Last week I had to get my glasses fixed. The metal nose piece was poking me because the plastic cushion had fallen off because the tiny metal screw had escaped—again. I swear I got the exact same thing fixed in March—before the stay-at-home order in Illinois.
Damn, Is that going to be my definition of when things happened now: before or after the pandemic?
So, I had to go to the glasses place where I bought them. At least they were open. I called first to make sure. A young guy met me at the door in a mask. I was wearing my mask, too. Except I always find it hard to breathe when I have it on.
The young guy aimed a speed-gun like device at my forehead—the new instant-read thermometer—and asked me if I was feeling sick or if anyone at my home was sick. No and no. Forget that I would hardly be out getting my glasses looked at if I was rife with fever. Just his job, I told myself.
So the guy took my glasses and said I could sit while I waited. There were chairs placed across the room at six-foot intervals. I was the only customer in the place, so I picked one on the far left side where I could watch at the guy at the front of the room as he tended to my glasses.
It took a while. I looked around at the candy-colored frames on every wall. Suddenly I was reminded of a trip I had taken to England with my sister. Pre-9-11, we were spooked on our way into the country by customs officers asking if we had packed our own luggage. I might have made a funny remark about a lack of gremlins or house elves at my place except the guys looked so demanded serious.
On the way back home, a female agent took a great interest in a jewelry box I’d bought at a cool Scottish department store—think the Scottish equivalent of Harrod’s. I figured that she thought it was as adorable as I did. It was lavender pink with tiny drawers and a travel jewel case hidden inside. I told her where I bought it excitedly as one woman does to another. Only she didn’t want one of her own, she wanted me to open it. Because she thought it maybe wasn’t what it looked like.
I did as she asked, solemnly, because I knew it was only a jewelry box, a not-so-nifty now reminder of my trip with my sister to a country we both loved. A few years later, I knew what those agents were talking about. We all did.
Was this pandemic the same thing all over again? A new normal—except this time for the whole world at once?
The young guy finally got my glasses fixed with a little help from the older guy who owned the place. Those teeny, tiny screws are a bitch.
Do you have your own jewelry box story about your new normal? Please share!