cold, I’ve given that up. I’m all about the bring-your-own-blanket idea, but I don’t fancy eating outside when the wind chill is in the 20s. Dining on the North Face of Everest has never been on my bucket list.

As I sit here with my wine, pulled from my fridge, and my meal, pulled from my freezer, I think about what things were like a year ago. Things were beginning to escalate. The fecal matter was just starting to hit the fan. There are questions I never would have thought to ask a year ago as I downed my martini and devoured my oysters. My, how things have changed.

Each day when dressing I wonder, what mask shall I wear today? Last year I wasn’t wearing masks yet. Practically no one was. Now I try to match my mask with my outfit. Why? Nobody cares if I do. Also, I don’t dress to impress anymore. My daily outfits are basically the same as my pajamas. A sweatshirt is a sweatshirt and an elastic waistband is an elastic waistband. But if you care to notice as I’m taking a walk or running into the supermarket, my mask will match my comfy clothes.

What is the positivity rate? How many are hospitalized? These are two questions I ask every day, even though the answers terrify me. We have a long way to go, but thankfully things seem to be moving in the right direction.

Do I really need that? I used to ask this one a lot because I’m rather lazy about running errands. Now I ask it because I’m lazy and I don’t like to be around people.

That leads to the next question. If I do convince myself that I actually need whatever it is that I’m going out for, once I get to an establishment, I have to ask, are there too many people here? I was never fond of crowds, but I didn’t think too much about them, either. Now if there are too many people for my comfort, I turn my matching-mask self around and hit the road.

Is that person really six feet away? Sometimes I wonder if people don’t understand the difference between six feet and six inches. Or I wonder if I have the power of invisibility. Does it randomly turn on while I’m at Stop & Shop? Oops. You didn’t see me. My dang invisibility again.

What are the odds that I can come home with The Big Three? Last year I never would have known what The Big Three could mean. Now we all know, don’t we? Of course, I mean toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels. Now, mercifully, The Big Three are less likely to be completely stripped from store shelves. There was a long while, though, when none of us knew if we could score even one out of the three. Those were dark days, indeed.

Do I have a temperature? I don’t wonder this all the time or anything, but once in a while if I’m feeling a little run down, it’ll pop into my head and buzz around my brain like a fly until I pop a thermometer in my mouth and see for sure. Along this line is the question, is it allergies, cold, or COVID? Again the thermometer makes a special guest appearance until I can confirm that it’s most likely just allergies.

Now I’m asking The Big Question. This is the most important one of all: When will I get the vaccine?

Juliana Gribbins is a writer who believes that absurdity is the spice of life. Her book Date Expectations is winner of the 2017 Independent Press Awards, Humor Category and winner of the 2016 IPPY silver medal for humor. Write to her at Read more of her columns at



Juliana Gribbins is the Columnist for Zip06. Email Juliana at .

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