We’re heading towards a new phase of lockdown: The Release.
Coming out of pandemic seclusion will and should be slow. But some of us are starting to get back to things we haven’t indulged for over a year. Like excited butterflies worried about leaving the cocoon, we are venturing out.
I’m one of those butterflies.
After getting both vaccine shots, I made my way into the world, hoping desperately that nobody would spit as they spoke.
In my case, “venturing out” meant sitting on the outdoor deck at a ski-resort restaurant, ordering food that neither Mr. Parker nor I had to cook or clean up. Crazy!
For the last year, we’ve been eating only that which we crafted with our own hands. And by “we” and “our,” I mean, “he” and “his.” I married the best cook I know, and he has no need for me to try to best him. Not that I could. He is also one of those “Turn the kitchen upside down” cooks. So, I’m cleaning up. A lot. (Not a complaint. Merely a fact.)
But anyway, here I was. A sunny day. A big deck. Mask in place, I skied with my bubble friends to one of my favorite spots on earth. Located at the top of a ski run at Park City Mountain Resort, the restaurant is called Lookout Cabin. That may sound decadent, but remember: I live here. For me, this is like a neighborhood bar.
Stepping onto the deck and looking out over the snow-covered ski runs filled my heart. I was back.
But it was also weird.
First, walking through the restaurant to get out to the deck was different. It felt a bit post-apocalyptic. Half the normal number of tables were set up inside. In front of the bar was a wall of Plexiglas, like it was a giant sneeze guard from a NYC salad bar.
Part of me really did want to sneeze on it. But behind the glass was my favorite bartender, so I quashed the urge.
The restaurant manager, our waiter and my favorite bartender all took turns telling us what a busy season they’d had. Really? Seems not everyone’s approach to a global pandemic is the same as mine. But I was glad that all these good people were employed and doing well.
Did I mention that I was with my bubble? At the table were the two couples we’d spent most of lockdown with. All were masked. All were looking around like puppies on a car ride.
A girlfriend and I decided to share a dish. It was a banh mi sandwich that sounded fantastic. That’s due in part to the fact it’s not something that I’d eaten at all in the last year.
After the waiter brought it out and walked away, we realized that we had only one plate. My friend asked if I wanted it. Then she pointed out that I could also use my napkin.
That’s when I realized that it hadn’t occurred to me to put my napkin on my lap. I hadn’t done that in forever.
I grabbed the rolled-up napkin and unrolled the flatware within. It felt like unwrapping a holiday present. I was giddy. I’m going to use a napkin! It felt like an activity from another time and place.
Now, this is where Mr. Parker points out that I may not want to share with the world that I haven’t been using napkins. But few who know me will be shocked that my manners have their limits.
BTW, just as I’d hoped, the sandwich was fantastic.
Of course, to celebrate this first outing, we all had more than our share of good wine. When lunch was over and I had to ski home, I did so careful-ishly.
Have you been out yet? How was it for you? Did you use your napkin?
Cheers to getting back to the world.
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Honey Parker has been writing, writing, writing for decades, decades, decades. In there, she has also been a standup comedian, a Hollywood screenwriter, a director, and a co-author of edgy business books. Careful-ish is her debut novel. It is the first in a trilogy. It is comedy-ish.