As promised, today I went grocery shopping wearing a mask for the first time. Public service announcement: if you wear glasses you have to pull the mask pretty far up your nose to prevent the glasses from getting completely steamed up. This means it’s almost in your eyes.
As planned I totally smiled at everyone as usual and found the whole thing to be awkward and kind of sad. Maybe the people were smiling back but they certainly didn’t have smile eyes so I don’t know. Basically it was a dismal as I had suspected.
My morning walk on the other hand was quite the opposite. Because no one is required to wear a mask outdoors (only in closed spaces) people smile more easily these days. Especially people with dogs who aren’t on leashes. I mentioned this yesterday but I also wrote a post about this years ago when I was first getting acquainted with Franconian Friendliness. (It should give a bit of insight into what I’ve gotten used to.)
This morning I passed an older gentleman and his dog in the woods. We nodded and said a quick Morgen and walked on. Although he didn’t walk quickly, he had calm intention in his stride. The dog wandered a bit but he kept the pace for them both. A while later I realized I was running late. In fact I had about five minutes before I had promised to be home and a good 20 minutes to go. I looked at my options and decided that I just needed to run home.
I wish I could say that feeling pressured gave me some kind of super power to run the 1.5 miles. Having no idea about running I decided to create a pace and to breath rhythmically and just run until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I tried to pretend that I was actually running from something to keep me going. But I was just so glad that I wasn’t actually being chased that it didn’t work. So I had no choice but to take a few breaks and walk a bit.
During one of the breaks I came upon the same man and his dog again. He looked at me as I neared but didn’t nod this time. I thought maybe this was another Franconian rule: you don’t need to say good morning twice…But once I started to pass him, he said quietly, I think we’ve seen each other already today. Yes, it’s true, I responded smiling. But you made it so fast, he replied.
I nodded and confirmed but didn’t have time to explain my rush. I liked how he waited until I was close by so that he didn’t have to shout. More that I could understand him and have the back and forth of a native speaker for a few seconds. This was a milestone and frankly so was the run. I probably haven’t run so far since I was a kid.
In other news: today we celebrate the one year anniversary of our move from an apartment to a house. I was skeptical about moving at first. But I’m thanking my lucky stars that we made the leap before the world turned upside down and made our home our quarantine.