A New Kind of Wardrobe

I used to have a recurring dream that I opened my closet and discovered several brand new dresses. I was delighted, because I love new clothes, especially dresses. Waking up and finding the same old outfits was always a disappointment. Someday, when I return to going to meetings or church or out to dinner, where I might want to wear a dress, I’ll open my closet to find dresses I don’t recognize. It will be just like that dream, only not disappointing. They are not new, but they might as well be. I don’t even remember some of them, even after I’ve held them up and examined them.

I was taken aback when my friend Deborah and I were chatting on the phone, and she asked me what the dresses I had bought looked like. I had to think really hard before I could come up with the vaguest of descriptions.

No, it’s not dementia, or at least, I don’t think so. It’s because for the past year and a half, I’ve worn only shorts and sweats with T-shirts and sweatshirts. There has been no need to look at the dresses in my closet, because I go to church by watching the service from my couch on YouTube. I go to meetings via Zoom. And the only dining out I’ve done has been drive-through fast food places.

It’s been a very weird world recently for many reasons, and the pandemic being one of the most troubling.

But it seems that a lot of people think it’s over, or it never happened at all. As soon as the second summer came around, people thronged in every entertainment venue and restaurant. New eateries are opening all the time, and movie theaters have opened their doors. Some may say that I’ve been overly cautious, verging on paranoid, but I’ve been healthy and have found ways to connect with people without being in a crowd. Once a week, my friend Dan and I take Dora for a good long walk in a metro park, and we are refreshed and rejuvenated every time. We love to stop and listen to birds, examine the plants, and revel in the quiet. Sure, I’d like to go to a festival or a concert, but is it worth the price of a possible deadly illness?

Maybe I’m extra careful, because I am of the age where we are most at risk I got a massage last week for the first time in two years. I asked the therapist if he had been fully vaccinated. He said he had not, because he didn’t think enough testing had been done. I was furious. Who does he think he is? If I had had a way home, I would have left right then, but at least he wore a mask.

If I live long enough to see the end of this pandemic, I think I should buy a whole new wardrobe and fill my calendar with lots of fun things to do. But I will never give up my comfortable sweats and my relaxing walks in the parks.

Mary Hiland


Author of

The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living: a Daughter’s Memoir


Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life

Available from Amazon


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