Good morning. It’s Sunday, April 25. If you’re FaceTiming me, I’m over here behind the couch.

Breaking news: 48 hours from now, I will drive to Augusta Civic Center’s “Needle Park” and receive my second shot of Moderna vaccine.

Keep me in your prayers.

They say that after I’m fully inoculated, I will be free to actually walk inside the local Starbucks coffee shop, the dry cleaners, Taco Bell, maybe even Walmart and the post office.

You know what I’d like to do after I get my second shot? I’d like to go to the firehouse in Waterville, and ask them if I could slide down their pole. I always wanted to do that. I’ll bet that hasn’t changed.

Change. Can I handle anymore change? I remember a story my brother Jug once told me, about Rose, a girl he dated whose grandfather had just been released from prison after 25 years. True story.

His crime, Rose said, was that he had forgotten the names of his bosses in a major crime. Smart guy.

So much had changed since he went in, that he couldn’t handle it, so he asked to be sent back to prison.

A lot has changed since I locked my front door. I haven’t been in a movie theater in over a year.

Do they still sell popcorn? Where do I sit? What if someone without a mask sits down next to me? Do I move? How many times can you move and still watch the movie?

Like some of you, She and I haven’t dined out since the COVID dime dropped. She doesn’t care. She likes my cooking.

But if I want to go to Jorgensen’s on Main Street, where will I be allowed to sit? Do they wipe down the menus and silverware?

She just said that Jorgensen’s has moved. To where?

Is Target in Augusta still open? TJ Maxx?

A Facebook friend (the only kind I feel safe with) wrote and welcomed me “back to normal.”

Normal? What is normal? Where is normal? What does normal even look like?

For fun, I jotted down a line of questions and mailed them off to “Normal, Waterville, Maine 04901.”

The letter came back stamped, “No Longer At This Address.” I made that up.

My friend Joe is back to normal, and wants to have coffee at Starbucks at their outside tables.

I’m not ready for that. To be safe, I’ve made a backup plan.

I’ve put together a freezer full of “Hungry Man” dinners, two 12-pack cartons of Stella Artois and six bags of blue corn taco chips. You can’t go wrong with blue corn taco chips.

She’s all set. She has a stack of books still to read.

I’ve got Netflix, Prime and Hulu. I’m fine.

I still want to slide down the pole at the firehouse.

Do firehouses still have poles to slide down?

Over here, behind the couch. Have a taco chip?

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer. 


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