Mostly we are continuing to work quite contentedly on our projects at home, supplemented by regular Skype sessions with grandchildren, a weekly Zoom choir chat, and other not-in-person forms of communication. Domestically, postal mail communication is working fine, seemingly normal. Internationally it is a very different story. Since the arrival of my 56-day Priority Mail package, our folks in Switzerland have received none of the letters I have sent (numbering at least seven). Given that my friend at our local post office once told me that the only postal system in the world that is better than America's is the Swiss system—this is not normal.
At last I'm feeling comfortable with my grocery shopping habits—not related to COVID-19, but to product availability. That is, I'm confident enough again not to buy something as soon as I see it, but to go back to my normal procedure of waiting until the product is on sale. Today I passed up the opportunity to buy our favorite brand of toilet paper, because it was not on sale. That says a lot.
However, I did NOT pass up the chance to buy my first bag of King Arthur flour since all this started! It was all I could do to restrain myself from buying more than one. (The store set no limits, but we King Arthur fans have to look out for one another.) The price was good, too ($3.99 for five pounds).
I also ventured out to the library to return two books and pick up one that had become available. The library takes in returned books in the vestibule, before you enter the main part of the facility. From there the returned books are put into a three-day quarantine before being reshelved. In the library itself masks are recommended but not required. All the staff but only some of the patrons were wearing masks the day I visited. Not one of all the children I saw was masked—which I found disturbing, given that children are the most likely to spray their coughs and sneezes randomly. Don't tell me you can't make a child wear a mask. I know a little boy who as a two- and three-year-old cancer patient had to wear a mask every time he went out in public. If he could manage it, certainly much older children can.
Our first new venture was participating in Communion on the Driveway at church. We joined the others who watched most of the service from home, then drove to church for the drive-through experience, receiving communion (just the bread) into our hands from long, slender tongs that looked for all the world like chopsticks. Even though our church is officially reopened for public worship, the restrictions are so great that we will be patient with the online version for a while longer. If we couldn't get the Eucharist any other way, we might have to submit to the restrictions, but we'll face that if we come to it.
The other big event for us was HAIRCUTS! I had already taken the scissors to my bangs once, but was still feeling shaggy and uncomfortable, especially with the advent of summer heat. Porter had long ago changed his hairstyle to keep his ever-lengthening hair out of his eyes, but it was time and more than time for both of us. For a long time, our neighbor, a semi-retired barber, has been cutting Porter's hair, but he has been out of town for weeks. I usually go to SuperCuts, but am not ready to have that kind of public contact yet. Finally, our neighbor returned—to a line-up of people anxious for his services.
Not only are we both feeling much, much better, but this was probably my most enjoyable haircut, ever. I know some people like getting haircuts, but for me it is only slightly preferable to going to the dentist. First, there's the stress of wondering how the haircut will turn out. (Don't tell me that I wouldn't have that stress if I paid more for a haircut; I've discovered that doesn't help.) This time, I didn't really care. I just wanted the job done. (And it turned out to be one of my best haircuts, anyway.) But that's not the worst stress of getting a haircut: I hate hair salon conversations. Every once in a while I'll get a stylist who will just cut my hair, but most want to talk. Over the years I've learned to do the small-talk thing, but it costs me a great deal of effort and leaves me exhausted.
But this was soooo different! As I said, this time the barber was our neighbor, and I am accustomed to talking with him. Besides, the conversation was interesting—not the kind of discussion you can have with a stranger. We might as well have been eating dinner at Outback together, except of course that my hair was shorter when we were done. Never has getting a haircut been so easy and so rewarding!
And there's one more benefit that came from our shearing: I have my husband back. Now that Porter's hairstyle is back to normal, he looks like himself to me. Y'all probably laughed when I said that the first time our rector got a radical haircut I thought it was someone else up at the altar until he spoke. Not recognizing one's own husband is even sillier, but that's prosopagnosia for you. I mean, I knew it was him, but ... it's good to have him back.