PETE: One thing I’ve noticed is that the crowds are almost all young people now. Older diners, as a rule, don’t seem as comfortable coming back. Although I have friends who are proud exceptions to that rule.
You know, we have these strange jobs where, in the before times, we used to sit at close range talking, sometimes loudly, with a different set of people every night. And to do that now, the way we used to do it, would be sort of irresponsible.
TEJAL: Sharing food from one plate! Passing a fork down the table!
PETE: One of my last meals before the first shutdown was at a hot-pot place in Flushing. Although if the pot is really, really hot, you’re probably killing off any germs at the table. (Not in the air, though!)
TEJAL: My plan for now is to keep ordering takeout, and to stay away from indoor dining until the Omicron wave starts to really flatten out here, which should be in the next few weeks. At that point, I’ll reconsider.
TEJAL: Because the symptoms of this variant have been reported as milder (which doesn’t mean mild, necessarily) I think a lot of people who were careful during the previous wave are feeling less careful now, but I’m terrified of losing my sense of smell again, among other things.
PETE: No, we don’t want you to get sick again! How is your nose, by the way?
TEJAL: Oh, you know. Sensitive! Frightened! Exhausted! No, it’s fine. Thank you. I got my smell back completely, but unfortunately it’s a symptom you can experience again and again if you get sick, and there’s no guarantee it’ll come back again just because it came back once before.
PETE: Nobody has any idea what’s going to happen, right?
TEJAL: I definitely don’t. I will say, I don’t feel as hopeless as I did before, as worried, because I’ve seen how restaurant people find new ways of doing things, or build new businesses in the margins, and I wish they didn’t have to, but they do.