Let Inga Tell You: I’ve a hankering to stop hunkering

With hair salons closed because of COVID-19 restrictions, Inga is tired of looking like a Muppet.

Sometimes I think I’ve fallen into the twilight zone when I realize I live in a state where it’s illegal to get a haircut.

And speaking of hair, I also can’t help but notice that many public figures seem to have managed to avail themselves of professional grooming services despite hair-related emporia being firmly, non-negotiably closed. You can’t convince me that our governor’s wife is cutting his perfectly coifed head. If the rest of us have to look like Muppets, why not him?

Even my husband is starting to look like a 1960s throwback of himself. Actually, he never had long hair then because he was doing ROTC in preparation for becoming an Air Force pilot. But now I know how he would have looked had he sported the grungy look of the era. The grandkids have offered to braid it for him.

I think we are all hoping for a much (much, much) better 2021. I am being careful not to say it couldn’t be worse than 2020. I have made such rash statements before over the years, only to have the fates delight in proving me wrong.

In a world of masks, I have begun recognizing people by their dogs. It’s especially difficult if they’re wearing sunglasses (the people, not the dogs). Or if they don’t have a dog.

If someone wants to come up with an app that would be really useful, it is voice recognition software that would alert you to who just accosted you in the baked goods section. Like a little message that pops up on your phone screen whispering, “That’s your former neighbor Lucy, with the hideous lawn flamingos.”

Now my only recourse is to try to fake my way through by trying to get enough clues so I know whom I’m talking to.

For some reason, I seem to be easier to recognize. Maybe it’s because I have descended into wearing the same outfit all the time: black slacks, white top.

I’ve also put on the COVID 19 (pounds). I’ve just had a really hard time socially distancing myself from my refrigerator in the past year. So if you see a person of porcine proportions looking like a server at a lesser trattoria, that’s me.

It’s interesting how certain things about the pandemic can really start annoying you to the breaking point. I am finding the word “hunker” on that list. At this point, I just want to pull out my 9 mm Glock (if I had one) and blast anyone who uses the word “hunker.” How do I hate that word? Let me count the ways.

It reminds me of the 1976 movie “Network.” I like to imagine everyone hanging out their windows yelling, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to hunker anymore!”

I was thinking there should be a version of hunker that implies anger about it, just like “hangry” (bad temper as a result of hunger) for “hungry.” Except there’s already a “hanker” (as in a strong desire to do something). So maybe the best I’m going to do is hanker not to hunker.

I think the other issue that continues to weigh heavily on all of us is tolerance (or lack thereof) for how others are adhering to COVID regulations. It goes without saying that people who sterilize their canned goods are paranoid nuts and the ones who ignore mask wearing and freely party are appallingly irresponsible.

We are each in our own little bubble of what the right level of caution should be. Everyone else, by definition, is an idiot.

Some months ago, I wrote a column about the difficulties of assessing other people’s COVID comfort levels, including a little quiz to help determine this.

One of my quiz options read: “You have appointed yourself chief of COVID police, posting regular rants on social media about perceived non-compliance.”

These posts have frankly gotten out of hand. Just as Twitter posts those yellow caveats on disputable messages, I wish others would do the same, like “This is a forum for lost pets and crime reports! Shut up!”

If you factor in everyone’s current passionately held political opinions along with their very specific COVID constraints, it is truly a wonder anyone is speaking to anyone else. (Are they?) In fact, I am going to add “electoral vote” to “hunker” as one more phrase that could truly push me over the edge.

But in my more sanguine moments, I have faith. Those phrases will gradually recede from our consciousness. The evening news will not lead with COVID deaths. I will not turn it off after three minutes. Kids will go back to school. Hair salons will reopen.

Meanwhile, please get a dog so I can recognize you.

Inga’s lighthearted looks at life appear regularly in the La Jolla Light. Reach her at ◆