Gentle readers, for the first time in over a year, Brock About Town is living up to her name. Having gotten my “Fauci ouchie” (and muted all my Facebook friends who call it that), I have ventured outside of the nuclear fallout bunker that I’m beginning to worry was a waste of money to find a summer like any other. The ice cream truck is making the rounds; college students who live two blocks away from the police station are flagrantly smoking weed on their front porches; and many of our town’s beloved summer traditions, like the farmers market and blowing things up in the middle of the night, have resumed.
I was at said farmers market, buying some of my favorite hypoallergenic foot cream, when it suddenly occurred to me that people have pretty much stopped wearing masks. Even there, in the spiritual home of the crunchy IC mom! A month ago, these women were making masks out of hemp cloth and spraying everything with tea tree oil before they touched it, and now they were looking at me like I was some kind of rube, showing up to a cocktail party in a Renaissance Faire costume. I felt slightly betrayed.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m overjoyed that people are getting vaccinated and that it’s allowing them some freedom. It’s just that like most people, I can no longer keep up with the pace at which the world is changing, and I’m now slightly traumatized by all normal social interaction. I took my mask off at a bar last weekend and I spent the whole night with my arms crossed over my chest, subconsciously fearing I’d had a nip slip. I’d forgotten, though, how much fun going out can be. I even sort of enjoyed being held hostage by a sloppy, middle-aged drunk with a 45-minute monologue about how Yeats is the greatest poet of all time.
So, you know, have your fun, but remember that even if you do have clearance to go out without your mask, there are dangers other than COVID that surround us. Having a gin-fueled one-night stand with an armchair lit professor, for instance.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 295.