Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Adventures in pandemic ear piercing

I haven't been inside a store since March—I've been ordering everything online, other than one trip a few months ago to an outdoor plant place. It had gotten to a point where I was feeling pretty neurotic about it. And then: Sabrina decided she wanted more ear piercings. She's been missing out on some teen rites of passage, and Dave and I felt she deserved it. I was going to have the honor of escorting her. 

I asked on my local mom Facebook page for recommendations for where to go, and got suggestions for a mall pagoda (nope), tattoo parlor (maybe?), and a mom-and-pop pharmacy a few towns over. I figured a pharmacy would be pretty good about pandemic safety practices. Little did I know. 

I called over, grilled the guy about quiet-ish times and booked a 9:30 a.m. appointment. We arrived a bit early, wearing our KN95's and gloves. We'd put our phones away, to avoid contaminating then. I had a credit card in my pocket so I wouldn't have to touch my wallet. There were a couple of other customers there. A guy in a mask handed us a form to fill out and a pen. A PEN! What a weird world we live in when a pen strikes fear into your heart. I used my own. 

We were seated in a nook, and there was a woman blowing up balloons right there. "We're trying to follow social-distancing rules, would you mind coming back when we're done?" I asked, thereby instantly mortifying Sabrina. 

The plan was to add two more holes to Sabrain's left ear, and one more to the right. I'm not sure why but they decided to do both sides at once, and another staffer approached. He was wearing a neck gaiter, only up to his nose. Yikes. 

"Would you please cover your nose?" I asked, and he did. In my head, I was thinking "OMG, you work in a pharmacy and you don't wear a mask right?!" Let alone the fact that gaiters don't offer good protection against the coronavirus, as a recent study found—and in fact can be worse than wearing nothing at all. 

After all the mask mortification Sabrina had endured, I figured that any discomfort from the ear piercings was not going to be a big deal. She was fine. Me, I was kind of a nervous wreck. I paid and made a beeline out of there. 

Back at home, Max admired Sabrina's ears. 

"I want to get my ears pierced!" he announced. 



  1. Actually, tattoo places are supposed to be the best and most sanitary when it comes to piercings. I mean, it's what they do. Just something to consider when you take Max for his. :-)

  2. Ellen….
    I keep getting the chorus to The Beatles’ song, ‘Life Goes On’ in my head during this coronavirus global pandemic, and, when your dog dies, {that would be my mutt, Rosey}, and several other sucky things happen to your little family within the course of less than five months, that song is a little bit annoying!! Life. Goes. On. What is my point? With Sabrina, Life goes on—despite the coronavirus—because she wanted her ear piercings!! This has been a LONG year…. Agreed? 2020 sucks. :)
    Peace and Love, Mary Lou

  3. I think we are going to have to develop a capacity to have very specific conversations concerning other people's behavior in situations where we would normally avoid anything so "personal". Quiet times is a start. Then, "do all employees wear non-respirator N95 masks at all times (some research now shows gaiter masks actually increase risk by breaking larger droplets into smaller, lingering aerosols)? Except for the person performing this procedure, how do you maintain social distancing?" These are hard conversations, especially with people we've known for years, but we must have them or risk terrible consequences for our loved ones. Walking out of a dangerous situation is hard too. Even harder are the conversations with our own families, but what we or they might deserve is unfortunately not part of the formula for assessing risk and maintaining safety.


Thanks for sharing!

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