I Never Thought I’d Ever…

Before COVID, I took a lot for granted.  If I needed an item, I’d just run out and buy it.  Sometimes I’d even go into several stores in succession without washing my hands in between!  (Shocking, I know.)  Now, even a quick trip to the grocery store is fraught with complexity:

  • Do I have my mask and hand sanitizer?
  • Can I recall the correct order in which to apply the mask and sanitizer?
  • Will I fail to note the directional arrows on the floor and find myself bashfully backpedalling while other shoppers give me the stink-eye?
  • Can I remember to maintain a six-foot distance between myself and others while simultaneously calculating whether the extra-large box of cereal at regular price is a better deal than two smaller boxes on sale?
  • And how can I dodge that group of bare-faced young guys who are laughing and gabbing and breathing their invisible death-cooties everywhere?

Yep, in the past six months, I’ve done a whole lot of things I didn’t think I’d ever do. F’rinstance, I never thought I’d ever:

See people freak out over toilet paper.  I thought I was joking when I wrote a blog post titled “Weapons of Ass Destruction” back in 2014, but apparently I was foretelling the future.  I can’t tell you how much that scares me.  I really, really hope none of my other blog posts are prescient.

Go through a liquor-store checkout wondering if they’ll ID me this time because all my wrinkles are hidden behind my mask. (They didn’t. Guess I have more wrinkles than I realized.)

Worry about who my dryer repairman has been seeing.  He’s the only person who’s entered our house in the past six months.  Where has he been, and did he catch anything while he was there?!?

Become even more of a hermit than I already was.  You know you’ve got a problem when a twice-monthly trip to the grocery store seems like a lot of travelling.

Walk into a bank wearing a mask that conceals most of my face. The first time I did that, the idiot-joker part of my personality begged to shout, “This is a stickup!” Fortunately for my continued freedom, I managed to suppress the idiot, but it was a near thing.

Turn down an ice cream cone.  When I turn down ice cream, it’s a sure sign that the world is seriously awry.  But I can’t figure out how to hand-sanitize when one of my hands is occupied by the cone.  D’you think they’d flip a scoop of ice cream over the counter to me?  I’m sure I could snag it out of the air with my teeth…

Hmm, if this pandemic goes on much longer, I foresee the rise of a whole new “No-Touch” fast food serving system.  It’ll look a lot like this:

Not very efficient or tidy, but at least the spectators would get some laughs.  (And let’s hope this blog post doesn’t turn out to be prescient!)

Book 16 update:  We have words on the page, woohoo! I’m halfway through Chapter 2, and Aydan’s getting sent to Leavenworth.  But don’t worry, it’ll all work out!

36 thoughts on “I Never Thought I’d Ever…

  1. It seems that every crisis requires the purchase of inordinate quantities of bread, milk and toilet paper. When necessary, the TP can be used in poker games – “I’ll see your three sheets and raise you a half roll.”
    I am also adding “death-cooties” to my vocabulary list.


    • You’re welcome to “death-cooties” — use it in good health! 😉

      And you’re right about the toilet paper. Using it as currency makes as much sense to me as bitcoins. At least the toilet paper has a practical *ahem* ‘application’.


  2. Love the video and probably not far off for the future of food delivery!! We have been fortunate with grocery shopping….our stores have designated a large number of parking spaces for “pick up”. You order on-line….they let you know when it’s ready….you go to store…park in spot…call number on sign on your spot that you are here…release trunk…they come out put the bags of groceries in back and close trunk door…no touching or breathing incorrectly during whole process. Now, this is mostly due to the fact that it’s Los Angeles and due to the sheer population and number of cases…creativity was needed to avoid unnecessary contact. Looking forward to your next book!!!


    • Thanks, Kirt! I was wondering how the big cities were handling distancing in grocery stores and other essential services. That sounds like a great solution!

      We’re in a small rural area and the local grocery store does deliveries, but they couldn’t handle the demand when COVID hit so delivery was only available to people who were housebound. The good news is that if we shop after 8:00 PM, there are only a handful of people in the store. This community isn’t much for evening shopping. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ukraine is setting records every day for new cases. We play it pretty safe. But our regular taxi driver does not wear a mask. That scares me. We’ve had three neighbours in the house and two of them work in the city and do not wear a mask. Your check list may be your lifesaver. Make fun all you want but stay safe.
    Say, is your new book taking Covid 19 into account? I haven’t been paying attention


    • Nope, COVID hasn’t hit Aydan’s world yet. When I started the series I decided to use a “realistic” timeline, so she’s still back in early 2012.

      We’re actually being very cautious. We’ve never been social butterflies and we rarely went anywhere even before the pandemic, so it’s a minor inconvenience to mask up and hand sanitize when we go for groceries every now and then. We’ve had a few visits with friends out in our yard, but we don’t invite them into the house. I poke fun, but I ain’t jokin’ about safety.

      I’d be worried riding with your taxi driver, too. Stay safe over there!


  4. Sorely needed laughs at the end of a tough week. I passed a pretty rough looking parked car recently that was filled with rolls of toilet paper and paper towels and sported at least 25 masks hanging from the rear view mirror – my FIRST thought? Somebody is going to break into that sucker, its a gold mine! Weird new reality we are living in! But posts like yours help get us through. Hang tough and remember, the cheapest cereal is always on the lowest shelf in the grocery store (note, I did not say the BEST tasting cereal!).


    • LOL! A vitally important distinction. I didn’t know that there was a hierarchy of price vs. altitude – thanks for that!

      It’s hilarious that your first thought was “gold mine” when you saw that car! Strange times, indeed. I’m glad you got some laughs, anyway.

      You hang tough,too – stay well. 🙂


  5. I am so with you on the ‘could you have imagined’ theme. Not in a million years. Just yesterday as I was going out for a walk…do i have a mask, hand sanitizer, wipes just in case. Forget the water bottle a girl only has so many hands and pockets.
    With my coordination I don’t think I’ll be able to move on to the food catching. It would certainly make for a good laugh though.


  6. You sure have a way of describing the things a lot of us are grappling with because of Covid. I can totally put myself in your shoes, but you crack me up. I never crack myself up! As I was reading the end of your blog, I immediately thought “let’s hope this blog post doesn’t turn out to be prescient” and then you wrote exactly that.

    Crazy video. I can’t believe the unhealthy food they are feeding their dogs. Yikes! Plus, it’s training them to beg for human food too. I guess I wasn’t much of a fan, but it’d be really funny if it were humans trying to eat like that. 🙂 By the way, our dog LOVES vegetables. Well, she loves eating anything!

    Also, thank you so much for the sound advice you gave me on my last blog post. You are the best! Really!!


    • Thank you! And you’re very welcome — I hope at least some of that advice is helpful. That’s the thing about free advice: Sometimes it’s worth exactly what you paid for it. 😉

      I was a little horrified at what those people were feeding their dogs, too; but I just couldn’t keep myself from imagining humans in their places and laughing. I’m thinking the nachos could get more than a little messy!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, up to chapter two!!! You should be ready to publish next week then. 😉

    With my move during covid there are a lot of things I never thought I’d worry about. One weird thing that happen is that I had a small bottle of hand sanitizer in the car and after a couple of weeks it had all evaporated. I swear I didn’t use that much of the stuff and have decided to blame the loss on the desert heat … yeah, that’s it, so hot here that sanitizer just evaorates.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been wondering about that. We keep our hand sanitizer in the car, too; and I’ve been wondering if the alcohol evaporates out of the solution and reduces its potency. It shouldn’t… but I still think of it as I’m (semi)confidently sanitizing my hands.

      And hey, yeah, next week sounds about right for me to finish Book 16. I’ll keep you posted. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wonderful news that your writing continues. That is the normal I really, really like to hear about.
    We have no known cases in my city at the moment (and they are testing our sewerage to be sure). Just the same, some people obviously have no fear – or plan on being undetected mass murderers.


    • Wow, it’s great that your city is COVID-free! What is its population?

      Things aren’t too bad at the moment here on Vancouver Island. We’ve seen a bit of an increase, but as of yesterday we only had 7 active cases (as far as the health officials know; which may or may not reflect reality) in a population of over 870,000. I suspect that most people here are older and more cautious, and also more widely distributed. The younger age groups in big cities seem to be driving the latest spike in cases on the mainland, so who knows? All we can do is cross our fingers and hope the same doesn’t happen here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We have nearly 400.000 residents but, because it is the seat of Government, a lot of transient population as well.
        I think that the young ones are driving our infection rates too, however it is not usually a death sentence for them. Tough luck for the vulnerable people whose paths they cross though (hence my earlier reference to mass murderers).

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, it’s sad that these kids can’t think of anyone but themselves; but then again, I guess that’s the definition of “kids”. Let’s hope that by the time they’re as old and wise (*chuckle*) as we are, they’ll be a little more selfless. ’Course, by then we won’t be around to see it… 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  9. someone needs to tech a class on not being STUPID and hope it works. I cannot believe what these old eyes are seeing. no mask, protesting. go to beach and parties. all that crap. I am still trying to work out the toilet paper puzzle. actually joked with a customer counter person about now with all the face covering is when the crooks will have a field day. As Danny and mel said I am definitely too old for this shit. It is time for it to be gone and lets get back to normal. (whatever normal is) Me and the dogs and cats haven’t been doing much different. staying home and driving each other a little more nutty. I carry a bottle of alcohol spray in can for the few times I leave house. once every 2 weeks or so. Mostly read and play games on pc for brain food. Got to get back to beginning of your books. I do the same for movies I really like. Watch and read all over again.


    • That’s awesome — I’m glad you think the Never Say Spy series is worth re-reading! Thank you! 😀

      At least you’ve got your dogs and cats to keep you smiling! Sometimes I think our furry friends are a lot smarter than we are. I’m heartily wishing for a return to normal, too — hoping for a vaccine soon!


  10. Aydan sent to Leavenworth? What’s funny is that I was thinking about what would happen if Aydan went to prison, or was “planted” there for some covert operation by Stemp or more likely Dermott. I think that idea came about due to a couple of YouTube videos I came across by Larry Lawton, who has been in a few different prisons and pulls no punches as to what it was like.

    As for COVID, we are both stir crazy here. I would already have had one road trip down, with another coming up in three weeks. But, not this year. We rarely eat out now–we are lucky to have some places near Lake St. Clair where we can eat outdoors, and there are a couple of places I trust for indoor dining. We take trips up to the rail trails for bicycling, stop at a vegetable stand or two on the way home, and that’s a typical Saturday outing. We’ll also take in a long drive. Only, we are wary about stopping anywhere to eat.

    My youngest is starting senior year in college. She works in admissions also, and she is thankful that the school is being so strict. They require all students to be tested, and anyone caught without a mask is escorted off the campus. She’s taking bets with her friends on when they’ll shut the college down again and revert back to online participation. (Which is difficult. One of her friends said, “How do they expect me to weld at home?? 😁 )

    But otherwise, this area has been the same clusterfuster as anywhere else, split between those who mask up and the few who don’t. Only here, the whiny types complain that telling everyone to wear a mask is a violation of their civil rights. And don’t get me started on the “protests.” It’s no wonder the world is probably laughing hysterically at our country right about now! I look across the aforementioned lake wistfully at Canada (on a clear day, of course–it’s over 20 miles across), wishing I could escape to a somewhat more sane place than ours for a while. Hide up in the mountains with a cabin and a garden, like a hermit, until this all passes.

    I heard of someone who got the $750,000 CAD fine for not driving directly from Washington to Alaska via Canada. (You can make the drive, but can’t stop to see other sights along the way. They spotted this guy’s car in Alberta, I believe, after he had been caught elsewhere!)

    Crazy times we live in…


      • Yep, I could see where welding in a one-bedroom apartment could get a bit dicey!

        I’m not sure if Canada is necessarily a saner place, but at least we’ve got lots of unoccupied country so becoming a hermit would be relatively easy. I’m tempted to try “hermit-ing”just for kicks: Completely disconnect from the internet and email and stop answering the phone for a couple weeks. It would be lovely, but I’m afraid that if I ever walk away from my Inbox for that long I’ll never catch up again.

        Hmm. Okay, Plan B: I’ll set up an email rule that auto-responds to every email saying, “Hi, I’m sorry, but my email account is having technical difficulties and is discarding all email unread. I expect to have the problem fixed in two weeks, so if your email is important, please try again then.”

        Think it’d work?

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I feel much the same about goi g out but I’m kinda starting to get more normal about things

    I’m doing a mental health first aid course for the next few days so that will help me to help others

    Liked by 1 person

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