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It’s Weird Out There

I’ve moved from wearing a mask to a t-shirt that says: I came, I saw, I made things awkward.

These days, when I go to shake someone’s hand, I grab somebody’s fist bump or elbow. When I offer a fist bump, they shake my balled up hand. It’s a world where dance moves don’t match. I’m doing the lindy and everybody else is doing the tango. I try to waltz, they break dance.

The bright side is, people are more stingy with hugging.

Weird times. I had to check the history books. How the hell did Prohibition follow the Spanish Flu? World War I just ended. This flu thing kept a lot of people locked in. So, let’s outlaw booze. It’s not surprising that speakeasys and bootlegging made the Roaring Twenties roar.

People were isolated for long stretches and then had to go out and socialize. Of course, that stuff made in the bathtub looked delicious.

Socializing is not like riding a bike. Socializing is more like software. You learn a program or figure out how to do something and then you don’t use it for a while and then you forget. How the eff did I do that?

See, even if I don’t feel weird, the other person might feel weird and I want to respect that.

And then, of course, I might be misreading them. I’m looking at them about maybe feeling weird and they’re not feeling weird which makes me look weird for looking at them like they might feel weird. Follow?

And just two weeks ago, somebody starts talking to me and I’m immediately confused. The conversation from her side is familiar, like we know each other.  And again, a big question mark starts forming over my head for the whole world to see. Finally, she says, “We’ve met.”

And gave me a look, like yeah, several times.

Huh? I died on the spot and didn’t hear anything else. She soon went on her way and I googled memory pills. You know when you lose your keys and you think, uh oh, I’m losing it. At least when you find your keys they don’t say, we’ve met.

But hallelujah, I realize something, and it’s a kick, save and a beauty. I’m not losing it. I met her, yes. But the first time and the second and third time I met her, she was wearing a mask. Without the mask, she’s a different person.                 

I feel better for about ten seconds. Then I start worrying about all the people I should say hello to but I won’t because I won’t recognize them once I see below the bridge of their nose. I guess the bright side is I’ll be able to read lips again and won’t be so damn deaf.

Truth is, I wish I had a mask  for my eyes so I could hide them when they pop out of my head.

A lot of people look, uhm, different from the last time I saw them. It works both ways. I’ve aged in dog years and I’m not surprised when people ask if I have a younger brother named Kevin.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s fun to be out and about. I’m just saying, it’s just still a little weird. And if I don’t recognize you, it’s probably because I made my own hooch, and I’m just trying to fit in the roaring twenties.

By Kevin Boyle 

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