Wheaton’s Way

Armie Hammer and I are passing like ships in the night

How many weeks has it been now? I believe it’s been about five or six, but it feels like ‘42elewenteen’, as local seer and sage Johnny Doak would say.

Maybe the way to measure it is by the length of grey in one’s roots. I don’t care what the hair stylists say about rate of growth; based on what I’m seeing in the mirror, an inch = two weeks.

I went for my shopping day on Tuesday and found I have perfected the art of hiding the junk food under the vegetables. It’s not just that I don’t want people judging my choices; I also think that they and I might have a different idea of what should be classed ‘essential’.

Speaking of shopping, I’ve never been so heartbroken to find myself in the second half of the alphabet as when I heard that dreamboat Armie Hammer was hunkered down in Cayman to ride out the coronavirus storm. Damn you, dubya! I could be the first case before the court of someone marrying just to get an earlier letter. Forget the green card. “Your Honour, I know I don’t technically love my husband, Mr. Bootichan, but I really needed to move my shopping day into the ‘A-K’ category. Y’see, Armie Hammer’s in town.”

“I understand completely, Mrs. Bootichan-Wheaton. Case dismissed!”

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I actually ran into M’sieur Hammer about a year ago when he and his lovely family were enjoying an event on the beach at The Ritz-Carlton. “Hey! Armie!” I began, auspiciously. “I remember when you were just a kid at the car races on the dirt track here, way back in the day!” Nothing sexier than a woman who instantly establishes she’s just about old enough to be your mother.

As you can only imagine, his response was to immediately fall into my arms and announce to his stunningly beautiful and equally charming wife that he was leaving her for this island goober.

In reality, he couldn’t have been nicer, and his dad, Mike, was there as well. Their teeth had lost none of their radiance over the years.

Does anyone recall those car races back in the ‘90s? I think they were off Sparky’s Drive or something. There were bleachers and everything – a class operation. We’d go there on the weekend and cheer on the drivers (yell out advice) from our seats. Everybody brought coolers of drinks and there were refreshments on sale as well. Tons of fun. Mike Hammer was a big racing enthusiast, so he was there a lot and brought his son along. You’d always notice the white teeth first – so bright, that each smile could have been an invitation to cross over to the Other Side; ‘walk to the light’, and all that.

Back to present day: In the US, they are already talking about relaxing shelter-in-place regulations in some states. In Georgia, a number of businesses will be reopening Friday, including – but not limited to – bowling alleys. Were people clamouring to bowl? Was Jeffrey ‘The Dude’ Lebowski in town? Opening anything back up right now is a risk, but you’d think if doors have to be unlocked, bowling alleys would be right down there with sweat lodges and Build-A-Bear Workshops. I tell ya, I’d love to see Premier Alden McLaughlin at the daily press briefings addressing the question of whether reopening a 10-pin establishment would be given priority. Let the memes begin. Balls would come into it somewhere, I’m guessing.

The concern about easing restrictions, of course, is that people will go right back into their old habits and an increase in positive cases will follow soon after. I realise there is a covfefe (collective noun) of covidiots out there (saw it on Facebook and HAD to steal!), but personally I think it’s going to take me quite a while before I can hug someone without feeling really odd or looking for Police Commissioner Derek Byrne over my shoulder.

Even now, when I look at pictures from years ago posted on social media and people are all hugging up and have arms around each other, I find myself wincing involuntarily. It’s amazing how quickly the mindset has taken root.

Once life goes back to normal, how long will it be before I can drive on a day outside what was my L-Z allowance without breaking out in a rash? Will I still set aside a spare room to store so many rolls of toilet paper that the Charmin bears come looking for me? Rather than throwing away old bras, will I now cling to them, as every secondhand D-cup could be easily turned into a face mask? There’s a business model: Vicki’s Old Bra Masks.

Let’s hope that by the time Cayman is ready to test reopening some businesses, we’ll all be well trained on what to do and act accordingly. My bowling shoes are ready for action.

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