Metatalktail Hour: Minor Missings March 14, 2021 11:02 AM   Subscribe

Happy groggy Sunday for those of you experiencing Daylight Savings Time. I was realizing as we hit the one year anniversary of these Pandamnit Times that I miss some weird things. Like there are the BIG things like hugs, theater movies, and indoor time with friends and family, but there are also the small, dumb things like that weird overly cooked french fry at the bottom of the fries, or cleaning the tiny drops of pee that hit the rim of the toilet bowl if I have standing-pee-ers visiting, or the way you have to decide how to pass people in an airplane or music hall aisle.

I've seen people talking about this on social media but not as much here. What's a thing you find yourself almost unexpectedly, maybe stupidly, missing? As always this is a conversation starter not limiter, so feel free to chirp about anything but politics.
posted by jessamyn (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 11:02 AM (89 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Apologizing for being late to everything.
posted by michaelh at 11:09 AM on March 14, 2021 [4 favorites]

Brief glimpses into the lives of strangers on the bus.

In-terminal airport museum displays.

Having a prop - an empty glass or a soiled plate - to wave about as an excuse to end small talk.

Eating food that I don't recognize.
posted by eotvos at 11:29 AM on March 14, 2021 [5 favorites]

People on walks petting my (excessively friendly) dog and sometimes letting him lick face.

Dressing up to go out and party.

Having an excuse to buy roses or other expensive flowers because I'm having company.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 11:39 AM on March 14, 2021 [6 favorites]

That random thing I’d buy at Home Goods because it was only a few bucks. Aloe infused socks, unicorn cotton candy, a yak dog chew...

Opening the fridge and finding that the dinner guests from the previous night hadn’t taken with them the half pie we didn’t eat and now I have half a pie.

Texting my partner throughout the day the folk sayings I suspect my boss is making up on the fly to make meetings more interesting.
posted by lepus at 11:54 AM on March 14, 2021 [3 favorites]

I managed to forget about the NCAA basketball tournaments (and the MeFi bracket contests) when I wrote my fantasy baseball MeTa. This despite being casually aware of all of my preferred teams getting eliminated from possible contention over the course of the last few days. This is what we get for not having it last year.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:54 AM on March 14, 2021

posted by iamkimiam at 11:57 AM on March 14, 2021

I miss Target to a stupid degree. Target! It's a little sad that the thing I yearn for is wandering around a big box store. I also miss going to speciality grocery stores to buy one ingredient.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:09 PM on March 14, 2021 [9 favorites]

The five second rule! I will never eat anything off the floor again.
posted by coevals at 12:56 PM on March 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

I miss going out to eat, and being able to try on clothes at the store before buying, and flitting away on spontaneous weekend junkets to stay in cheap motels and eat diner food.
posted by scratch at 1:10 PM on March 14, 2021 [4 favorites]

Riding the bus! Who’d’ve thought riding the bus was going to feel like some kind of luxury?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:20 PM on March 14, 2021 [10 favorites]

Yeah I miss the howl of the subway, browsing at the library, seeing a new thing on the menu or at the dented can store, making big helpings of food for potlucks, and even parallel parking!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:26 PM on March 14, 2021 [3 favorites]

Walking from the bus to the train in the dark on mornings when it's too cold and icy to bike to work. Getting off the train at the extremely boisterous and sometimes a bit dodgy Lake Street stop and hurrying down the stairs so I don't hold up all the hurrying people behind me. The way an empty bus looks like a box of light coming toward you on a cold night in the dark.

The difficult crossing with the bad lights in the industrial district where my barber works.

The cashier who told me that I looked like a particular television star and added that he wasn't particularly good-looking so I shouldn't be surprised when I looked him up.

The convenience store on the corner. I haven't been to the convenience store since the end of February 2020.

Getting a box of See's candy at the airport twice a year. Airport bagels with cream cheese and lox - I'd be the last to say that these were a high quality gourmet experience, but I did enjoy them for what they were.

There's so much I haven't even seen since the riots. Half my nearby commercial street was burned and is basically never coming back, so I don't even know what I'm going to find if/when I can go out again.
posted by Frowner at 1:27 PM on March 14, 2021 [10 favorites]

posted by firstdrop at 1:37 PM on March 14, 2021 [15 favorites]

I don't miss nothing. The human world... is a mess. Life under the sea is better than anything they have up there.
posted by bleep at 2:32 PM on March 14, 2021 [11 favorites]

Movie theater popcorn. I get gourmet flavored popcorn from the local shop and the major supermarket brands, but nothing replaces that “popped fresh and topped with butter-flavored oil” variety.
posted by erloteiel at 2:41 PM on March 14, 2021 [4 favorites]

(Yes, I could pop my own but that’s more work than walking up to a counter and handing over money.)
posted by erloteiel at 2:44 PM on March 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

Seconding bus riding, and the grocery store trip for just one item, and library browsing (I would not have made it through this year without ebooks, but there's nothing like being able to scan down a whole shelf at a time, grabbing random things that look interesting and reading the jacket flaps). I miss wandering down streets full of small shops and randomly going in and out and looking at things for which I have no need whatsoever but are pretty or amusing. Good lord I miss FACES.

And I don't exactly *miss* it, but damn, my household environment has gone steadily to hell now that I now longer have anyone over ever and hence have no particular reason to keep the place picked up and clean. I am embarrassed to realize the extent to which I rely on the judgment of others to keep from sliding into chaos and filth.
posted by Kat Allison at 3:05 PM on March 14, 2021 [16 favorites]

The embrace of the natural world.
posted by dobbs at 3:35 PM on March 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

The other day I went into my archery range and was struck by the smell. It's not a bad smell, just distinctive: I think it's mostly warm glue from the arrow room. My first thought: "Why does it smell so strongly?" Second thought: "Oh crap, I forgot to put my mask on!"

It was reassuring to know that my masks work well enough that I hadn't smelled the range in a year. And also that the range still smells like it used to.

Smells. I miss smelling things that aren't in my house.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:46 PM on March 14, 2021 [6 favorites]

I miss being able to smile at people. I hardly see anyone and I'm masked when I do. I've realized that I depend on my smile as a way to connect and without it, it is much more difficult to be as charming as I'm used to being.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 3:59 PM on March 14, 2021 [9 favorites]

I miss daydreaming through the tedious aspects of life, for example going to the grocery or hardware store. These are two examples of places where I still need to interface with the public, and in the before times I would have my list of shit to get, but my mind was elsewhere. Often I'm thinking about things far more interesting than whether I can remember where the greek yogurt or drywall screws are.

The other day I was 5 steps from the entrance of the supermarket but had spaced out and forgot to put on my mask. This has rarely happened in the last year, and I felt a hot rush of panic as I turned around and headed back to the store, avoiding eye contact with others, less they think I'm an anti-masker or some shit.

I really don't need real life to feel like an anxiety dream.
posted by jeremias at 4:00 PM on March 14, 2021 [4 favorites]

Going to the grocery store/etc. because I want something other than what I have in the house. Wearing clothes that actually make me look nice. Putting on makeup for the joy of putting on makeup.

Mostly, just not having to plan everything out before doing it. Like, yeah, just going into Target to buy a random thing for the fun of it.

It's hard to say if I'll go back to doing those things after all of this but it's definitely just the freedom to do the tiny, easy pleasures.
posted by edencosmic at 4:05 PM on March 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

The always clean, always empty women's bathrooms at work. I work in a male dominated workplace, women are at best 15% of the total population. The women's bathroom was always almost empty, always clean and a safe hideaway from life. Now to have a clean bathroom during the day I have to clean it.

And all the doggos. Work was also very dog friendly. I'd guess 10% of the people at least brought a dog at least once in a while. I miss the dogs. Zoom doggos are not the same.
posted by cgg at 4:22 PM on March 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

The way my church smells. I had to stop in a few weeks ago to drop something off (no one was there at the time.) I sat alone in the darkened sanctuary for a while, just enjoying the familiar fragrance of incense and old wood in silence. In normal times there would be a single candle burning day and night to honor the presence of Christ, but that isn't being done right now for obvious reasons. So I missed seeing its small, comforting glow while I was there.

On a completely different note, I miss going to the build-your-own stir fry place. You can still get it delivered but the options are limited and they don't make it right. I would not have thought broccoli was so dear they couldn't give me more than a couple of bites in a bowl I paid $20 for, but they sure threw in forty-eleven pieces of water chestnuts which make me gassy.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:26 PM on March 14, 2021 [8 favorites]

Being able to get all my laundry done in one go. I never thought I would miss the laundromat.
posted by corey flood at 4:42 PM on March 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

Going to Persa Bío Bío with my son. It's a large area of South-Central Santiago, about 6×10 blocks, called 'el mall de los pobres' ("the poor people's mall"). There's large warehouses with semi-formal shops and stalls and blocks and blocks of flea-markets in the streets, selling all kinds of things: new furniture, antique furniture, new and second-hand clothes, camping gear, stolen stuff, old toys, etc., etc. There's also a lot of eateries, both traditionally chilean as well as lots of immigrant food, including some to the best and cheapest French, Korean, Japanese, Venezuelan, Colombian, etc. restaurants in the country. It's kind of a self-organizing foodie lab.
We used to take the subway there, switching lines, being out in the city, hanging out, checking out the video game stores (for him), which are messy and uneven, but have new and old games, old systems (gameboy, atari, etc), as well as used guitar gear (for me) and get some new and strange (to us) food.
Generally going out and doing something with him.
posted by signal at 5:27 PM on March 14, 2021 [10 favorites]

Just for a brief minute when I was looking at someone using a cool single-use gadget on a cooking video, I momentarily missed SkyMall catalogs. But what I have repeatedly found myself missing is warm chocolate chip cookies under glass on the counter when checking into a conference hotel.
posted by Stanczyk at 5:32 PM on March 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

I spent a while bafflingly nostalgic for parts of town I don’t even like. A particular mall, for goodness sake, where I had a dull retail job while it was shabby-respectable small stores and which I’ve loathed since it embraced the boom by going full brand name flagship expensive snob. And yet I spent a month yearning to go there whenever I made a turn with an angle like their old turnoff.

Fortunately this faded.
posted by clew at 6:04 PM on March 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

I miss smelling the air when I'm outside -- grass, clover, flowers, and trees. I miss shaking hands with people at church, which is the only human touch I get. I don't know if that will come back, but I know I'll be able to be outside without a mask someday.
posted by jgirl at 6:21 PM on March 14, 2021 [5 favorites]

Absolutely the oddest thing on my list is chocolate cake with a good chocolate icing (like, there's only me in this house, not baking a cake)

Speaking of baking, being able to bring things into the office

Reading in the local coffee shop while eating a toasted onion bagel with butter
posted by thomas j wise at 6:29 PM on March 14, 2021 [3 favorites]

I miss the beach but spring is coming. What I really miss? Skiing. I like to go skiing once a year, in late Feb-early March. Fiestycakes and I would take almost a week off and go down to NYC for a few days then up to Vermont for a few days so I could ski. We did not go last year cuz covid and did not go this year cuz covid and busy at work. I'll go next year. A full week just skiing. A full week in New York before that.

A two week vacation, a year from now. Groovy.
posted by vrakatar at 6:48 PM on March 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

Good question! From my before-endtimes life, I miss arriving in a conference room early, let's say a few good minutes before the meeting starts, and just chitty-chatting with the other arriving colleagues about ...whatnot. I cherished those little conversations, they were a gentle way to connect, to chat about wassup.

Typical Zoom conference call setups (for the meetings that I have been invited to) require us all to wait until The Meeting Host joins, so that we can begin. So I roost at home, alone, waiting for the screen to magically fill with pictures of my colleagues, all-business. And when the meeting is over, poof the screen is blank again.

I miss the small banter before and after a planned event. Now the meeting is all-business, and then there's nothing.
posted by seawallrunner at 6:53 PM on March 14, 2021 [4 favorites]

I also miss being able to browse the library shelves. I miss my whole Saturday routine, really - going to the gym and then on the way home circling through the library to pick up my held books. I also miss watching kids accidentally jam the automatic book return machine.
posted by janepanic at 7:25 PM on March 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

Smiling and saying hi to parents at my son's school; other than one or two that I've run into outside, I haven't seen any of them in an entire year.

Reading the NYTimes at my favorite coffee shop; getting coffee in my own to-go cup.

The really really boring drive across northern Illinois to visit family.

Going to a yarn shop and getting to handle skeins of yarn; I've bought some yarn from a local shop online and picked it up curbside but it's not nearly as satisfying.

Reading the staff recommendations on the shelves at bookstores.
posted by sencha at 7:34 PM on March 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

I miss eating in a restaurant alone. I've always loved it. Doubly so if it's breakfast and I'm reading a dead-tree newspaper. I never felt self-conscious about it at all before I got divorced--honestly some of the most sublimely contented moments of my life have been spent dining with myself-- but then afterward, because I live in a small town, I kind of did, and although I still did it sometimes I felt a little furtive about it. And now I can't do it no matter how I feel about it.

One of the best meals of my life was a perfectly composed lunch in a cozy warm corner of a little French bistro on a rainy day, where I had one lovely little course after another and the waitress whispered to me "I'm so jealous of your lunch." Me too. Me too.
posted by HotToddy at 7:34 PM on March 14, 2021 [25 favorites]

Thrift stores. Garage sales. Shopping that felt like a scavenger hunt.

Also, cold beer on draft, in an actual pint glass.

Having someone other than me do the dishes.

Browsing, in general.


And, like, you know, joy.
posted by thivaia at 7:43 PM on March 14, 2021 [17 favorites]

Yoga or barre classes;watching a game at a bar w a cocktail or draft beer; browsing in a used bookstore; volunteering w doggos

And most of all-singing along at a concert, looking around and grinning loopily at everyone around you who had the same looks on their faces. It was the one time I didn’t feel alone in a crowded room.
posted by jacy at 8:01 PM on March 14, 2021 [5 favorites]

Thrift stores. Garage sales. Shopping that felt like a scavenger hunt.

Oh yes, and also the flea market! Which is weird, prior to 2019 I hadn't been to a flea market in probably 20 years. But I've recently rediscovered my love of ephemera, and I really really want to go poking around in boxes of old magazines, cards, vintage photos, booklets and whatnot. And grab a quick flea market lunch of a $2 sloppy joe out of some random lady's crockpot along with a bag of chips and a pop. I even got my husband to go along the last time we went... somehow a "flea market" sounded more interesting to him than going thrift shopping.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:26 PM on March 14, 2021 [6 favorites]

Conversations with strangers on public transport (the good kind. I don't miss the shitheads obviously). But I perpetually roll a 20 for random encounters. I randomly sat next to a Tibetan singer on a bus and she told me about her memories of Tibet and her music. I ended up on a late night bus back from Oxford having an animated conversation about Doctor Faustus with the 2 guys who founded Punchdrunk (back when they'd done maybe 1 production that made the papers, which luckily I'd read about). On 2 separate occasions I ended up learning about physics just by virtue of sitting next to a physicist on the top deck of a bus (one particle physicist, one biophysicist). On a train, a family sat opposite me, and the daughter-- early teens with Down syndrome-- told me gleefully, in a very refined accent, all about how her mother farts sometimes and it's really smelly. (Going by her mother's reaction, I was not the first stranger to whom she'd confided this.) At a crucial point in my life, I spent a 3-hour flight seated next to a Dominican friar. I'm not a Catholic or a Christian, but I'm very glad that conversation happened.

I've also witnessed worse things, of course, like we all have. And I've spent plenty of journeys annoyed, bored, walling people out, fending people off. But it's the good ones I miss.

I hope they're all doing OK. I hope the strange, extremely beardy math professor from Göttingen named Konrat (compartment companion between Vienna and somewhere on the way to Prague; energetic conversation in fragmentary German, English and French) is still alive. I wonder about the 2 guys from a small town in Massachusetts who (on a train table between New York and New Haven) dealt me in on a card game called 55 which, they informed me, is only played in their specific region of Massachusetts, and I still have no idea whether that is true, but I've never met anyone else who knew that game.

I guess it's a function of how solitary my life has been that I remember so many of these people so vividly. I don't generally think of myself as a people person. But it turns out I miss meeting people, which feels strange.
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:36 PM on March 14, 2021 [20 favorites]

Absolutely the oddest thing on my list is chocolate cake with a good chocolate icing (like, there's only me in this house, not baking a cake)

Speaking of baking, being able to bring things into the office

Oh, yeah, the urge to bake and not being able to share the results has done unspeakable things to my waistline. My freezer is full of muffins.

And yes, thrift stores! Church rummage sales!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:09 PM on March 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

I miss my kids randomly coming to visit. Now it is a production and much less frequent. Before, it was random, like they have a key and just come visit. Often.

I miss Carvel ice cream. I miss sitting in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium. I miss seeing live music. I miss football Sundays with 12 of my friends. I miss NOT currently having a pet. I miss draft beer. I miss the smell of the pretzel guy on the corner in Manhattan. I miss the jar of mints at the Chinese food restaurant I used to go to.

I do not miss cleaning the pee off the toilet rim. Really Jessamyn?
posted by AugustWest at 9:10 PM on March 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

Funerals. None of us really like them, but wow, they are important. Getting to hug everyone. Sitting squished in next to someone while the priest, who is visiting from Austria, and sounds just like Arnold Schwarzenegger, gives the homily. Going on a last minute shopping trip with the deceased, to Hobby Lobby, for a container, because the cremains were delivered in something that looks like an old Crown Royal bag. Nope, especially not for a proud recovering alcoholic with a. 20 year chip.
The funeral homes are working so hard to improvise but it's just not the same.
This is the last thing I would ever suspect I would miss and not what I came in to say, but yeah, I miss funerals.
posted by BoscosMom at 9:51 PM on March 14, 2021 [13 favorites]

You’re welcome to clean the pee off my toilet. Someone should.
posted by bixfrankonis at 12:14 AM on March 15, 2021 [2 favorites]

High fives to all my public transit missing MeFites. I miss the DING the bus makes when someone wants a stop, and those weird times when someone’s pulled the cord but the signal is not getting through for some reason and you’re sitting on tenterhooks, wondering: will it ding or will they have to yell for a stop? "My" bus has been out of service for the whole pandemic, and when it comes back it will be an all day bus, and I wonder what else will have changed.

I dearly miss public life not having constant overtones of judgment. Like the way everyone feels like they have to put (✌️safely✌️) around everything they confess to doing with others — it’s just a particularly tedious flavor of hypocrisy that fools no one, this public piety around risks undertaken in private (which the public nevertheless bears, to some extent). I just thought about saying "food at parent teacher org meetings" because that’s a sort of middling joy in the spirit of this question, and then I thought, ugh, next time one of those meets in person is there going to be angst about whether it’s actually okay to have a plate of bagels that everyone has touched, is someone going to need to incant "masked and distant" over them to absolve all of us of the sin of shared eating, will this insincere genuflecting at caution go on forever, I am so tired. Maybe they’ll keep doing those meetings over zoom next year and I can punt on the whole damn thing.
posted by eirias at 2:38 AM on March 15, 2021 [6 favorites]

I miss smiling at dogs and babies! Well, I miss them knowing I'm smiling at them as I still smile under my mask.
posted by ellieBOA at 4:18 AM on March 15, 2021 [9 favorites]

I miss riding Amtrak through Old Orchard Beach and peering between the buildings for a glimpse at the ocean.
posted by JanetLand at 5:52 AM on March 15, 2021 [4 favorites]

I miss eating in a restaurant alone.

Yes, this! I agree with the breakfasts at diners, and even more I miss having dinner and drinks at a bar (whether at a bar-bar or the bar seating at a restaurant) -- the combination of being both alone and with others is something that I enjoy a lot.

I also agree with the people mentioning buses, for pretty much the same reasons as eating alone, but with a view. Right after the lockdown started I had to ride the bus a few times and it was both creepy and really nice, because every time I had the entirety of a double-length bendy bus to myself. Just the driver up front in a cordoned-off area, and then the rest of the bus empty. I had to take the bus again a couple of weeks ago and it was back to being crowded.

I miss being able to smile at people.

For me this is more of a big thing than a little thing, but I miss this more and more as this whole thing drags on.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:56 AM on March 15, 2021 [2 favorites]

I miss food that's the correct temperature for it. As a non-cooker, I've had a year of lukewarm soggy takeout, peanut butter sandwiches, and cheerios. Food used to be my main hobby and frankly now I don't even know if I like eating anymore.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 6:47 AM on March 15, 2021 [5 favorites]

oh but like you know how in the before times if you had to pick up dry cleaning and then do ANYthing else it was a giant pain bc you had to carry around those great flapping bundles of thin plastic protectors? I would pay enormous sums of money to be annoyed by lugging some dry cleaning over to the bar again.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 6:50 AM on March 15, 2021 [5 favorites]

I miss walks down to the lake on weekend mornings. It's just too far away for now, if I have to pee or feel too tired to walk all the way back, I am not up for random public washrooms or the subway. I used to walk reasonably quickly down there, get a coffee and a muffin or something, and sit by the water, watch the planes at the island airport, and look at all the dogs being walked past me, then walk slowly home. One time two summers ago, I was sitting there and a bee landed on my phone, and I just put the phone down and waited, and let it walk away. I mean, imagine being that relaxed?
posted by wellred at 7:03 AM on March 15, 2021 [11 favorites]

Pre-covid, our Saturday mornings were our weekly "date". We'd roll down to this great local coffee shop just off the town square, have coffee (tea for the missus) and some form of pastry/danish, and leisurely sit and kill time talking and watching other folks come and go.

In the warmer months, we'd then walk over to the farmers' market, just across the river in the big town park. We'd shop the fresh veggies and put-together a nice, simple meal for that evening. Maybe get a little fresh goat cheese, too. Occasionally, our daughter would meet us there, and we'd walk our granddaughter through the market.

We haven't so much as been to the coffee shop in over a year, and we completely missed last year's farmers' market.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:07 AM on March 15, 2021 [5 favorites]

I have really been missing diner breakfasts, especially with my partner but also alone or with friends.

The thing I miss most is singing Sacred Harp.

Right before the shutdown—like days before—I spent a long, slow time browsing the bookstore. I'm so glad I got that in before everything closed. They do a great job of offering curbside pickup, etc, but it's simply not the same.

I am a person who forms warm personal relationships with the people I see when doing errands. I miss those people. I hope they're all OK. When things open up and I can see all those people again, I'm going to make up a million tiny giftbags with something nice in them, and hand them out like candy on Halloween.

I am also a person who finds a lot of people attractive, pleasing to look at. I miss seeing all those faces. But I have become an appreciator of eyebrows.
posted by Orlop at 7:30 AM on March 15, 2021 [13 favorites]

Lingering in the library for hours. Snuggling into a friend's couch with their puppies. Reading in public. Eating out alone, eating out with friends. Trying a new drink and letting everyone at the table have a sip. Walking to and from work, or carpooling with a bud. Art museums until my feet are tired. Overpriced art museum food. Farmer's markets. Walking side-by-side with friends with nothing much to say, but so happy to have them to say nothing to. Peeling mandarins and sharing them, section-by-section. The smell of public pools. Coming out of a movie theater and being surprised it's still light outside. Sharing movie theater popcorn. Musicians in public!

Most of this is food-related, unsurprisingly. But I miss people watching, and... I guess I would describe it as being an NPC. Just passively existing in the background of somebody else's story.
posted by snerson at 7:59 AM on March 15, 2021 [8 favorites]

I guess holding doors for / having doors held for me by strangers. Instead of now when I just wave them off or let them slam in their face. Just because it's good science doesn't mean it doesn't hurt, these lost little interactions that say "in general, we're nice to each other."
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:03 AM on March 15, 2021 [2 favorites]

The rest of my family went out for the day last weekend, so I had the house to myself for the first time in a year. Which is a thing that I have dearly missed, but it's a big thing. The small thing is that being alone in my house means permission to sing as loud as I want, actually taking advantage of my higher register. God, that felt good.

I still sing all the time, even with people around, but I can sing very loud and very high and I don't do that in company (unless I'm actually at choir rehearsal and it's appropriate). I hadn't realized how much I had missed my high notes.

Someday, I'm going to be able to go to choir rehearsal again.
posted by darchildre at 10:18 AM on March 15, 2021 [7 favorites]

Yesterday my daughter mentioned she missed going on road trips. "Like our adventure vacations?" I asked? No, just the annual pilgrimage back to Illinois at Christmas, she said, which surprised me, because she kind of hated everything else about the APBTIAC and has only gone twice in the 6 years since she graduated high school. She said she misses riding in the car for hours, watching the country roll by in the night, stopping for dinner at Dennys or Steak n Shake.
posted by drlith at 11:00 AM on March 15, 2021 [3 favorites]

I miss being alone in the house for little weird windows of time. Twenty minutes here, 10 minutes there before a spouse or child comes in.
posted by cheapskatebay at 1:14 PM on March 15, 2021 [5 favorites]

I'm struck by how nice everyone's lives sounded. I had no idea.
posted by bleep at 1:43 PM on March 15, 2021 [6 favorites]

I miss going in to the veterinarian office, either to pick up something or take in the three kitties for routine care.

I didn't realize how much I enjoyed waiting and pet watching; new wiggly puppies and their children to old folks and their old pets; I made little story vignettes out of them all.

Plus, it was a blast to take the three into the consult room and unleash them from their carriers. Everything from mayhem to hiding in Mom's lap while the good-natured veterinarian did their thing.

The hassle and aggravation of tricking the crew into an enclosed area at home for capture to the logistics of fitting three carriers in my car, to making three trips into the office with the crew is still better than sitting outside while they have an anonymous visit and phone consultation.
posted by mightshould at 1:55 PM on March 15, 2021 [5 favorites]

I miss traveling in other countries. Not the going from one place to another, the being somewhere else. In particular, I would like to visit Costa Rica or Ecuador again soon.
posted by kingless at 2:10 PM on March 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

ooh ooh that thing at the gym where you see what people are watching on their machines and it's sometimes super surprising

like the enormous Hulked-out guy on the treadmill with lots of very large tattoos and some ominous scars who was laughing out loud at reruns of Mad About You
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 2:20 PM on March 15, 2021 [13 favorites]

We had an anniversary party for the start of the shutdown on Thursday. It was outdoors at a brewery. That sort of impromptu get together (it was planned that afternoon) has been missing in my life. Then I came home and found an invitation to make a vaccination appointment in my email, so Thursday last week turned out to be one heck of a good day. I get my first shot on the 24th!
posted by COD at 3:15 PM on March 15, 2021 [7 favorites]

Petting other peoples' dogs. I just feel it's potentially invading someone's (increased) personal space, and too much of an ask these days.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:24 PM on March 15, 2021 [6 favorites]

Having people over so I can force them to comment on how cute my cat is. He’s just not as impossibly cute in photos.
posted by rip at 8:41 PM on March 15, 2021 [3 favorites]

I'm not much of a People Person - I lived a fairly isolated lifestyle even before COVID hit - so there's very little in the way of minor social interactions that I miss. But I do miss, as others have said, the simple casualness of grocery store visits that didn't involve what feels like gearing up for chemical warfare. I also miss the periodic potluck dinners with my friends. I'd say dining out would be a distant third, as it wasn't something I did often but I still managed to fit in a few restaurant visits during a given year in The Before Times. Delivery food just isn't the same.

Apart from that, I'm sympathetic for so many people whose lives were far more profoundly affected than my own has been.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:15 PM on March 15, 2021 [3 favorites]

rip, I think I speak for many here when I say WE would be the best judges of that.
posted by Pallas Athena at 10:15 PM on March 15, 2021 [5 favorites]

I really miss DJing and dance parties. So much sweaty hugging. I really want to see it rain sweat in a club or bar again.

I also miss live music. At this point I'd go to a Nickelback, DJ Khalid and Kid Rock concert or some other improbably awful thing. Fuck, I might even dance to 2012 era brostep.

I miss the smokers corner at a crowded bar and people passing bowls and joints and whatnot.

I miss less crowded bike trails and parks, especially in winter. It's not unreasonable or unexpected that bike and e-bike sales in particular have boomed over the last year and everyone wants to get outside and out of the house. But, damn it, it's really cutting into my peaceful introvert time. Some days I go out specifically because the weather is horrible and there will be less people out.

I deeply miss being able to reliably get parts for my bike, even basic commodity stuff like chains and brake pads. I just recently broke my eyeglass mounted rear view mirror and went to my LBS and they said they just got a bunch of them and they sold out in hours, and this is normally the kind of geeky bike tour or commuter nerd gear that you often find sitting on the shelf with dust on it.

I would also like to never again experience the incredibly annoying thing of dropping a mask in the rain or muddy snow. Or making sure I have backup masks in case I drop one in the snow, or, ugh, sneeze inside of it.

I would also like to be able to go shopping or even move around and be able to see. Foggy glasses are horrible.

On the other hand I've kind of enjoyed the last winter of biking with a mask and/or balaclava. They keep your ears and face nice and warm and the bugs, road grit and raindrops out of your mouth and nose. I haven't accidentally inhaled a bug all year.
posted by loquacious at 9:42 AM on March 16, 2021 [4 favorites]

it's weird, because I am not much of a shopper, but I miss just going to a shop and browsing around. I only do very targeted shopping for necessities these days, of course.
posted by supermedusa at 10:58 AM on March 16, 2021 [3 favorites]

it's weird, because I am not much of a shopper, but I miss just going to a shop and browsing around. I only do very targeted shopping for necessities these days, of course.

Me too!! I'd gotten to the point in life where I can't stand shopping malls etc., but nowadays I'm absolutely dying to go to one. I'd even go to IKEA, and I loathe IKEA.
posted by JanetLand at 11:13 AM on March 16, 2021 [2 favorites]

I want the ranch dressing (and a fresh basket of fries) at the campus bar, the one where they know my wife is a whiskey and I'm a soda water and they know which card to run no matter who started the tab that day and we'd slowly merge the tables on the tiny patio outside into a blob, and since I'm being whiny, our best friend is there and I'm collecting some quality head scritches and Old Spice smelling hugs (he moved across the country).

We grabbed takeout wings from them a few weeks ago, but they've changed management and the menu is now your generic new south BS (okay, I love brisket fries, but they're everywhere and expensive) and the wings are no longer the best deal in town and I didn't know the bartender and I know it was unfair to want things to not change, but I'm still in my feels about it.
posted by joycehealy at 12:52 PM on March 16, 2021 [5 favorites]

Some days I go out specifically because the weather is horrible and there will be less people out.

I keep pushing my daily running back later and later; the other day I went for an 11:30 pm 2-mile jog in the middle of Chicago. My mother would probably fret that this is unsafe, but unsafe is almost getting clocked by an SUV while trying to duck a bunch of maskless idjits taking up the entire sidewalk because it's all of 50 degrees out.

I really miss the goddamn gym. For all its faults I basically never had to risk being run over by multiple vehicles there.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:09 PM on March 16, 2021 [4 favorites]

Crowded spaces! I miss crowds. Maybe I'm the only one but I like being shoved up against strangers and feeling how alive they are, especially when we're all excited about something.
posted by exceptinsects at 1:26 PM on March 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

Not just shopping at thrift stores, but the interactions with other customers. It used to be I couldn't go to a thrift store without someone engaging me. I remember picking something up and wondering what it was, and some random guy said, "that's a blooming onion makah!" Or someone commenting on my homemade necklace ("nice Tree of Life!") even tho' I thought it was amateurish at best.

Or running into the cluster of people gossiping at the grocery store. That's always a thing here. They block the aisle, or hog the area in the produce section, blah, blah, blah. And you could just sort of move around them, those gossipy people. Now you have to quickly slide around and avoid each other. Or some random guy asking what do you do with such and such, or an old lady asking you to reach something for her on the shelf.

Or you go to the pawn shop to browse and meet a couple of fellas talking about cars and then they start dishing on all the local news, some company is buying a building for something. It's really like an underground news network, people standing around and gossiping in stores.

I just ordered and received a new pair of flip flops, the special kind I like (Yellow Box), and while I won't be able to use them for a while, due to the cold and mud season, I wanted to get them before they ran out. I can't get the vaccine until starting April 1st, and after I am complete, I will make an appointment for a pedicure. That use to be my monthly treat, and I have no idea when it will actually happen, but a big part of that was the gossip and interaction with the lady who gave me my pedi. Aside from an actual human being touching me, I mean. I love my cats, but they don't massage my feet or rub my calves with hot stones. I'll be giving a humongous tip whenever I can get there.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:41 PM on March 16, 2021 [4 favorites]

My neighbor is moving out and I wish I could give her a hug.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:34 PM on March 16, 2021 [3 favorites]

I miss not wanting to stab roughly 10% of the customers I see in the supermarket. I guess I also miss that illusion I had that everyone agrees that other people matter.
posted by johnofjack at 6:47 PM on March 16, 2021 [7 favorites]

I miss the teenagers in the library.

It opened a few weeks ago -- of course it's been open, sort-of, but only for picking up holds, curbside. Now you can go in, and it's spooky. You can only stay an hour, and they limit the number of patrons, but they don't have to because nobody's there, yet. One bored librarian at the desk, all other staff behind closed doors. Many stripped, empty areas: no brochures in the community corner, no current periodicals or newspapers for browsing, and the big tables removed from the Teen Zone. Which is deserted. They've cranked up the ventilating fans, so that's the ambient sound now, no other voices. It's like there's been a plague or something.

Naturally I also miss seeing my students in the flesh, and they miss the social interactions in class. Zoom is better than nothing, but I wish we could go back to school. Seems the kids will be, but the district says Adult Schools will be the last to open, not happening this semester, sorry.
posted by Rash at 7:40 PM on March 16, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'm already at the stage where I now miss things from early-pandemic-times rather than pre-pandemic things, oddly. I found myself nostalgic for when people would say things like "the before times" with the knowing, arch irony of someone who had only heard the phrase in post-apocalyptic science fiction. Now i hear it used entirely straight-facedly in sincere and serious radio interviews.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:14 AM on March 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

joycehealy: "I want the ranch dressing (and a fresh basket of fries) at the campus bar, the one where they know my wife is a whiskey and I'm a soda water"

I want the sushi joint in downtown santiago where they greet me with 'hello, don [signal], your wife is at the table you like in the back room, will you be having your usual order?'.
posted by signal at 7:04 AM on March 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

I want the breakfast place where they put a candle in my french toast on my birthday even though I never have told them it's my birthday. Some how they always know! But they are gone forever :(
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:24 AM on March 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

I miss the teenagers in the library.

Me too! Well mostly middle-schoolers in my case. I never thought I would miss those knuckleheads quite as much as I do.
posted by lyssabee at 12:20 PM on March 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have mostly been inside but had to run an errand yesterday and realized that there were hardly any cyclists out. Now, it's cold and we'd just had some really slushy snow, but by late afternoon the greenway was in good shape. I rode what is normally a tolerably busy route and I saw no one. One person on foot near my destination, that's it. There were a couple of tire tracks in some slush, so some people had been there, but Minneapolis is a year-round bike town and the only times I've ever seen that route so empty were when I had to bike home in a terrible downpour and when I had to bike cross-town in dangerous windchill and heavy snow. It was so deserted that at first I thought maybe the greenway had been closed and I wasn't supposed to be there at all.
posted by Frowner at 12:46 PM on March 17, 2021

I (used to) travel a lot for work. Of course I miss the big things about travel-- getting to see a new (to me) part of the world, finding a restaurant I like in a strange city, meeting interesting new people, and so on.

But I also miss all sorts of random little things.
I miss having two sets of toiletries-- one in small containers prepacked in my suitcase. I miss being "good" at going through airport security. I even miss Heathrow's airport security, mostly just because I knew how it worked and where to go and what they would want pulled out of my bag. I miss being "good" at figuring out new transit systems-- because there's a certain common language to city metros whether you're in Tokyo or London or, even my relatively tiny local Phoenix system. And once you've seen enough of them, a new one is easier to grasp. I miss setting myself a reminder to check in for my southwest flight exactly the moment it opened so I had a chance at a non-middle seat. I miss feeling optimized for travel.

On the other hand, now I'm semi-optimized to teach+work from home, so, I guess there's that.
posted by nat at 12:49 PM on March 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

Getting a haircut and color that comes with a shampoo/scalp massage, leaving a good tip, and driving home feeling pretty.
posted by emjaybee at 7:15 PM on March 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

My belated cat tax, here is Charlie.
posted by rip at 9:30 PM on March 17, 2021 [3 favorites]


*reaches through screen, pets soft tummy*
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:47 PM on March 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

walkin around with a coffee
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:35 PM on March 19, 2021 [3 favorites]

Being able to leave the house without worrying, as others have said. Casually browsing in stores. Not feeling like I need to get in and GTFO ASAP on the few times I actually go into a store, and strategizing everything. Being able to be around other humans without having to be in fear.

Having a reason to dress up and look nice. I only dress up for online plays when I have them, or to go to the yarn store. Y'all should have seen me wearing the Christmas bling I got for the holiday over there :P

I miss my pre-pandemic hair. I really miss dying it. It's half my natural boring dirty blonde-brown (6+ inches of this) and half faded pink. I kind of plan to eventually hack off all the pink myself once my roots hit shoulder length, but I can't figure out if I can go back to having a professional dye my hair (I really don't wanna DIY at home) or not. Will I be able to? Will we be shut down again in six months when I want another dye job? Should I just go without hair dye and be my boring natural color forever? My hair just looks so SAD.

Getting to leave my house. Especially getting to leave my house every Saturday morning when the Lawn Guys come for 1-2 hours, because I'd either flee to the gym or the library, both of which are gone as options now. So far I just don't want to walk around the neighborhood masked and having to worry about seeing other people. I'm looking forward to seeing if after my all-clear date, I'll actually feel okay doing that again.

I had groceries delivered today and the guy did a great job but had to go to the bathroom and I couldn't let him use mine and our public bathroom at the complex has been locked for a year. I felt bad. I hate this whole shunning behavior thing and why can't I just have a casual conversation with anyone without having to worry.

There are certain foods I haven't been able to find for a year. Sometimes they show up as an option with Safeway and then they're already out by the time my order is getting processed. I only just got orange vanilla Coke again after a literal year. Sometimes I can't get foods for 3+ months. I just got ramen again and that's been out for over three months. Ramen?

Restaurants and takeout. I haven't eaten in a restaurant since March 7, 2020. Again, maybe I'll get up the nerve to take the risk to get takeout after my all clear. We'll see.

Friends, theater, karaoke, my karaoke bar. I haven't checked to see if it still exists, but I strongly suspect it won't make it through the pandemic since it was a tiny bar at the fringe of a tiny town.

I miss not being a pandemic agoraphobic crazy person. I miss people being able to interact in a normal manner.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:59 PM on March 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

There are a million things, but the first one that popped into my head was being out running errands and deciding to pop into a pub for a quick pint.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:11 AM on March 24, 2021

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