20 of ’20: #15. Solo Tailgating

This is my second annual “Best Of” series of year-end posts. Some, I assume, will be brief. Some longer. All, varying degrees of serious. I’ll try my best not to use the words or phrases “unprecedented,” “new normal,” or “unpresidented”, but I can’t make any promises.


There’s a genre of Anti-Masker social media post that follows a pattern similar to this one:

If the masks work, then why do we need lockdowns?! (Ignoring, of course, that only very small segments of the country have ever had true lockdowns– Segments that said Anti-Maskers don’t actually reside in.) If social distancing works, then why do we need a mask?! If they all work, then why are we rushing a vaccine?!

None of these questions ever end in “Gahhhhh!”, but it is always implied.

The answer to all these questions is, of course, easily understood by anyone who has even the slightest desire to understand them: They all work to varying degrees, and each of them work exponentially better when used in concert with each other.

There’s another accusation from Anti-Maskers that often accompanies the aforementioned questions, and it is this: It makes NO SENSE that we have to walk into a restaurant WITH a mask, when we are allowed to take it off at our table. None of this makes any sense!

To this, I think I have found some common ground with the Anti-Maskers. They are 100% correct on this one. It is is a DUMB requirement and sends mixed messages. Of course we are approaching our disdain for this requirement from different suppositions. It’s not, as I presume they are suggesting, that masks don’t work and so, therefore, it doesn’t make sense to have to wear them walking in when you don’t have to wear them while seated. It’s that masks DO work, but are not very practical when eating, and therefore indoor dining with strangers should be suspended for the time being, what with 322,000+ dead and counting and all. But hey, that’s just me.

Most of our country decided that hundreds of thousands dead, and the health and well-being of low-wage workers, was a worthy sacrifice to make just so we could continue to have some sense of normalcy. We chose the more costly option, in terms of both lives and the economy, rather than paying people to stay home, because of the lie that doing so would amount to “socialism.”

The unfortunate epitaph on most of the graves will read, “It didn’t have to be this way.”

I don’t have a degree in epidemiology, the physics of airflow, or infectious diseases, but I made the amateur decision early on not to eat in a restaurant dining room. During those early months I relied heavily on delivery apps for my once a week restaurant splurge. Which was fine, but I think one of the lessons of the pandemic (for those of us who have chosen not to eat in restaurants) is that a lot of food just doesn’t travel well. So sometime in the summer I remembered that a.) I own a truck, b.) Said truck has a tailgate, and c.) Nothing is stopping me from getting food and eating it in a parking lot on said tailgate of said truck.

And thus began a semi-regular ritual of eating a meal, tailgating style.

Here are some of my observations:

— There’s an industrial area on Franklin, between New Road and Lake Air, that becomes a ghost town on Saturday nights, and is the perfect place for a Spicy Deluxe Chick-Fil-A Sandwich, with Chick-Fil-A sauce dripping down your arm.

— The Bucee’s south of Denton on I-35 is home to more trucks with Trump flags per square-food than probably anywhere in the world. Eating a Bucee’s BBQ sandwich on a tailgate, with a “Any Functioning Adult: 2020” bumper sticker will get you some chilling stares.

— Speaking of stares: The suburbanites in Hewitt appear to think it more strange to enjoy a Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich in the parking lot of Whataburger than it is to walk into the Whataburger wearing a facemask like a chin strap.

— I may have seen a drug deal go down on the corner of 2nd and Mary tonight, as I was eating a Billy Bob’s Burger and preparing to write this post. From their hesitation, I imagine they suspected me a narc. I wanted to yell across the street, “It’s ok! I think it should be legal!”, but I had my mouth full of some of the best onion rings in town.

— Everyone should tailgate during the holidays with a couple of Nightlight Donuts, hot chocolate, and Taylor Swift blaring through their earbuds.

I may never step foot into a restaurant again.

2nd and Mary: Billy Bob’s

One thought on “20 of ’20: #15. Solo Tailgating

  1. 1) You’ve discovered the quintessential parent date night, when your highest how for the evening is a meal in silence.

    2) I’ve been doing this alone since I could drive. It’s such a glorious experience. Going from a very full house, to four years living on campus straight into marriage, being able to pick your meal and control just one hour is something.

    Liked by 1 person

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