Last week my wife said, “Remember when we used to go to the movies?” It really hasn't been that long ago, but it sounded like one of those horse and buggy chats from the olden days. “Movin' pictures? Like in one of them there aero-condition thee-a-ters?”
Besides, we still watch movies. We just do it in the comfort of our home. I simulate the theater experience by spilling popcorn, Milk Duds and Pepsi when the movie begins. By the time the credits roll, the floor is disgusting and sticky. I even pretend I'm waiting in line in my own bathroom, just to make it authentic.
There are so many questions and phrases that have disappeared from our vocabulary since 2020 B.C. (before coronavirus).
For instance, “I'm tired of cooking. Where can we go and sit down for dinner tonight?” Plus, “Let's go see what Golden Corral has on the buffet!” Who wouldn't want to hear a waitress ask, “May I start you off with some appetizers?” And I know someone out there longs to hear those two little words: “Last Call!” All seem like relics of a bygone era.
When's the last time someone yelled, “Hurry up y'all, we're gonna be late for church!” Or even, “What are you wearing to church in the morning?” Sure, we have been attending church online, but it's not the same. We don't hear anyone say, “Please come to the center aisle for communion,” or “We ask you to give from the heart as we pass around the plate.”
Still, many of us are relieved that no one knows if we're late for the online service. That, plus the guilty pleasure of being “in church” while sipping coffee in your pajamas.
Here's a quaint old question: “What are you doing this weekend?” Who has plans any more? Has anyone invited you to browse through items at an estate sale? Has a friend said, “Get your shopping clothes on, TJ's is having a sale!” Followed by, “We'd better get started early, to beat the traffic!”
I long for the days when someone would tell me, “You better run by the gas station and fill up. The price of gas is down again!” Instead, I look at my fuel gauge, and the needle hasn't budged from “full” since March. All that cheap gas, and I'm sitting here with nowhere to go. It seems like a cruel joke.
I can't remember the last time someone asked me, “Hey, where are you going?” Nor has anyone said, “Welcome home!” Those conversations just don't happen when your daily journey ends at the mailbox.
I wish someone could say, “Hey David, I've got tickets to the game. Want to skip work and go?” I really miss that. Each day, my wife and I stare at each other as if to say, “What time do the Braves come on?” I used to complain about searching for Braves games on Fox Sports South, or Fox Sports Southeast, or Fox Sports One, or YouTube, or the microwave oven screen. I would eventually track them down, and that's a problem I would love to have today.
There are so many words going unspoken. “Which field are we playing on tonight?” “Kids, pack a bag, we're going to visit your grandparents!” “What time does our flight leave?” “How many days until we go to the beach?” “Can my friends sleep over tonight?” Or, “This cruise is really affordable. Let's book it!”
How many Moms have wanted to say, “Honey, take the kids to the McDonalds indoor playground, so I can clean the house.”
Those same Moms (and some Dads too) would love to hear someone say, “Do you want me to wash your hair before I cut it?”
For the time being, this is a question that will not be asked. “My nose won't stop running. Can I borrow your hanky?”
In the pandemic era, I can't imagine anyone standing in the supermarket aisle saying, “Do I want this super soft toilet paper, or the ultra strong? I just can't make up my mind.”
If our dogs could talk, I'll bet one would say to the other, “When are they getting out of here, so we can have some quiet time?”
It's hard to believe, but three months ago, we would stare into a stuffed closet and say, “I don't know what I'm going to wear today.” Now it's more like, “How many days have I worn these sweat pants? Just five? They still smell okay, don't they?”
Of all the forgotten phrases, there are two I miss most of all. I long for the days of “Let's seal it with a handshake,” and I fear that may never return.
And I look forward to the day when someone says, “Let me give you a hug.” That will be worth the wait.
(David Carroll, a Chattanooga news anchor, is the author of “Volunteer Bama Dawg,” available on his website, ChattanoogaRadioTV.com. You may contact him at email@example.com, or 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405)