Scott Peterson

Scott Peterson

As I stood in line outside a store in Johnson Creek looking to buy a winter coat, I started making a list in my head, a list of things I hope to never have to do again after the pandemic ends. I was standing in line outside a store until a bouncer said enough people had exited so it was safe to in. It felt like entering a popular crowded nightclub, except this was less fun and far less crowded.

Waiting outside in a line to buy a coat will be one thing I won’t miss. But here are 10 things I will be glad when it goes away, after a vaccine becomes ready and we can return to normal.

No. 1 on the list will be never having to wear a mask again. I have a stack of masks that I wash and recycle regularly and even a spare in my glove compartment, and I carry up to two in my pockets at all times. I even dressed up as a mask for a Halloween party. But I am tired of them tugging on my ears and making it hard to breath. The vaccine cannot come too soon.

No. 2 on the list would be not eating at home for awhile. I miss having someone make me an Old Fashioned or serve me a steak. I promise to over tip in the future to show how grateful I am.

No. 3 is grocery anxiety. I want to not worry about running out of things from the grocery store. It’s a rolling list of may favorite items that every so often just disappear off the shelves for weeks at time. Cans of caffeine-free Diet Dr. Pepper, my favorite bar soap, spaghetti sauce, Kleenex, caramel-flavored Bugles, and the list goes on and on. One week they are here and the next gone, only to return again. I find myself getting panicky if I don’t have eight rolls of toilet paper in reserve at all times. We don’t even have the Sears catalog to fall back on anymore if that backlog is depleted.

No. 4 is avoiding crowds. I actually find myself getting anxious when I come near a crowded room. And while we are at, the fake crowd noises at sporting events and the cardboard cutouts are laughably poor. We live in America, home of the world’s greatest entertainment industry and home of the laugh track, and we can’t do a better job of piping in realistic, contextual crowd noises?

No. 5 is Zoom meetings. I hope I never have to go to these again. You stare at a bunch of tiny photos like it’s Brady Bunch or Hollywood Squares, all the while looking at yourself and asking: Do I really look as ugly as I seem in this shot? (Answer: Yes.)

No. 6 is elbow bumps. I am not a used-care salesman, but I have come to learn that I like shaking hands. When you meet someone, a firm grip can tell you a lot about the person you are greeting. I apparently secretly like shaking hands.

No. 7 is celebrating holidays with family. We come from a close family where three generations or more routinely pack our homes on holidays with 20-25 people, and now our holidays are quiet and, by comparison, far more dull. Yes, we have stolen visits with our granddaughters, but I have grandnieces and grandnephews I have never even met yet.

No. 8 is worshiping without a choir. Since COVID-19 hit, I admit it is kind of nice to “attend” church online in my pajamas. But I do miss the sound of a choir belting out a hymn that moves the Holy Spirit within me.

No. 9 is staying at home. I like home. I am a homebody. I could cocoon routinely, if I had my druthers. But going to hotels, traveling and seeing exotic places is going to be high on my list when life returns to normal. They say his pandemic will forever change us. My guess is that people are going to travel like it’s 1999, whatever that means.

No. 10 is the politics of the pandemic. I am tired of watching people glare at each other, of people lecturing each other, of people trying to be holier than each other, snearing at each other and practicing righteous indignation. Normalcy, I hope, will bring back neighborly.

I just want to go some place, get a cocktail, shake hands and talk about anything, literally anything but health issues and politics. Is that so much to ask? I want OVERIT-20.

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