On Jan. 1, I awoke to a new year and all its promise. I turned on the TV where credible networks continue to fill air time parading credible infectious disease experts urging credible mitigation measures such as vaccination and masking, i.e. preaching to the choir. Resolution No. 1: Stop watching TV news.
Rather than venturing out, I opened the Daily Sun online to peruse the top local stories and newsmakers of 2021. One choice item to which I was treated online, though not found in Saturday’s physical paper, was the infamous photo of Steve “The Finger” Steiner presumably flipping us the bird. I say presumably because his finger is pixelated in the kind of photo generally reserved for genitalia. The photo was obscured, I’m assuming, to protect the sensibilities of delicate flowers such as myself.
The actual newspaper features only Steiner’s memorable quote recommending “giving” the finger. So magnanimous. The gift of giving! No need to rerun the visual already seared into our collective brain. Resolution No. 2: Read the paper version of the Sun.
After my shower, during which I tried desperately to “unsee” the aforementioned photograph, I upheld an annual ritual and stepped onto the scale. It appears to be broken. Resolution No. 3: The usual. Drop 10 pounds. Oh, and this time keep it off.
But first I’d be going out for New Year’s breakfast to celebrate the end of another unsettling year and to welcome with open arms a new dawn filled with hope, positivity, re-entry into life — this all due to the flip of a calendar page.
Respectfully masked, my husband and I walked into the restaurant to find ourselves the only two in the house adhering to CDC recommendations. Fortunately we’d arrived at an off hour and there were few patrons. We were met and seated by a maskless hostess who turned out also to be our maskless waitress. In my eternal struggle between politeness and self-preservation where politeness always reigns victorious, I resigned myself to my fate and ordered breakfast.
Whenever the waitress approached the table I held my breath hoping to ward off any rogue droplets propelled my way, praying she wouldn’t linger as I tried to avoid taking on a blue hue from lack of oxygen. I’ve developed considerable lung capacity after nearly two years of holding my breath while passing many a maskless patron in the aisles of Hannaford. Still, the exercise this day proved quite a challenge. In the words of the Reverend Mother repeated by the illustrious (and pre-Von Trapp) Maria, “When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.” Well, not at this dining establishment.
When we left the restaurant I said to my husband, “It will be nothing short of a miracle if we didn’t contract Omicron.” Resolutions No. 5: Dine at home, and No. 6: Watch “The Sound of Music” for the 246th time.
Dutiful daughter that I am, after breakfast I called my mother to wish her a Happy New Year. “No, I don’t brew beer!” Two weeks prior, I visited her and she couldn’t hear a thing with or without her hearing aids, so I scheduled the audiologist for a check-up. In addition to clearing her ears of wax he made adjustments to her hearing aids, after which her caregiver and her grandson both reported significant improvement.
“Mom, are you wearing your hearing aids? I was told that you were hearing much better.”
“You got an Irish setter? Don’t you have enough dogs?”
I proceeded to ask the question again, this time projecting my voice to a level certain to test my new phone’s transmission limitations.
“No, they’re in the other room and I’m not there.” Seemingly disinclined to amend the communication impasse, this comedy of the absurd continued until I’d reached my limit which takes far less time than it once did. As with in-person visits, I try to end things before I either lose my temper or dive into a bottle of wine.
Considering it was 10 a.m., not to mention the start of my positive and hopeful new year, I pulled an ace out of my sleeve: bad cell service. I walked to the other side of the kitchen where the call would inevitably be dropped. Resolution No. 8: Stop complaining about the communication issue in South Conway and recognize it for what it is. A blessing, aka that open window.
Jonna Carter lives in South Conway with her husband and five crazy rescue dogs.