Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Parsing pandemic protocols

I’ve always been quick to judge. I realize this isn’t news to most of you because I frequently get email that begins: “Who are you to judge?” Which just makes me laugh out loud because, c’mon, have we met? It’s what I do. It’s my schtick, my bailiwick, my…hobby.

Well. It’s not like I jog.

So judging it is. And I’m really, really good at it. The pandemic has given me the chance to ramp up my judginess from a simmering, solid 7 on a scale of 10 to about a 12.

At a socially distanced, masked outdoor gathering of five friends last week, I noticed three of the women appeared to have new dye jobs and cuts. They looked gorgeous.

“Did you go to the hairdresser?” I asked one.

“Hmmm?” she said. “Did I? Let me think….”

Another mumbled something about cutting her own bangs and mixing up her own color.

A third was sporting a fresh Brazilian blowout, an expensive salon treatment to make hair super smooth and shiny. She looked ah-mazing.

I haven’t had my hair done since January. No cut, no color. If you were trying to duplicate my current color, you’d have to look for a mouse on the box. A beige mouse with sad, surprising remnants of blonde at the outermost edges of its fur.

I haven’t had my nails done since early February. When a friend bubbled on a Zoom call she had finally “given in” and got a mani/pedi, I judged. And judged some more. It’s too soon, I said. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean we should do it. Prolonged personal grooming sessions are a bad idea.

“Why are you so upset?” asked “Bev.” “Didn’t you say you flew to Maine last month?”

Pardon?

I mean, er, uhhhhh, hmmmmm…

And this is the problem with judging. I mumbled about how plane air is actually safer to breathe than sitting in your own living room and more fun since you could sit in your living room for three hours and still never stand up and be in Maine.

I prattled on about how the planes—four in all—reeked of rubbing alcohol and there was no snack service. Everyone kept their masks on the entire time in airports and in the air.

I gathered judging had gotten a bit out of hand when on each leg of the trip, the flight attendant dutifully read that if we saw a passenger not wearing a mask, we should understand they may have a health condition that prohibits it.

In other words, “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s entirely possible the unmasked passenger might not be the uneducated Q-anon tool you think they are so stop with the side eye.”

I think we now know why flight attendant wouldn’t be a good career fit for me. I tend to go off script.

Bev did that thing on Zoom where you can tell someone’s no longer listening and is reading texts from the phone in her lap.

She’s so rude, am I right?

(shirttail) Celia Rivenbark can cancel Disney Plus now.

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