The dental nurse and the hygienist were discussing the sheer variety of face masks they had seen since the surgery opened for business a week ago. I reflected on the fact that, now it has been decreed that from next Friday
all shoppers must wear a mask when roaming the aisles of the local butchers, bakers and candlestick makers, face coverings are about to become the Number One fashion accessory. Presumably, for the celebrity types, replacing the miniature puppies they liked
to tuck in their shopping baskets.
My mask, to be donned for yesterday’s appointment with the hygienist, is of the plain white variety and was made
for me by my friend Sue. Whatever else you might say about its undoubted plainness, I am confident that it will go with anything. I will not need to colour coordinate, or risk unsightly clashes when one or more face covering is being washed at 60 degrees and
I only have a purple-coloured face mask clean and ready for wearing.
It is easy to tell that Lockdown has become irksome of late when you hear that an appointment
at the dentist’s took on all the excitement of a proper Jolly Jaunt in my mind. Apart from anything else, it was SO good to have something to write in my desk diary and on my wall calendar, both of which boast great white spaces where previously there
would have been many a scribble. My Darling Daughter-in-law, a dentist in Wales where rules and regulations differ from those in Merrie England, was particularly interested to hear exactly what treatment I would be offered / allowed so I promised to report
back. I can’t remember the last time anyone was interested in hearing about where I had been - but then that’s because I haven’t actually been anywhere much to speak of. Apart, that is, from daily shopping trips in the last couple of weeks
since the shielding guidelines relaxed, two visits to the GP surgery for routine injections, attendance at two Sunday church services and a splendid walk along the sea-front last Saturday with the Youngest of the Darling Daughters, with the added attraction
of an ice-cream to fortify me on the return trek. Oh and there was a pleasant opportunity in a back garden full of flowers for chat in the excellent company of two dear friends a fortnight ago.
A trip to the dentist, however, was a proper outing involving detailed event planning. Oh, the anticipation! The excitement! Not to mention the logistics! I do love to do a bit of proper planning. I read, several times over,
the email sent me by the dental surgery to explain what to expect from this major event in my “new normal” life. I should turn up five minutes before my appointment, no more, no less. Oh, my word, an appointment of Time Related Importance, no less,
requiring a synchronisation of watches perhaps? I would have to make sure I was equipped with a face mask and should wait outside the surgery until summoned inside, at which point my temperature would be taken. Yes, indeed! I can’t remember the last
time anyone was interested in my temperature; I’m not sure I even know what counts as a normal temperature these days, it used to be 98.6 degrees when I was a littl’un - what is that in today’s money?
Then there’s the question of travel. In the old (pre-Covid) days I prided myself on being the Ultimate Bus Traveller. Saving the environment and all that - as well as saving on petrol and car
parking charges, to be fair. I would have to decide where to park, how many hours I would have to pay for, what I would do if the only spaces left in the car park were ones I wouldn’t feel confident about squeezing into. I was beginning to feel stressed
- till I recalled that the dentist’s email had also warned me that I would not be allowed to bring shopping bags into the surgery with me. No problem, I reassured myself - I could leave all my bags-for-life in the boot of the car. If, that is, I happened
to pick up any shopping while I was in town. Should I, maybe, make a list? Should I practise wearing my mask in the shops, in the interests of acclimatisation?
things considered, I reckon my Jolly Jaunt was a great success. I have mastered the arts of Temperature Control, as well as the Application and Removal of Masks. I have even managed to stifle my Green Travel Tendencies though I am still hopeful that normal
public transport may be resumed soon. In short, I am ready, willing and increasingly able to participate in more Jolly Jaunts.
Have mask, will travel....