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.
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