I miss eating out.
That’s not a euphemism; with one single exception, I haven’t eaten at a restaurant or cafe or coffee shop or, basically, anywhere that isn’t in the same place where I’ve been sleeping since lockdown started in March 2020, and it’s been long enough that I can admit to feeling really kind of strange about that now.
It’s not that I’ve not eaten food prepared by anyone outside of my immediate family in all that time; I’ve ordered more than my fair share of takeout in that time — what can I say? I really like both fancy American fusion food and McDonalds, and see no real reason to deny myself either as long as I can afford it and don’t overindulge — and eaten some pre-packaged snacks and frozen meals across the past 24 months, as well. But I haven’t actually eaten a meal anywhere that isn’t my house.
(Oddly enough, as I’m writing this, I’m wracking my brain to imagine if I’ve even eaten anything as much as a candy bar outside the house in all that time, and I don’t think I have. That can’t be right, and yet, I have the horrible feeling that it is.)
We’re at the post-lockdown point now where everyone seems to have just… accepted the pandemic as a fact of life and an acceptable risk, with seemingly everyone around me wandering around without masks and the various restaurants allowing sit-in custom again. I have to confess, I’m tempted to just throw caution to the wind and eat out for the first time in two years, just for the thrill of it. Imagine the decadence you’d be feeling!
Except… except, as I said before, there’s one exception to all of this: a birthday meal for a family member at a restaurant, last summer. For the entire meal, I felt anxious and nervous, as if this was the moment when COVID would get me once and for all. I could barely enjoy the food, or the company, the entire time.
Maybe I’ll stay in the house for now. But maybe I’ll order some food in, and pretend I’m being fancy, at the same time.