I am part of a small chain of three men, all of us riding out the pandemic, none of us particularly young. One of us is fully retired from the food service industry. I am retired from the newspaper business, but still do a radio show and write this column. The other still works full time in management at a plant that makes, of all things, hummus. One of us is an immigrant. Two of us are married. None of us has children. One of us has a college degree. One of us owns a dog. I own two cats. Two of us smoke. Two of us are bilingual, and two of us are Catholic.
We pay taxes. Two of us are homeowners. One of us is a renter. We have car insurance. Only one of us is a sports fan. I know the other two men, but they don't know each other, and we have never gathered as a group of three. One of them was my best man.
We are unremarkable, is what we are.
One of the men is the man I meet for breakfast every Saturday morning. The two of us are great lovers of breakfast, and we carefully rotate our business among five or six diners in the city where we live. We eat fried eggs and various kinds of pork, and sometimes French toast. We talk about the breakfast we're eating, about how I like ham or bacon with eggs, but I only want sausage with French toast. We talk about our jobs a little. We take turns paying for breakfast.
I meet the other man once every couple of weeks for a couple of beers. We don't meet in a bar. We meet in a corporate chain restaurant that has a bar. We both drink the cheapest available draft beer, and we don't take turns buying. We're both pipe smokers, so we talk about pipe tobacco, and sometimes we talk about our cars, if there's anything wrong with our cars. If neither of our cars have needed repairs in the last two weeks, we don't talk about our cars. A lot of the time we sit silently, sometimes taking a sip of beer. We've known each other for almost 30 years.
Not long after the pandemic began, the three of us suspended all fried eggs and beer festivities as we waited to see what happened next. We kept in touch by text and Facebook.
I've had one of the two vaccine shots I'm going to get. My next shot comes in at the end of April. The fellow I eat breakfast gets his second shot at the end of April. The man I meet for beer got the "one and done" shot.
I've been lucky. I didn't lose my part-time retirement job as a result of the pandemic. The fellow who works in the hummus plant didn't lose his job, either. The third man is retired. We're all fine, I guess, even if the country isn't.
We sat in our respective living rooms and watched Donald Trump dwindle into insignificance, and we still pay taxes, and we still have car insurance. We are unremarkable, is what we are.
But soon, very soon, indeed, there will be cold glasses of draft beer on the bar, and steam rising from fried eggs, and bright-red hot sauce on those eggs.
It's not much to want, but we've waited so long.
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book, a collection of his best columns, is called "Devil's Elbow: Dancing in The Ashes of America." It is available in paperback from Amazon.com and for Nook, Kindle, GooglePlay and iBooks.