August 2020

After The All Clear

“Who is it?”

“It’s me Ma, with groceries and stuff.  Hold the buzzer longer, okay?  I’ve got two bags to handle.”

“Okay Jeannie.”


pingapartment house elevator arrives

knock, knock, knock — “Ma, open the door —- Why are you still in pajamas and it’s almost lunch time?”

“Never mind the pajamas, Jeannie, where’s your mask?”

“In the trash.  You watch the news all the time.  You should know the order’s been lifted.  Never mind — come here, I want to give you a big hug at long last.”

(Mother backs away)  “No, no, keep your distance, Jeannie!”

“Oh Ma.  It’s okay.  I had a negative test Friday.  Last one.  No more testing either.  Come on, it’s been so long.”

“Just because they say it’s over, doesn’t mean it’s gone.  They were wrong before–that there’d be no fourth wave.  No stay back.  Especially with no mask.”

“Ma, the numbers are down to single digits.  It’s over.  The kids want to see you too.  They want to come over or have you over.”

“I see them all the time on that zoom you set up for me.”

“It’s not the same thing.  They miss having you around.  I miss not being able to hug you.  It’s okay now, Ma.  Don’t you want to get out of this apartment?  You’ve been cooped up in here for what, ten months?  You might as well have been serving time.  Anyway, I brought lunch.  You want to change before we eat?”

“What for?”

“Because you’re getting sloppy, Ma.  I’ll wait for you.  Go.”

“You’re getting bossy, Jeannie.  My friends–when we play virtual gin rummy–most of them are in pajamas too.”

“Well, like you told me when I was a kid, just because others do it doesn’t mean you should.  You got to make the effort, otherwise you just become a slob.  And some lipstick will make you feel better too.”


“At least you pick up your kitchen.  I’ll set out the plates.  What do you want, corned beef or pastrami?”

“Corned beef.  Where’d you get the sandwiches?”

“From Sid like always.”

“Was he wearing a mask when he made them?”

“Ma, the Governor lifted the mask order three days ago.”

“Was he wearing a mask?”

“NO!  Why should he?  It’s over!  Look, I’m going to eat mine.  Do you think I want to die and leave Herm and the two kids?”

“Because like they say, it’s never over till it’s over.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“I was watching that Clancy guy on Coyote News last week and he said that the vaccine everyone’s been getting may not be that great.  So how do we know it’s really over?”

“Ma.  I keep telling you that you can’t believe all the crap you hear on those internet shows.”

“I’m not taking any chances.  You want your dill?”

“No you can have it.  Ma, look, I was going to talk to you anyway.  I’ll come and take you shopping for groceries and stuff next time.  Okay?  It’ll be good for you to get out again.  Get some sunshine.  Feel the rain.”

“I got everything I need right here.  I got the TV, I got the computer, I see my friends, we talk about the old days, we play cards, I got exercises on YouTube and free yet, I get books from—-”

“Ma!  It’s time to get a life again.  Get out.  See your family and friends face to face.  Eat out in a real restaurant.  Live again.”

“The nurse from the health plan comes by to check on me.  I don’t even need to go to the doctor’s office in person.”

“You are so spoiled.  Did you get the vaccine this time when she came like you were supposed to?”

“Clancy said the vaccine might cause problems.  I’ll wait.”

“Ma, the vaccine is what’s led to the drop in cases.  You are in the high risk group.  You need it.”

“I’ll stay in and I’ll wear a mask if anybody comes to the door.”

“What if I say I’m not going to deliver your groceries anymore.  But that I will take you shopping for them.  Look, you can even wear a mask if you want to.  No one else will be, but you can.”

“If you don’t do it, Jeanie, I guess I’ll call that company I saw on TV.  I think it was called GrubHub.”

“God, you’re so stubborn.  It’s safe now.  Can’t you get that through your head?”

“Are there zero cases yet?”

“No, but we’re getting real close.”

“Are the kids going to school in person?”

“Yes.  You know that.  Since a months ago.”

“Are you and Herm going back to the office?”

“Part time at home and part time in the office for me.  Herm is still going to be full time working from home.”

“So that’s three of you that’s going to be exposed.  And the same for probably everybody else.  No thanks.  I’ll wait.”

“Ma, you’re just scared.  Just plain scared.”

“Damn right.  I waited what–ten months?  I can wait a little longer.  I can see the sun on TV and the whole world on National Geographic.  I don’t need to go out.  The world comes to me.”

“Oh Ma————-okay.  We’ll see you on zoom tomorrow?  And email me your grocery list when it’s ready?”

“Jeannie, you’re a good daughter.  Thank you for looking after me.”

“Yeah, Ma.  I love you.  But you are so stubborn!”

“I love you too Jeannie.”



2 thoughts on “August 2020

  1. Reminds me that “it ain’t over ’till it’s over.” Or we can wait:”It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.”


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