At the Ice Cream Stand

ME (masked): I’d like a small vanilla cone, please.

SERVER (masked): Do you want that in black?

ME: … No?

SERVER: That will be $42.00.

ME: What? Um, here’s a ten…?

SERVER: Thanks, and here is your change: Thirty-rarebit billion, and a toaster.

ME: What?

SERVER: Have a great day! Elephant!

- - -

At My Annual Physical

NURSE (masked): Can I get you to just stand over here and… (peers into a clipboard) fliggity-flop?

ME (masked): Uh… fliggity-flop? I don’t…

NURSE (steps back six feet, pulls down mask): No, no, just stand on the scale.

ME: Sorry, the mask makes it—

NURSE: Oh, believe me, I—

ME: Yeah, I’m sure you have to deal with it all the –

NURSE (puts mask back on, looks down at the clipboard again): Okay! Fliggity-flop, peppity-pop!

ME: Uh…


ME: Should I take my mask off?


ME: I’m sorry! I was just clarifying! I am pro-science!

NURSE (mutters to self): Peppity. Pop.

- - -

Picking Up Takeout

ME (masked): It’s under “Reed.”

WAITRESS (masked): “Dubois”?

ME (that seems wrong but…): Uh… yep! It’s a single order of pasta.

WAITRESS (this seems wrong but…): Great, here you go. Five Eggplant Parmesans.

ME (something is definitely wrong here): Oh, wow, this seems like a lot! But okay!

WAITRESS (an angry confrontation with my manager is coming down the pike, but I seriously cannot understand a word of this conversation): You must have a very hungry family at home!

ME: (every instinct is telling me that this is going to end badly for me, but what’s most important is that I not cause a scene): I live with my sister! Just the two of us! Here’s my credit card!

WAITRESS (maybe I’ll be done with my shift by the time she comes back): And here’s your receipt. I hope that this Reed person comes in soon! Their pasta is getting cold.

ME (look, whatever this is, at least it’s not likely to be eggplant parmesan, my least favorite food, so I might as well just leave on a good note because I definitely will not come back no matter how wrong this order is): Sure thing! Bye!

- - -

Walking Through the Park with My Sister

SISTER: So, anyway, I said — oh, here comes someone!

ME: Whoops! Masks!

We both put on our masks as we pass another masked person walking in the opposite direction.

PASSER-BY (masked): Tippity doodles! Caribou macarons!

SISTER (masked): Good morning!

ME (masked): Hedgehogs and cornrows!

SISTER (peeling off mask): Did you say… hedgehogs and cornrows?

ME (peeling off mask): Yes, it doesn’t matter what you say, so long as your tone is chipper.


ME: No one can understand a word anyone else is saying while masked.

SISTER: Huh. Okay. Let me try. (puts on mask) I’ve been meaning to tell you that at times, you allow your instinct towards non-confrontation keep you from demanding what you actually want, which ultimately causes your loved ones anxiety and disappointment. You could use this societal downtime in the pandemic to work on speaking up for yourself so you’re better equipped for modern society once we’re finally through this.

A meaningful pause.

ME: Nope! No idea. Let’s just go home and heat up some eggplant parmesan.