"Wait, you ate dinner there? They don't have any outdoor seating. You ate INSIDE? How did you do that?" I asked.
My friend laughed. "Yes, we ate indoors. We're vaccinated! We BELIEVE in the vaccine. It was lovely."
I believe in the vaccine, too.
Yes, I, too, have been vaccinated.
However, I am surprisingly ill-at-ease about our world opening up, this ability to leave our homes and be out and about. I am moving slowly and with trepidation towards all these new "normal" opportunities that await. Honestly, I surprise myself with my fear, my anxiety. I joked with my friend that I feel like a cicada, emerging slowly, not entirely understanding where I am now, and then moving confusingly through the world, bumping as I go. I'm edgy, restlessly edgy. Overly sensitive. Maybe I shouldn't use the word "overly" with sensitive - ha! - I need to be sensitive about that.
Why does eating indoors in a restaurant make me so nervous? What is my deal?
It's as if I have been on a very strict diet, and then I am invited to a smorgasbord of all my favorite rich and heavy foods - it looks delicious, but it doesn't feel good to partake. Too much too fast.
I want it, I want it, I want it, but it leaves me a little shaky and uncomfortable.
I have long known I am an introvert; I have never known myself to be this ill-at-ease.
I think it is going to just take time - right? Just a little out of step, I am.
This past Sunday, Father's Day, the kids and grandkids feted my husband with a big yummy breakfast; by 1 pm, everyone was gone, and we had this quiet day remaining - a very typical pandemic day, a day in isolation, just the two of us.
What should we do for dinner on this special day, just the two of us?
That evening, we took the plunge.
Just like we always used to do, we walked to our favorite little restaurant in downtown Silver Spring, a cozy little Indian-Nepali place.
Just like we always used to do, we went INSIDE. Yes, I faced my vague, invisible, stunting fears.
Just like we always used to do, we had a delightful time. Funny thing, I'm not the only one with these fears - we were the only customers eating inside the restaurant (though there was lots of takeout business, which is how the restaurant survived these pandemic months). This quiet and familiar restaurant was just the environment I needed - and it came with an extra-special bonus of good conversation with the owners, sharing stories about this strange time we are all living through.
Slowly but surely, I am emerging, we are all emerging.