“Oh look,” I said to My Lovely Wife last weekend after we’d checked into a bed-and-breakfast for a quick getaway. “They have the shampoo I like.”
We desperately needed to break up the depressing monotony. So we opted for a change of scenery and a change of mind-set. We packed our clothes and phone chargers and carried them into the bedroom next to ours: the guest bedroom.
Not an Airbnb, an Ourbnb.
“This is nice,” My Lovely Wife said as we inspected the room. It was comfortable, but antiseptic, the way guest rooms in the homes of suburban empty-nesters tend to be.
“I wonder if they have a fitness center,” I said, knowing full well there was a treadmill in the basement.
“I wonder if there’s anything happening in town this weekend,” My Lovely Wife mused.
“It just so happens there’s a European science-fiction film festival at the local theater,” I said, having done a little research on weird movies available to stream.
Okay, so maybe it was all a little “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” But if that’s what it takes to trick ourselves into pushing the pandemic from our minds for a few hours, then so be it.
We’d made a reservation at a restaurant in town — the only restaurant, it turned out. There was only one entree: steak, seared on a cast-iron pan in a kitchen we could see from our table and served with green beans, roast potatoes and a peppercorn sauce.
Ruth had pulled a tablecloth and the good china from the hutch and lit candles. I uncorked some Montepulciano.
After dinner, we took our seats for a double feature: “War Between the Planets,” an execrable 1966 sci-fi film from Italy, followed by “Road to the Stars,” a surprisingly good 1957 movie from the Soviet Union. It was odd to see astronauts crammed together in space capsules, heedless to social distancing.
It was with some trepidation that we retired to bed. We’d visited this particular B&B in the past, and the last time we stayed, it had a metal bed frame that squeaked so badly you couldn’t twitch a muscle without being awaked by a clang. But since then, that cursed bed frame had been replaced by a wooden model that was exactly like one I’d assembled. It was silent, and the clean sheets felt good on our skin.
We slept deeply, our slumber undisturbed by squeaks or thoughts of contagion.
So, the first B — bed — was great. But to be honest, we were dreading the second B: breakfast. You know how those places can be in the morning: awkward conversation with strangers at the table while the owners fish for compliments for their homemade scones and ask if you’re going to do some antiquing.
But we were in luck. It was just us two at breakfast! In the center of the table was a basket of scrumptious banana bread muffins, a nice change from the granola and Cheerios that typically comprise our morning meals.
We’d decided against antiquing, and instead planned to take a drive in the country, to pick up some bird seed at the Backyard Naturalist in Olney. They said we could pay over the phone by credit card, and they’d load it into the back of our car.
Our drive out Georgia Avenue was the farthest either of us had traveled for weeks.
So that was our getaway: a different bed, some special meals and a willing suspension of disbelief.
“What time is checkout, do you think?” I asked Ruth on Sunday.
“It’s always earlier than you think it should be,” she said.
We’re thinking of going to England next weekend. There’s tea in the cupboard, rain in the forecast, and we just bought a subscription to BritBox.
For previous columns, visit washingtonpost.com/john-kelly.