THE NEW OLD NORMAL, Chapter 1: As I Was Saying When I Was So Rudely Interrupted

By Liz McLeod

Again Your House Manager


“Whew!” I whewed, flinging my jacket over the newel post. I whewed I whew, and I really meant it.

Miss Carol T. Cat, however, was not impressed. “In future,” she sniffed, “I advise that you provide my evening meal immediately upon your entry into the house. Doffing your outer raiment is of lower priority, and to do so before my meal has been provided suggests certain inefficiencies in the performances of your duties that must be remedied at once if you are to retain your position in this household.”

I shot Miss Carol a glare, or as much of a glare as I dared to glare. I know my place.

“It’s been a long day,” I replied. “And the kind of a long day I’ve really missed! The Strand is open again,and I’m back on my old schedule! Suppertime’s at 9:30 PM, and you just gotta get used to it.”

“Do you intend to say that this late hour shall hereafter be the norm? This is monstrous!”

“Hey, you lived with it fine for eight years before the pandemic,” I retorted. “You’ll just have to adjust. Things are getting back to normal, at long last, and I’ve got a lot more to deal with than feeding you every five minutes.”

Miss Carol’s eyes narrowed. “A ridiculous exaggeration. My feeding schedule is entirely appropriate and well-regulated. Although,” and here she paused to lick an imaginary speck of dust from her immaculate paw, “since you raise the possibility, a five-minute feeding schedule might prove salubrious. I direct that you implement such a schedule at once.”

I sighed again. Life at the Strand is certainly getting back to a reasonable facsimile of normal. Sure, we’ve got reduced seating capacity for the time being, and masks are still in order for patrons entering, exiting, and moving around the theatre, but the important thing is that people are back – actual paying ticket-holding patrons, come to sit back in communal comfort to enjoy a feature picture on the big screen. That’s what “the movies” are all about, and that’s what the Strand was built for in the first place. And now we’re doing it again, and it’s just like riding a bicycle – you never forget how to do it, how to enjoy entertainment as part of a group again, the way entertainment works best. We of the Strand haven’t forgotten either. All the thousands of shows we’ve hosted since the grand reopening in 2005 taught us the best way and the right way to make our patrons happy – and it’s been rather amazing to see how smoothly we’ve been able to pick again right where we were interrupted fifteen months ago. 

“Ahem,” ahemed Miss Carol. I bet you didn’t know a cat can ahem, but Miss Carol has advanced abilities you could not likely comphrehend. A mere ahem is nothing.

“Ahem,” she ahemed again. “If you are finished with your digression, the matter of my evening meal remains at hand. I should like the turkey with giblet gravy this evening.”

“Large, medium or small?” I responded out of reflexive habit, and immediately regretted doing so. This is going to take some adjustment.

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