In honor of what looks like it could be a quasi normal-ish summer, we’re talking about re-entering the world post vaccinations.
Note: Because of our recording schedule, we didn’t talk in this episode about Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis-St. Paul area, MN. To support Daunte Wright’s girlfriend, Chyna, and son, Daunte Jr., check out this post from @holisticheaux, who is in direct contact with and collecting funds for them. And if you need it, here’s Rachel’s VICE piece, Self-Care Tips for Black People Who Are Really Going Through It Right Now.
Here in the U.S. it’s looking like enough people will be vaccinated by summer that we’ll be able to do at least some of the stuff we’ve been missing since the pandemic started last year. But the idea of socializing like we did Before feels….overwhelming. This week, we talk about how we’re planning on approaching re-entry. We also discuss some of the online discourse about this moment in the pandemic, as well as post-pandemic friend breakups.
This episode was produced by Rachel and Sally and edited by Lucas Nguyen. Our logo was designed by Amber Seger (@rocketorca). Our theme music is by Tiny Music. MJ Brodie transcribed this episode. Follow us on Twitter @OhILikeThatPod.
Things we talked about
Rachel: Welcome to Oh I Like That, a podcast about things we like and occasionally things we don't. I'm Rachel Wilkerson Miller.
Sally: And I'm Sally Tamarkin.
Rachel: Good morning.
Sally: Hey Rachel, how's the vibe?
Rachel: Vibe over here is dec, it's a very gloomy day. It's cold and blustery in a way that feels reminiscent of November, but otherwise the vibe is, you know, fine/good. How about you?
Sally: Yeah, it's gloomy here. It's been really rainy and gray for a few days. We've had some pretty epic thunder and lightning storms, which has been very dramatic. You know I love when mother nature makes a statement, so she's really been crushing it. But you know, it's working for me. I'm into the gloomy vibe. And the other thing is that I'm Twitter free and loving it.
Rachel: Wow, wow wow wow. That's big news.
Sally: Yeah. I mean, by Twitter free and loving it I mean, I'm not going to open the app today and hopefully not for the next couple of days, because I've just been noticing, I started doing this thing where at night I write down a couple of things that would have improved my quality of life on the day that just happened. And every single night I write down 'looking at Twitter less'. And so after doing that for eight days in a row I was like, I think possibly one thing I should consider is looking at Twitter less. So I've just decided, you know, we're starting a new week. It's a great time to do dry January, but for Twitter and for one to five days.
Rachel: Yeah. I think that's a good plan. Also, I was meaning to tell you that I have been trying to read more after not reading any books, or not finishing any books this year. I read a book this weekend and I started reading a new one yesterday and read it this morning. So might I recommend books as an alternative to Twitter in the morning or at all the time? It's a nice way to, I don't know, in the past I've put my Kindle app where my Instagram or Twitter app is on my phone to remind me to open that instead, and I find it's very helpful.
Sally: Yeah, no, I love that. I think I'm going to replace looking at Twitter with probably some reading, probably some video games and probably another pastime of mine, which is starting to listen to new podcasts, discovering they're not for me and then moving on to another one [laughs], so I'm bringing the same neurotic energy I bring to Twitter to my other habits. But yeah, I'm totally psyched to do some things that are more productive than stoking my rage fire. Which actually, I feel like is a really good transition to our first topic.
Rachel: I completely agree. Do you want to, with that kick things off?
Sally: I think we should.
Rachel: All right. So our main segment today, we are going to talk about the imminent quote-unquote 'reopening'. The summer is coming, people are getting vaccinated, and we're heading into what Sally called anxious girl summer. [Laughs] I think that's pretty accurate.
Sally: Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, I'm feeling very excited about summer coming because it is looking like from all of the data that a) people are getting vaccinated, b) vaccines are effective, and c) we're going to be able to return to some sort of modified normal, which I'm thrilled about. I'm also feeling incredibly anxious about having a grip on what is going to feel safe and comfortable to do. I was talking about this with a friend of mine who is a health reporter, who I think is really, really smart and is very cautious, but is also very science driven. And she was just pointing out that for the last year or more we've all had to be amateur epidemiologists and amateur virologists and amateur ethicists and stuff like that. And that's exhausting and difficult, and kind of I think makes it hard to know what is safe to do, because you can't look outside your door and be like, well, everyone is doing this. So it's safe. You know what I mean? Because a lot of people were doing a lot of things that weren't safe.
Sally: And you know, I also, I'm nervous not just about safety, but about being a person in society and making choices that are, you know, moral or relatively moral. So, and I will say also before I kick it over to you, is that one of the reasons that I have decided to take this Twitter break is the 'discourse', quote-unquote, I use that really loosely because it's actually just a volley of tweets from people who are diametrically opposed on what is safe to do and what isn't and how people should behave and how they shouldn't. The discourse around what it's okay to do and what kind of attitude we should all have going into this phase of the pandemic is really annoying and toxic. And I think represents on one side, the people who are like YOLO, do whatever you want, and on the other side, people who are cautious to the point of not really taking into consideration what science and data and experts do say. And for me, that's not a useful conversation because it's just two very extreme and black and white positions that I don't think have that much nuance. So I don't know. I mean, that's kind of where I'm at. That's a big old ball of my thoughts. Where are you at with kind of going into summer, but also what the conversation is right now about all this stuff?
Rachel: Yeah. So I am partially vaccinated. I will be good to go at the beginning of May, and I'm excited for that. I think people who listen to this podcast know that I have not done much of anything for the past year. And so I'm cautious about heading back into the world, not necessarily because I'm worried about getting sick, but more I'm not sure how it will feel for me to go back into the world. And so I don't want to go too hard too soon. I want to just give myself time and space to ease back into things and see how it feels. And, you know, I'm not the most extroverted or outgoing person even in the best of times, so I don't want to agree to do a bunch of socializing in part because I know that I will get easily exhausted by that and will regret having all those obligations looming. So I think my caution is coming from that more so than like, I'm worried I'm going to get sick. But it's also hard to see case numbers being so high in New York and staying so high. That does make me a little uncomfortable. I have also seen a lot of these Twitter takes that are so aggressive toward people who might be a little bit hesitant to go back in the world who still feel scared. And I find that just so unnecessary and so... not unkind, but just sort of unthinking, ungenerous toward people. I also don't really believe this is a real problem, that there are hordes of people who are going to refuse to leave their homes, but I wanted to share a couple representative tweets that I think really sum this up. So there was one, probably the most viral, from April 5th that said: "there's a small but loud and absolutely real subset of people who don't want the pandemic to end because they like being the best at following the rules." And I just am like, is there a small but loud and absolutely real subset of people? I'm a bit skeptical of that. And when I was looking at this tweet and sort of all of the responses, and in my timeline it was a lot of people plus one-ing this and agreeing with it, I'm just sort of like, I remember the good old days when you had fights with imaginary people in your head, in the shower. This feels like getting whipped up over something that's not really happening, and then having this imaginary fight in public versus just thinking it and getting whipped up yourself and alone versus bringing other people into it. But it's just sort of like, anyone can say a thing and it gets retweeted. And I think that the fact that it has been shared so much is indicative of like, yeah, a lot of people do agree with this. So yeah, I guess we should probably talk about it, but it feels like a fake problem to me. There was also one from Nellie Bowles who writes for the New York Times, who's saying it's actually really sad how many people want to stay in lockdown life forever. And she goes on to say that we should think about programs to help these people. And I'm just like, there've always been people who didn't go out that much. We didn't really think about needing programs to lure people who are introverted or people who are depressed out of the house. That wasn't really a thing that we were all concerned with. I'm not really sure what she thinks these programs to help would look like, but it felt to me sort of like concern trolling where it's like, is this a real problem? Are you just trying to have the most galaxy brain take here? I'm not really sure, but I just don't think that people staying home because they are, for whatever reason, but like, if they are still a bit worried, like, okay? It doesn't... these things aren't equal. Over the past year, going out and doing stuff, you were taking the risk of making other people sick. Staying home never had that risk coming with it, right? It's not really anyone else's problem if you stay home. And so I'm kind of just like, who cares if people still want to stay home? it doesn't affect us. It's not causing harm to other people. So what's the problem, and why is everyone so worked up about this?
Sally: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I agree with everything you just said. I think that there is kind of this imaginary straw man of there are all these people who want the pandemic to keep going, or want lockdown to last forever or whatever. I think that that's the kind of thing that makes me never want to go on Twitter again, because it's such a disingenuous and bad faith take. I don't think people want to stay in lockdown forever, I think people are feeling really scared and traumatized. And I think also, another thing this friend that I referred to before was saying, which is also reflected in a Twitter thread I thought was really good which we can put in the show notes, is that things were so uncertain in the beginning of this and information was so... I mean, let us not forget who was president and who was in charge of the initial vaccine response. And it was like, no one wear masks, and then it was like, oops, we need masks. And it's like, it's not airborne -- oh, hey, it's airborne. I think a lot of people, and I think you and I are probably among them Rachel, we were just like, we're going to take this into our own hands. We're going to find experts we trust, we're going to understand what's going on, and we're going to make decisions about what we do based on our best understanding, and also based on kind of how cautious we are. And I think that a lot of people have kind of calibrated themselves to react, to make decisions based on what is the worst possible outcome. Because I think that for a huge portion of the pandemic, that was certainly the only way I could feel safe, you know, was to be like, man, we don't have a lot of information about this, or information about this is changing a lot. So what's the worst case scenario and how can I avoid it? And, you know, there are a lot of people who don't think that way, but still we're largely acting in ways that were safe and that's totally fine and good. But I think that after a year of being very scared and being very cautious, it's pretty hard to rip the bandaid off and feel normal again. And so I wish that people who are tweeting things like, "it's a real societal problem that people want lockdown to go on forever," which is completely, bad faith and ridiculous, I wish there would be that shade of nuance that's like, you know, "I just realized also maybe people really are desperate to be out of lockdown, but they're feeling like it's hard to just jump back into it," but you never really get that kind of nuance or you rarely get that kind of nuance on Twitter. But the other thing I will say is that I have been seeing, I don't think that whatever that first tweet was there's an absolutely real and sizable whatever portion of people. I don't know if I would put it that way, but I feel like I have seen people who I think are kind of on the extreme other end of this whole thing. I was looking in the comments of a health brand that I very much respect, and there were all these comments from people. And the post was like, here's what the CDC says that you can do safely if you're fully vaccinated and how to do it. And the post was just basically some very nice designed text breaking it down and making it easily readable. And there were a bunch of people in the comments that were really pushing back on the idea that any of this was actually safe and that you should not follow what the CDC says, and you should be more cautious. And of course, everyone should make their own decisions. But I feel like telling people that when we have all this data about what the vaccines do and their efficacy, telling people to still stay at home and to not go hang out outdoors with other vaccinated people or to even not go have an indoor hangout with one other household of vaccinated people. That to me is contributing to some unhelpful discourse around what's safe and what's not. And at a certain point, I feel like you cross the threshold where you sound like someone who's in QAanon or who's a COVID denier, you know? Because at a certain point it's like, how much do you want to trust all of the science and all of the experts and all of the studies? Of course, in the beginning, I think it was very hard to take calculated risks because we just did not have information. And now we have so much more information that, of course, if you put yourself around any human being, you have a chance of transmitting or getting COVID. Period. But if you're fully vaccinated and you're hanging out with other fully vaccinated people, can you take that calculated risk of hanging out with them when the alternative is to stay in lockdown? When I think that has, it is becoming a difficult thing for people to do psychologically.
Sally: I think the better decision is to go hang out with a vaccinated person. And I will say that in the beginning of all of this, I felt like there were a bunch of people who invented a group of people called scolds. And I was like, those people don't exist. They're just, you feel guilty about your bad behavior.
Sally: The way I feel now is that I do see, I don't take that back at all, but I do see kind of an increasingly... I don't know if it's a vocal group of people or if I'm just seeing them. I think that's another thing that's, we're all looking at the same thing on social media, but we're also kind of looking at all of our own things and seeing specific things maybe other people aren't seeing. I am seeing this increase in people who are really pushing back on what I think are some of the absolutely most cautious, safety-oriented behaviors you could possibly partake in right now. And it's like, if you don't want to do, if any individual doesn't feel comfortable doing that stuff, of course, they shouldn't. Because like you said, Rachel, people have a lot of trepidation and I think people have a lot of trauma and that's fine. But I think, you know, in the same way that telling people to just get out there and be cool with it isn't awesome, I feel like the other side of that is like, you should stay in because this is still really bad. I also think that isn't cool, you know?
Rachel: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I tend to agree. I think that everyone's just running to these extremes that are not particularly helpful, that don't do much for everyone's confidence in vaccines and for the sake of public health. And I think it's one thing to have conversations about your fears about going back out there on group chats, but when you're having them in public forums where other people can see it, it can contribute to a panic or make other people think that, "oh, no" -- I mean, we all do that, we read comments and we think "Oh, no, what if there's something to this thing that somebody is saying, I need to research this more," that's how things spread. And so I think that, you know, there is real damage that is done when any of these conversations are had in public. And so I think that, I don't know if anything can be done about it. It's just something I think that we're both observing that as these play out in public, after a year in which we really couldn't trust authorities on what they were telling us, and then that led to tragic consequences. We're in a really tough spot, public health wise, to make sure that people do trust the science and do feel safe. When people are lied to for a year, and it is so directly tied to governors wanting to open businesses and elected officials wanting the economy to stay up at a cost of human lives, it's really difficult to be like, yeah, now we can trust people. And so it's this kind of damage of public health messaging and having to do our own work... I think that damage is going to last for a really long time. And it's really unfortunate to see.
Sally: Yeah. I totally agree. And I think that probably other people... I always wonder how much what we're experiencing because we're in media and we're on Twitter reflects how people are really thinking and feeling. But I think that a great thing to do is to, like you said, have these conversations with your group chat and your friends and try to figure out, "Hey, what are you going to be doing? What do you feel safe doing? Have you seen this data? What do you think of it?" And also, I mean, let me be clear that I think what's fucked up is when people with huge platforms who are influencers in one way or another are tweeting these really extreme takes. That's really the thing that is not just irresponsible, but it's also sowing discord for no reason. No one needs a take about how the real pandemic is people who want lockdown to continue, because no one feels that way.
Rachel: No, I think that's completely correct. And I think that's what I think frustrates both of us the most, is when you see people with these big platforms and a blue check just saying shit, and it doesn't have to be backed up, it doesn't have to be rooted in anything real. They just say shit. And it's really sort of disheartening to watch.
Sally: Yeah, totally. And that brings me right back to being Twitter free and loving it.
Rachel: Well, I'm happy for you. I'm... not mostly Twitter free, but I'm Twitter-lite and I've been increasingly so, so I'm hoping that I can get through this week without seeing much more of this discourse -- or any discourse, because who's it helping?
Sally: Yeah. You're so good at being Twitter-lite in general. I am so envious of you. I need more hobbies, is part of it.
Rachel: Okay. So now that we've spent some time talking about what is happening online and in the imaginary space, let's talk about what's happening in the real world or as we move toward the real world, and those kinds of relationships. Because I think that one thing that people are thinking about is seeing friends who perhaps they need to have a friend breakup with or who they've been putting off seeing, there's somebody who they had at some point in the past year looked at what this person was doing or posting or how they were behaving and thought, "Oof, I don't know that I want to be friends with this person anymore," but didn't have to really do anything about it at the moment, because it was like, "Oh, it's a pandemic, I can't see you anyway." And so they've sort of pushed these things down the line and now it's time. Have you noticed any of that? What are your thoughts on people who are realizing, oh shit, I have to see these people again, what do I do?
Sally: Yeah, I've totally noticed that. I was actually getting my hair cut for the first time in over a year, and I was talking about this with the person who cuts my hair, who has had actually a handful of friend breakups. I think the pandemic was very -- actually, not just the pandemic. I think the last year was very clarifying for her in terms of where her friends stood, both in terms of how one should behave during a pandemic and also how white people should respond to white supremacy. And I think she's kind of going into this summer with fewer friends, but much happier for it.
Sally: You know, just feeling so much better about having shed these people that she kind of slowly realized were terrible. And then, I've had a couple of courageous conversations throughout this last year with people when we've had really obviously different approaches [laughs] to pandemic safety. And those are uncomfortable. I don't know that I have any actual friend breakups on the horizon, but I think it's kind of a question of, now there's an awkward thing between us. How are we going to deal with it?
Rachel: Right. Or maybe it's like, one person feels there's an awkward thing between us and the other person doesn't even know that you've had a year to think about this and have the imaginary fight in your head this whole time, and the other person had no idea. And now it's like, okay, do I want to take this out of my head into the real world? Do I just want to ghost them? Do I want to blow them off? How do I want to handle this? Or do I want to forgive and forget and move on? Which I'm actually kind of personally curious if that's how a lot of people are going to handle this. I think that ending relationships or friendships is really difficult, particularly if you run in the same circles or you have a lot of friends in common and it's where your family members are, in-laws and things like that. It's really hard to get out of those bonds and there's so much pressure to keep them going for the sake of group harmony. And so my question heading into this summer is, are people going to just sort of let themselves ease back into these things because it's the path of least resistance, or are they going to stay true to how they were feeling last summer? Are they going to continue to challenge white supremacy and call out bad behavior, or are they just kind of going to get along while secretly thinking bad things about the person and resenting the person? I don't know, but that's kind of what I'm curious about, what I'm keeping an eye on as we head into summer.
Sally: Yeah, totally. I was going to say may I suggest a third path, which is to maintain the friendship but just secretly think worse of them for the rest of your life. [Laughs]
Rachel: [Laughs] I think that's what a lot of people are going to do.
Sally: That's one option. Yeah. I mean, I was actually just realizing as you were talking that I actually have a friendship that I would have to have a real courageous conversation, if the person didn't unfriend me and block me and block my phone number. We got into a little bit of a tiff about, I guess, kind of about Trump and politics and stuff like that, but just kind of tied into the year that has happened. And I feel like perhaps that... sometimes that's just for the best. I think, you know, sometimes you hit a wall with a friendship and you're no longer compatible. And I think there is a best case scenario of, you talk to a person and you say, "Here's what I think about what your behavior has been, I feel it's been immoral," and then they come back to you and they say something that makes you feel like they're actually not as bad of a person as you assumed, and you work on seeing each other's sides and you move on with the friendship. But I think other times, if you have friends who have been truly terrible in one way or another, it may be great to just let go of that friendship and make room for... I mean, I know that I've gotten a lot closer with certain people this year because we've kind of bonded over what has been going on, just in general, with everything. And that's felt really nice. And I definitely want those friendships to take up more room in my life than... I don't think I have anyone in my life who's acted in an abjectly terrible way, but I definitely have... there's some courageous conversations that I've had, and have to be had. And we'll see kind of what comes of those, you know?
Rachel: Yeah. I mean, I think my default is I always feel like it's better to do the work and to have the conversations and to make space in your life for the people who share your values and who you really want to deepen your relationships with, but it's also not easy to do. And I don't blame anyone for trying to make things work or trying to ignore this stuff. But I also think that the stuff from the past year, I think the whole thing about the past year was these things were getting too loud to ignore. And so my feeling/question is, knowing what we know now about some of our friends and their values, will it be possible to unsee? Or will you just start to see it in all these other areas of life? Will this have just been so clarifying that it's like, oh, I actually can't move on because in everything that they talk about in many ways, it will go back to politics, will go back to certain core beliefs and values. And I'm wondering if people who choose the go along and get along path will find that it's actually harder to do than it might've been a few years ago, because there were certain things about the past year that I think really made it difficult for a lot of people, newly, to unsee and unhear certain types of behavior.
Sally: Yeah, absolutely. And I think there were things that really do rise to the level of friendship ending, where it's not just like, let's agree to disagree, you know? It's, uh, I think you're causing harm in one way or another. And unless I have the energy to talk you out of being a vector of harm and you actually change, let's just end this right here. I feel grateful for anyone who is a friend of mine who has hidden their unsafe pandemic behavior from me [laughs]. Which, you know, I represent the most, I think, extreme end of pandemic caution.
Rachel: Right. Same.
Sally: And, you know, I don't think that anyone who isn't behaving exactly like me is causing the pandemic to keep going.
Sally: I think there were plenty of behaviors that were less cautious than what I was doing that were also totally safe to do, that I didn't do because I didn't feel comfortable, and I was feeling too anxious and too neurotic and so on. I have friends who have done those things and have been like, "I didn't want to tell you I did this because I was worried that you would never see me the same way again." And we had a really good conversation where I got to talk about my approach to this and how it doesn't have to be your approach. And just because I sound really strident and judgmental, it doesn't mean that I can't see nuance. You know, having said that, these are not people who were having indoor hangs, you know?
Rachel: Right. Going to weddings, that kind of thing.
Sally: Yeah, exactly. So I think that if you do have those relationships where people acted in a way that was different than you, they were calibrated different, but on balance weren't causing a huge amount of harm -- or, not a huge amount. Weren't causing harm. I think that's actually a really good place to... I think that can lend itself to a really good, interesting, fruitful conversation with a friend about these differences and how we approach them and deal with them. And that to me is also kind of the exact opposite of what we were talking about earlier. It's like the conversations online where there's no nuance, there's no generosity, there's no impetus to make room for someone else's thoughts and fears and neuroses. It's just only about this black and white thing. I think if you can have one of those conversations, it can be awesome. Or, you know, it can be hellish because having those conversations requires a vulnerability that sort of makes me want to crawl into a hole and never come out.
Rachel: [Laughs] Right. I Agree. Well, I think that's a good segue into some more positive things. So I thought we could maybe share some things that we're excited to do once we're -- I mean, you're fully vaccinated, I'm almost there. I thought it'd be fun to share some things that we're looking forward to for the spring and summer out in the world.
Sally: I'm so excited to do this.
Rachel: Okay. You want to kick it off? What's the first thing that you're just really pumped to do? Or even if you've already done it, was it great?
Sally: Okay. So two things that I'm most excited about. One, tabletop gaming in real life. Being in someone's home, sitting around their table, having snacks and drinks and, you know, gaming. I cannot fucking wait for that. The other big thing is just being in friends' homes. Ever since we moved to Philly where people have more room than we all had in New York, we don't go out a huge amount, but we hang out in people's homes and in our home a lot. Every time there was a holiday weekend, we would get together with friends of ours, another couple. And we would go to their place or they would come here and we would hang out and make dinner and have drinks and they would stay over or we would stay over there. I am dying to do that. All of the people who have been tweeting this whole year about how they really miss going to parties or going dancing or going out, like concerts. None of those things have I looked at those tweets and been like, "Man, I relate, I cannot wait to go to a concert again." But the thing that I am... and I think for a long time also, I couldn't really imagine the pandemic ending, so I wasn't even really thinking about what I was so excited about. But now I am vibrating with excitement about just being indoors with friends.
Sally: What about you, Rachel?
Rachel: Well, the first thing that I'm excited to do, which will come as a surprise to no one, is get my hair done. I think that my hairdresser is going to be the first person that my girlfriend and I see after a year inside, which is fitting, but also sort of just... I don't know. It's just, I don't think that's going to be most people's experience, but that's where I am. So I booked that appointment. I'm very, very, very excited about that. And my feeling is I want to get my hair done before I do everything else, because I want to feel good going back into the world. So that's the thing I'm very, very excited about. As I mentioned before, we've got a bunch of chores on our list to take care of. So we've already started making the appointments for our shades to finally be hung in the bedroom, just little things like that, getting our kitchen sink fixed, all those little things. But the things that I'm truly excited about are getting to be out in our neighborhood and just, you know, I live in a neighborhood where there's a lot of bars, there's been a ton of outdoor dining, there's lots of coffee shops, there's lots of actual shopping and bookstores and all of these little things to just, you bop around, you pop into a store, you get a cookie, walk to the water. It's just such a great neighborhood, and I'm really excited to be able to do that. Not just walking on the sidewalk, but going into the stores, getting the cookie, taking it down to the water and eating it right there. I think that'll be really great. A couple of weeks ago we were taking a walk and it was a really nice weekend, and the outdoor dining was really, really full. And we walked by lots of people outside having drinks, and I just caught the smell of beer and limes and I was like, "Oh my God. Wow. Remember that? Remember sitting outside and having a drink on a beautiful day with friends?" So I'm looking forward to that. I'm looking forward to seeing friends. I think like you, I haven't been doing anything, and so it's been hard to imagine. And I think that was the right choice for me because I found it was easier, I felt better not doing those things, I think having dipped a toe in it would've made it harder to then not have them or to do a version of them would have felt worse than doing the thing fully. Because I think it would have been so apparent that this isn't the thing we wish we were doing. So as a result, I feel like I've sort of made peace with not seeing people for so long that it's not the first thing that comes to mind, because I've trained myself not to think about it. But I also know that last year in probably April, my coworker came to our window because my mom had made some fabric masks and so I wanted to give her one for her and one for her boyfriend, this is when masks were impossible to get. So she came to our window fully masked up and the window is, you know, six or eight feet off the sidewalk. So we could drop the thing, through the little slit down to her. And she was the first person I had seen, and was so masked, and it was just so emotional to see a face you knew even with a mask on, but also with the mask on made me feel really sad. So I'm really, again, because I have been trying not to think about this stuff too much over the past year, it's not like oh, I'm so desperately missing that. But also I had that one taste and I'm like, oh, I know I'm going to feel so good and so emotional when I finally see my friends' faces in person again, not through a screen, that it's going to be really, really special. So can't wait for that. And then I'm also just excited to go to the beach with people and have a really gay beach summer. We have a car, we have a gay beach within driving distance, and I'm just pumped to go and be out with queer people on the beach this summer.
Sally: That sounds amazing. Yeah. That sounds really good. I actually, so, truly the first person I saw outside of my household also was my stylist getting my hair cut. I was telling her, I haven't been to the dentist in a really long time and it's extremely important. But that can happen when it happens, the hair is the most important thing. But that appointment, getting my hair cut and chatting with this person who I really love, she's really great. And I hadn't seen her in over a year. We had this amazing conversation where I think, you know, the other thing about seeing your friends for the first time and so long in real life is that there's just a lot to process and a lot to talk about, and you haven't really been doing that in the same way. And so it is emotional and it feels really good. And I left that appointment feeling like, wow, I really just got what I needed from that interaction. Whereas, you know, normally when things were as they used to be before the pandemic, you would go, you would get your hair cut and you would chat with that person, and you would chat with a barista, and you would chat with your neighbor, and that was fine. But now those experiences are some of our only social interactions if you're vaccinated and you're out doing stuff. I felt like it was one of the most moving and wonderful social interactions I've had in recent memory. And that was just the person that was cutting my hair, you know what I mean?
Sally: You know, so I feel like all of the little things are going to feel big and the big things are going to feel... Like, I'm going to see a friend of mine in two weeks. She will be fully vaccinated and we're going to meet up in a town that is halfway between both of us, and we're just going to walk around and hang out. I'm going to dissolve. I'm going to collapse in tears. That's going to be our entire hangout is me just sobbing.
Rachel: Yeah. My girlfriend and I have been talking about, it's based on a tweet from a month or so ago, but we've been talking about one drop of Sprite. One drop of Sprite is going to be the thing that going back into the world is going to destroy us, just the lightest smallest thing. And we've been saying what's going to be our one drop of Sprite that's going to just feel wild. There's also a JP Brammer tweet, he said something like, when I go back to the world it's going to be like giving a medieval peasant an iPad. You would just leave your body. And so I've been thinking about those two tweets a lot. And even hearing you talk about this, I feel emotional just thinking about it. And so I think that's a big reason why I'm like, I'm not going to go too hard right away. I'm going to have a long appointment with my stylist who I haven't seen in a year. I need a week between that and when I see another person who I care for deeply, because I'm just going to be so overwhelmed, I think, and so emotional and so excited, but it's going to be a lot. So I'm trying to emotionally prepare myself now and give myself space to have that reaction until maybe... I don't know. I'm really curious to hear once you do see your friend, how it feels to see another person, because I want to know from vaccinated people how it feels to go back into the world and is it normal? And does everything come back quickly or is it, you're just completely... you know, what's your experience like?
Sally: First of all, let me just say that it'll be really interesting to compare notes because I think this is a good study in how we're different. Because you're like, I'm going to go slow and stuff like that. And I'm like, I'm going to overwhelm. I'm just going to cry. I'm going to see everyone and I'm going to flood myself with emotions, and then I'm going to spend two weeks in recovery. So we can totally compare notes about that. So far, I've done a couple of things. So I got my hair cut. You know, going to the grocery store as a fully vaccinated person feels weirdly normal. It's this weird thing where in some ways it feels so normal because there is a thing I did every single week of my life for years and years and years. I took one year off of it. So now I'm back at it and it feels how it always did, but it's also like everything else in the pandemic where it's also incredibly dystopian. You look around and everyone's wearing masks. And I went to grab a plastic bag for produce at the same time that this elderly man did, and I noticed that he was wearing gloves, and it just made me think about how different his experiences going to the gro-- And I was like, oh, this isn't normal.
Sally: You know, and then getting my hair cut, it felt really good because it was just me and one other person in the room. We were both double masked, they had an air purifier going, I felt good about it, but you also can't not think about -- or at least I can't not think about, wow, I'm inside with a person who's not my partner. And you know, I'm vaccinated so that is safe. But also it doesn't feel safe to be inside with someone who's not my partner. It just doesn't feel like it's safe. Which I think goes back to what we were saying before where, you know, we've been living this way for a year, it's hard to just snap out of it. And then the other thing is I've gone into a couple of stores. There's a plant store near us that has that kind of garden center thing where it's in a garage, and so it's not open air, but it's open air-esque, and it just feels a little bit more ventilated and stuff. So I did that. And you know, it's weird. It's like, yeah, I'm browsing in a store. I've spent my whole life browsing in stores. This feels normal, but also, there's hand sanitizer everywhere, and everyone's wearing a mask, and you don't want to look at -- you don't want to browse the same item as someone else because you don't want to stand next to them. You know? So for me, it's been a weird combination of everything comes back to you instantly, and then also you get sort of yanked out of that feeling of familiarity by something that reminds you of the pandemic.
Rachel: Yeah. That sounds right. Well, I am excited to experience that for myself soon.
Sally: Yeah. I definitely want to hear how it goes for you. And I also want to hear all the e first things you do and how it is. I want a full report on that walk to the water with a cookie and stuff that. [Laughs]
Rachel: Definitely. Even though that is a really nice thing to end on, should we officially share a couple of nice things to end on?
Sally: Yes, we absolutely should. Rachel, what is your nice thing to end on?
Rachel: My nice thing to end on is The Nanny, the 90s sitcom, which is now on HBO Max. I had never seen it before when it was actually on, I'd never seen it in syndication. So I am working my way through it from the beginning, as a brand new viewer. It's great. I know a lot of people already know this, but it's so delightful. It's so mellow. I was thinking about it after watching, I think we've probably watched 15 episodes now, and it's like... a lot of sitcoms, the plots and the comedy is based on hijinks where somebody has gotten themselves into trouble and it's often rooted in these people being kind of chaotic. So even if you've got a comic genius like Lucille ball, it's also like, Lucy, it doesn't have to be this way. You never learn your lesson. [Laughs] And I've noticed that there's a real absence of that on The Nanny. It happens from time to time, but this is not a show about Fran, a chaos person, constantly getting herself into messes. The conflict feels so much lower stakes and mellower than that. And it's a lot of nice people just having little problems, and I just find it so soothing. There's something about it that makes me feel like I'm watching a stage play. I think it's the way the sets are designed and the costumes, but also sort of the jokes and the humor. It's like watching theater actors perform, and I'm just loving it. And I want to encourage anyone who's never seen it before to check it out.
Sally: That sounds awesome. I've never seen The Nanny.
Sally: Yeah. And so now I feel totally ready to. I've been seeing people talking about it a little bit. Maybe it's because now it's on HBO Max.
Rachel: Yeah, it just came to HBO Max very recently.
Sally: Okay. I'm really excited, because I am forever looking for chill TV comedies to just kind of zone out to. So I'll totally check that out.
Rachel: Cool. All right, Sally, what is your nice thing to end on?
Sally: So my nice thing to end on comes to you and me and all of us from my Instagram feed. I got a suggested, sponsored, what have you, ad thing for the art of this photographer, whose name is Todd Hido. And we'll link to this in the show notes. He has this book called House Hunting, and it's these really beautiful portraits of homes in suburban places. And there's a description I'll read, because it does a really good job of explaining what the vibe is: "Todd Hido’s large color photographs of suburbia are lonely, forlorn, mysterious... and strangely comforting. Hido photographs the interior rooms of repossessed tract homes, and the outsides of similar houses at night whose habitation is suggested by the glow of a television set or unseen overhead bulb. Seldom does the similar evoke such melancholy. Yet rather than passing judgment on his anonymous subjects, Hido manages to turn the banal into something beautiful, imbuing his prints of interiors with soft pastels, and allowing the exteriors to glow in the cool evening air." I wasn't going to read that whole thing, but it was also beautiful and evocative that I decided to. Anyway, so I got an ad on Instagram for some gallery where you can buy his artwork. It's so expensive. I don't know why Instagram thinks I'm the kind of person who can afford to buy art. So I'm not going to. However, I am going to get this hard cover book of his work called House Hunting. And I just wanted to share it because it's really lovely, and as that description indicates, it's kind of melancholy and a little haunted, but also really kind of beautiful and mysterious at the same time. And it makes me feel really calm. And that was the nice thing I wanted to end on. So we'll put a link to that in the show notes and you can check out the book, the hardcover book, or if you are the kind of person who can afford to buy art, you can just go bananas and get some really nice art to hang in your mansion.
Rachel: Yeah. I want that for somebody listening to this.
Sally: Yeah. Thanks for listening to this episode of Oh I Like That. Please rate us and review us. It really helps us leave a review of the show.
Rachel: You can also follow us on Twitter @ohilikethatpod or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow the two of us. I'm @the_rewm and Sally is @sallyt.
Sally: Oh I Like That is produced by Rachel and Sally and edited by Lucas. Amber Seger, who is @rocketorca on social media designed our logo.