Picnicking Through a Pandemic

Journal Thoughts

(In the safest way possible.)

Close your eyes and think back to your last trip to a restaurant. You and your closest friends all squeeze together, practically on top of each other inside a cozy booth, as menus are passed around the table. The options seem endless. You have no idea what you’re in the mood for, though, your stomach is teased by the juicy scent of a meat-lovers’ pizza crisping in the oven. The restaurant is bustling with people laughing and chatting. You look around to see what others have ordered: gooey garlic bread; heaping mounds of buttery, twisted pasta; a sizzling slightly-pink steak. Your stomach grumbles in its empty state. Flash forward and its past dinnertime. Your bellies are slightly rounder and filled with carbs, but now your tastebuds crave sweetness. You stand in line outside on this warm spring evening, waiting for your mint ice cream to be handed to you. Couples and giddy children huddle beside you underneath the light of the shack, as they share chocolatey licks of their cones and spread ice cream around their lips. 

Now, forget everything you have just imagined. Picture the opposite. Picture restaurants with giant “CLOSED” signs dangling in their windows in the middle of the day. Picture vacant parking lots and barren streets. Instead of bumping into neighbors and sharing friendly conversations at your local supermarket, you’re now rushing down the aisles in hopes of avoiding all contact. The shelves look as if they were ravaged through by animals. Bread and eggs have suddenly become a scarcity. People’s faces are draped with tight surgical masks, bandanas, old scarves, or anything else they could find to cover their mouths. Bare hands are a rarity, and instead they’re now hidden behind rubber barriers. This is the current state of the world that we’re living in today, and it feels like a scene straight out of a horror movie. 

Seeking Out Seafood: Giving Fish a Second Chance

Good Eats

Picture this. You’re seated at a rectangular table with your family, at a restaurant you’ve never been to before. A slight breeze from the swinging kitchen doors swirls around your legs as waiter after waiter brings out steaming trays of exotic-looking, colorful foods. You’re able to catch a quick glimpse of the chefs at the grill, turning over pink cuts of meat with sharp silver tongs. The stovetop sizzles as the cuts are laid to rest, with oil popping around them. Finally, a plate is placed before you. Fleshy white meat sits in neatly thinned slices, aside a vibrant lemon wedge. A citrusy armona dances in the air as you gently squeeze droplets of lemon onto the fish. After tearing off a small chunk of the juicy meat, you gingerly place it on your tongue, letting the flavor soak in. The zesty taste of the lemon blends perfectly with the peppered breading that coats the fish. This is your first time trying seafood, and you are beyond satisfied. 

If only my experiences trying seafood went exactly like that. On the contrary, I cannot name a single time where I have found any sliver of happiness while eating fish.