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Jail Break: Out in the World After 2 Shots

Fully vaccinated, comedian Gail Forrest heads out of the house. What does post-Covid life have in store for her?

After a year in isolation, afraid of every surface, elevator, sneeze, cough, grocery store aisle, and other humans, I have been liberated. Thank you, Moderna for my swollen arm and headache as I have never been more excited to have either and not complain. I am a certifiable needle-phobe, and yet stuck my arm out so fast I almost knocked out the poor person vaccinating me. Two shots in the books is like a dream come true — or has it just gotten complicated?

I became an expert at staying inside except for the daily walk with my only companion for the last year, Tulip my little rescue terrier. Rain, wind, single-digit temperatures, or snow piled higher than an SUV, nothing stopped us. We diligently dodged humans and other dogs because they were attached to humans. We stayed fit and alone. I got proficient at scouting out the aisles at supermarkets in hope of finding the least occupied. Yes, I ended up buying food I didn’t want or know how to prepare, but I was a social-distance expert. I could tell within an inch how close I was to another person.

My first journey out after my two-week post-shot time was nerve wracking

Now I’m free thanks to the vaccine and a nod from Dr. Fauci, who has bummed me out for over a year but now is a vaccine lover. My first journey out after my two-week post-shot time was nerve wracking. For starters, I had no idea what to wear or what clothes still fit me. I had been living and sleeping in sweatpants and ratty t-shirts for so long I no longer knew how to dress. Jeans! I would start with my skinny black jeans and go from there.  I slowly put on each leg and started to sweat and feel rashy as I pulled them up. When it was time for the zipper I thought there should be a mantra or prayer: “Oh please, great jean Gods, I promise to never wear other pants if I can zip these.” I got lucky and felt oddly religious.

Next question: did I still have bras, where were they, and do I have to now wear one again? On the upside, I could finally put on the cute tie dye t-shirt I bought exactly one day before the shut down. It did require a bra, so where did I put those damn things? Oh well, a small price to pay to leave the house resembling a woman.

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I never realized I could wear stress. My face was a cosmetic 911 situation so I had to get to work

I had also been living in a no makeup zone, which is freeing but scared the crap out of me every time I looked in the mirror.  I suffered from what I nicknamed “Covid Face.” The stress from the virus had taken up residence on it and I looked like I had aged ten years in just one. I never realized I could wear stress. My face was a cosmetic 911 situation so I had to get to work. I slathered on moisturizer to stop my skin from further ruin or looking like Captain Ahab. Slowly and with shaking hands I tried to apply eye liner but my nerves were shattered and the line looked like a blue lightning bolt. Very Harry Potter but Halloween was months off. My hair resembled a bird’s nest and I was just a beard shy of Rip Van Winkle. Unless that was a hair on my chin!

When I stopped screaming I decided it was now or never.  I had to get out the door.  It was time.  I was dressed and as ready as could be after a year in sweat clothes and too many days between showers. I picked out my dress mask as I planned to actually to go in a store that wasn’t selling canned goods or pizza.   

Could I stay upright in high heels?

Dare I take a trip to the mothership Neiman Marcus on my first excursion out in the real world? I would do it! I had a harrowing drive on the highway as my merging skills were rusty and I waited safely on the shoulder until I didn’t see a car for 1/2 of a mile before I entered the lane. I arrived shaken and sweaty but not deterred. The store seemed far bigger than I remembered and so much brighter. I squinted my way over to the cosmetic aisles where I was bombarded by sales girls desperate to fix my eye liner mishap and convince me their cream could resurrect my Covid Face for only $450. I would have felt more convinced if they had a plastic surgeon on speed dial to help. Mirrors were everywhere and I shockingly saw more of me than I had in the last twelve months. My instincts to flee were overwhelming but I decided to seek comfort in the shoe department.  I love shoes, but had only worn Nikes since February. Could I stay upright in high heels?  I picked up a pair of silver Jimmy Choos and held them lovingly before I imagined falling on my face.  I said good-bye for now to the Manolos and Christian Louboutins as at the moment I was one high-heeled step away from a ruptured Achilles.

It was a triumphant first day out but I needed it to be over. I was wracked with sensory overload. I took the slow back roads home for peace and quiet. My sweatpants felt safe and comfy but I had a taste of post-Covid life and

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I’M BAAAAAAACK!

14 COMMENTS

  1. Seriously. With all the shit that has happened in the last year and people around the world who have lost their jobs don’t have enough to eat and whose family members have died, does a trip to Neiman Marcus constitute a dramatic step forward for humanity? It may be a cutesy moment of personal reflection, but you might want to consider keeping it to yourself. Yes the world has more important things to consider than silver Jimmy Choi’s.

    • You ae right, but it is my sense of humor to keep me sane also. I spent the last year totally alone and grieving the recent death of my Mother. I personally had to find some relief , so while I appreciate and believe everything you said about my piece I am also a comedian looking for ways for me and other people to laugh – even at me – or to be upset at me as you seem to be, so thank you for the response.

  2. Loved this! Have had to do some travel for my business in the last few months. Cowered in my hotel room except for masked meetings with client. Now we are all shot full of Faucilove and able to go out in public…wow! It’s scary and fun both. My favorite department store saw me as well…so I get it! Thanks and you made me laugh!

  3. Where do you live? You were in severe lockdown. Very sad situation you were living. And your mother had died recently, really wondering why you did not see friends. How tragic.

    • I live in the Chicago area and although I had a “pod” of a few friends it was winter here and no one was going out or visiting. We only communicated by phone or text. My Mother’s death really caught up to me as a result of the lock down….you’re right it was tragic. The winter compounds everything here. Thanks for reading and commenting Pamela!

  4. Gail, I am all-in for the sisterhood of prayer to the Gods and Goddesses of zipper pants! Ignore the naysayers and the crabs-I lost my job, gravity has smacked me from all sides, and I’m burying my MIL next month. Your wit is exactly what is needed right now. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  5. HBH:
    Thanks so much for your nice words and I hope I entertained/made you laugh for at least a few minutes. I agree humor is so important right now even if it’s about the zipper Gods and Goddesses. I love sharing my journey as it makes me laugh at myself and I want others to laugh with me! Take good care!

  6. Hallelujah Gail! Another witty piece! Glad you are getting out and about a bit. As always, thanks for the laughs.
    Marlene

  7. I loved your article and to be able to look at things in a light hearted manner is perhaps something we need after so much time alone. I am in Spain and we are still quite restricted here – thank you for making me laugh again! Condolences to you on your Mother’s passing.

    • Thank you for reading and for your mention of my Mother. That did make this pandemic extra difficult. I find the best route to staying sane is through humor and it has been so great sharing it with others. It makes me happy that people find it funny and helps for a moment lighten the psychological/emotional toll this time has taken on all of us. There will be more funny stuff coming soon!!

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Gail Forrest
Gail Forresthttp://www.gailforrest.com
Gail Forrest recently started doing standup which she finds is a complete blast. Gonepausal is her blog and she has a book on Amazon by the same name filled with stories of her skewed, funny view on midlife and all its attendant surprises. Humor is the only way forward at this point.

 

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