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  • Lori Carol Maloy

Enjoying the Little Things Within the Covid Chaos

I recently raced off for a girl’s weekend with my daughter and her friend … I know, doesn’t an old woman have better things to do than stalk the company of younger folks inside their alien world? Of course, but I’ll do anything to spend normal one on one time with my daughter, and if that means sitting in the shadows hoping for a chance to contribute something meaningful to the conversation, I’m always game. Although, not much can be normal when we’re in the middle of the COVID-19 trauma and all that goes with it. I don’t want to even write about life within the pandemic, but how can the topic be avoided? I know I keep veering from my story, but we’ll get there.

About all there is to do during Covid is eat out, at a hefty distance from the folks at the other tables and go shopping for clothes we can’t try on or wear anywhere but to restaurants and clothing stores; I know, tell me about it, but I don’t make the rules. I’m just trying to enjoy the little things.

We decided to go to a wonderfully expensive steak house and … back up a second; not we, they did, and I followed meekly behind at an acceptable distance. Paper and cloth masks were adorned as soon as we climbed into the Uber, which made the time spent on applying make-up seem like such a waste, as well as the borrowed lipstick. Once inside the expensive steak house, we sat down and were allowed to take the masks off. Thank God. I could finally breathe again, but with my lipstick smeared onto my teeth and partly across my cheek, I had to adjust wisely through the aid of the thick black napkin and my daughter’s watchful eye.

Déjà vu jarred me when I saw the barcode on the table. Remembering my traumatizing eating experience at the Magic Kingdom, (yes, I wrote a blog on that), there was a bar code in a wonderfully exquisite crystal square sitting on the table, and I knew exactly what that was for, thanks to my nine year old grandson. It wasn’t a paperweight to keep the cloth napkins from flying away, but where we would find the elusive menus online. In hopes there would be some semblance of normalcy, I looked longingly at our waiter … who looked eerily like Batman behind his black mask and black gloves, but he never brought us a menu. After several eye rolls and a grunt that would make any sumo wrestler proud, I flipped on my cell phone camera and waited for the menu to pop up.

At my age, anything that isn’t large print is a grueling task to read, so I had to spread the screen and enlarge the lettering, which made for a difficult scroll through the selections. Frustrated was an understatement. Why? Why? Why, couldn’t we get a paper menu when the meals cost between $40-$80 for each entrée? And that wasn’t including the sides. Are they expecting another downturn in the economy and are putting the menu funds into the stock market as a financial back-up plan to stay open? I don’t know, but there we sat in this five-star restaurant staring into our phones like gamers on an all night marathon of Game of Thrones. I glanced around the room and most of the patrons had their masks still hanging off one ear just in case they needed to go to the bathroom or make a trip to the car. What have we come to?

Yes, the meal was wonderful, but I did have to use the restroom before we left the premises and a mask was required in order to float across the restaurant and into the lovely bathroom stalls that smelled of peppermint and someone’s lingering perfume. I made the terrible mistake of wearing hoop earrings and struggled slightly with hooking the rubber sling around my ear and when I did my finger got caught up in the mess and the earring flew off and into the surprisingly dirty carpet landing out of sight. Every crumb, glint of dirt, and shiny morsel looked just like my earring from a distance. Groping on the ground like a fool and fearing I might get accosted and taken down in a full-on football tackle for not having my mask completely fastened over my mouth, I groveled until my daughter’s friend spotted it.

The ordeal was exhausting, and I avoided the judgmental stares as I raced to the parking lot and waited for the Uber dude to get there and take us back to the hotel. Not realizing one of us was going to be forced into the far back seat of the tiny mini-van, I suggested one of the girls sit up front, but the foreign Uber driver yelled out in a scream noteworthy of a horror movie’s climax scene, his hand flailing back and forth into the open air of the front passenger seat. “No! No one sit here!”

Defeated, I gave up my comfortable position and crawled into the cramped back seat and took in the 90-mph air coming out of the overhead A/C vent that was trained on my face. At the end of the ride, I felt like Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne from the movie Dumb and Dumber after the motorcycle ride into Aspen, Colorado. Frozen and stiff, I followed the girls back into the hotel lobby where a ceiling scanner took our temperature as we traipsed by unknowingly and headed back to the room (I’m almost positive mine had to register a low 70 something). In a valent effort to keep the fun going, we changed into our still wet bathing suits from earlier that day and trudged to the pool only to find it closed for the evening. Disappointed, I blindly followed them all the way back to the hotel room, changed, and sat comfortably in my old lady pajamas with a thick sweater wrapped around me, then covered myself with a blanket in hopes of unthawing to room temperature, and then listened to their stories.

All in all, the girl’s weekend was a lot of fun and I genuinely enjoyed spending an unforgettable weekend with them. The food was excellent, the dessert grand, and the laughs huge. Even during Covid, I found treasures in togetherness and so many unforgettable moments of good times to be gleaned and cherished.

Tips and Truths? Moments like these will never come again within the exact same setting and time, so my advice to each of you is to enjoy yours and when the going is tough, find the one good thing. And maybe when all this Covid stuff is over, we might just get our menus back and be able to lay the cell phones down for just a little while. I am hoping for the day when I won’t have to wear a mask in public and I can see people’s smiles again; that is, unless we’ve totally adapted to designer masks made by Gucci and Adrienne Vittadini for the on the go sophisticate. Things may never change if they come out with a classic Cashmere breathable mask by Burberry available for only $79.95. Oh, please, surely, thoughts like these are only found in bad dreams. But wait, what about a blue and pink Lilly Pulzter from the breezy summertime collection (eek, those are already off the assembly line and waiting online to be ordered by YOU).

But for now, I’ll wear my paper mask, focus on the one good thing, and embrace every moment as though it were my last, and I’ll totally enjoy being with the ones I love. Because, it’s the little things that that matter most. They can always be found even through the struggles and disappointments; that is, if we’re really looking.

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