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Wearing a face-mask for the very first time …


OK, brace yourselves! Here is the biggest, mid-winter, second-wave, third-week household-lockdown news of all! On Thursday … I left my house. Actually left it! Walked out the door! I needed to buy ground coffee, because that spice-grinder stuff wasn’t doing it for me – when I added milk and sugar, it tasted like a coconut milk curry, which is delicious, but not the kind of deliciousness I crave first thing in the morning.

And my wife didn’t seem interested in buying any, even though I asked really nicely. So I headed down to my local IGA, wearing a face mask for the very first time. A stripey, home-made one that my wife sewed from a pair of old Peter Alexander pyjama pants (possibly using the crotch fabric because it fitted really snug over my nose).

Walking down the street in a pyjama pants face mask made me feel the slightest bit self-conscious. I was worried everyone was staring at me, though it was hard to tell – I couldn’t see much because my glasses fogged up with each exhalation and I had to keep wiping them clean with my pinkies on intermittent-wiper-mode.

But then again, everyone was wearing whacky masks: someone in a hospital mask, like a surgeon taking a quick break from neurosurgery, was unwinding by walking the dog. Someone in a cowboy bandana, like they’d just robbed the First National Bank and were escaping with the loot hidden inside a Bugaboo pram. Someone in an improvised face mask that may have been kitchen towelling, may have been a sanitary napkin, I didn’t want to look too closely.

I guess everyone’s feeling weird and self-conscious, just trying to manage in this new bizarro world. So I bought my coffee in my PJ mask, came home, and said to my wife, “Now this is ground coffee. This is what you should’ve bought!” And she just stood there, grinding her teeth, which probably would’ve turned those whole coffee beans into a fine espresso powder. Why didn’t I think of that?

By Friday I was exhausted. What a week. Fourth week is going to be huuuuuge.

Danny Katz is a Melbourne humourist.

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