Personal habits will have to adapt post-pandemic

February 21, 2021

Once some of the restrictions relating to the pandemic have been eased, certain habits we’ve developed during our quarantine are going to have to change, too. Certainly, our appearance is right up there. Our wardrobe can no longer just consist of bathrobe and pajamas. Yes, we actually are going to have to find some real clothes; either that or hang out at the nearest airport, where that kind of dress is more appropriate.

Makeup will be more than ... I know, what makeup, right?  It goes without saying that a descaling process should be used to get rid of the mountains of dry skin accumulating under that housecoat. Anyway, we will no longer be able to get away with shoe polish to cover up those gray roots sprouting from our head. In other words, the new normal for our appearance will actually be an appearance.

And it’s not just our appearance that will take a hit. Some changes will be welcome. It seems like our obsession with toilet paper has begun to recede. I’ve been like a drug addict, cruising the streets at night, looking for just one-ply, even though I have a stockpile at home. It’s never enough. I’m always offered all kinds of boosters by drug dealers, which I turn down until I find the mother lode; it’s an eight-pack, two-ply shipment that just came in from Mexico. I know I will need help.

And I always carried a large purse stuffed with wipes, masks and sanitary gloves. This doesn’t look suspicious, so I may be able to keep this item. Women of my generation love oversized, enormous, “can’t find anything that has sunk to the bottom” purses. This habit has been handed down to us. Our mothers never left home without a copy of the deed to the house, insurance papers, photos of cousins from the Civil War era and enough cash to buy another house should the occasion arise. Somehow it all fit in there.

Need a copy of your birth certificate? They could instantly produce it. Marriage licenses, electrical bills, medical records, they had it all. It was comforting to see that housecoated figure lumbering down the street with a satchel the size of an aircraft carrier slung over her shoulder.

Now, there are some young women who carry large purses, but they are people like celebrities or Tom Brady’s wife. All of them are ridiculously handsome/beautiful and would look good in a black Hefty bag. From what I can gather, the large purse has become a sign of aging, though.

I don’t know what you do with the small purses of today. It might just be that you have a dollar to your name along with the telephone number of your parents, should you find yourself in a position where you actually have to pay for something. Or it might be that it is a political statement, where you consider yourself an independent who orders only Pinot Noir wine to go with a vegan lasagna, but could easily be talked into a Pinot Grigio if it was swordfish instead. 

It’s obvious to me a large purse has certain advantages. For instance, you don’t have to worry about a thief snatching it. The purse weights about as much as a professional tackle in football. It doubles as a weapon; one blow is enough to make someone look like they went 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. The large purse doesn’t suggest age to me. Simply put, it translates that I’ve been to the rodeo before, so don’t even think about it. 

So, you can see we’ve got some new habits to break and a couple to keep. But we are a nation that adjusts. And maybe you could also fit a roll of toilet paper in that purse. Stay safe.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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