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I Just Touched A Strange Man And I Don’t Care

Jacks Smack 050721 02

May 1st marked the end of the second full week after my final Pfizer prick. There was no way I was going to miss celebrating the moment I became protected against this widely misunderstood, sometimes undetectable, potentially deadly virus. 

The last 427 days have been quite the ride. From the early days of stockpiling EVERYTHING we could (we even bought a second refrigerator for our garage) so we NEVER needed to leave our house, to Clorox-wiping all our groceries and leaving them on the front porch for 24 hours, to isolating ourselves to contact only with our immediate household, to, oh, just wearing a mask — the ever-changing behavioural requirements have been crazy making.

The moment of “immunization”, awaited with such anticipation, deserved a celebration.”

Between the dynamic, inconsistent CDC guidelines pushed out seemingly hourly and the sheer number of days living in vigilance, I was ready. The moment of “immunization”, awaited with such anticipation, deserved a celebration.

I derive most of my joy from three activities: live entertainment (concerts and plays), travel, and sitting at a busy bar, people-watching, whilst enjoying a beautifully crafted cocktail and interesting cuisine that I don’t make at home. I fancy myself creative and talented in the kitchen so I get pretty excited when I find a dining opportunity that shows me up. 

What Brings Me Joy:

Out of my three JOY “go tos”, clearly the easiest one to attain was a seat at a local eating establishment, The Oakleaf. Never a big reservation-making person — I hate being pigeon-holed to a particular time — I acquiesced to following these newish get-back-to-normal rules. When making a reservation, it was clear to me that I was not the only one excited to test-run my newly protected immune system. The earliest table available: 8:30.

We arrived around seven — see above comment about being pigeon-holed. Serendipitously, the bar seats were open and we were able to snag a couple of stools at the end. I always get this surge of happiness the moment I realize I have the perfect seat, a great view of the restaurant, and an adventurous cocktail and food menu to peruse. Seriously, time stands still for me in these moments.

This particular Saturday night we found ourselves privy to a private party in an adjoining room. We were quickly introduced to a number of the diners. A few took turns emerging from the oversized dark wood sliding doors to catch the bartender’s attention and cajole him to replace the current tab’s credit card with their own. Given our position, at the end of the bar, we quickly became part of the “I want to pay” shenanigans. 

Playing With The Patrons:

The winner, if that’s what you want to call the person stuck with the bill”

Greased with a couple of drinks and the “I’m out in public” euphoria, my boyfriend and I inserted ourselves into the unfolding comedy sketch. As each one snuck out of their enclosed gathering, waving a credit card at the server, my boyfriend and I became more and more invested in who would end up the victor. 

The winner, if that’s what you want to call the person stuck with the bill, was a handsome, witty man visiting from Tennessee. During the couple of hours we sporadically engaged with all the contenders we learned a bit from each one. So, by the time a winner was declared we felt a bond with him… Clearly not a strong bond, since I cannot remember his name. 

As he was pocketing the spoils of his victory — the receipt — we exchanged some parting niceties, including a handshake. Remember those? He walked away and I turned to my boyfriend, gleefully exclaimed, “I just touched a stranger’s hand and I’m not washing it” and put a piece of bread into my mouth with said hand. Forgetting entirely that that is also how one catches the common cold. Keep your fingers crossed for me, I might need Kleenex by the case.