Frozen in Place

The man in the straw hat is down on one knee, proposing to his beloved. He’s been proposing all day. All week.

The woman by the window orders coffee but never removes her mask.

And that eager looking fella by the door is still waiting on his dinner date.

Still waiting as I eat dessert.

Still waiting.

Restauranteurs’ answer to social distancing and sparse dining?

Image from the Inn at Little Washington

Mannequins. Frozen diners with frozen smiles on their faces and questions on their lips. They “people” the empty chairs. Add interest to dining spaces that are supposed to be energized by bodies and conversations and laughter.

They are waiting—as we all are—for the freeze frame to melt. But they don’t complain. They stand or kneel or hold a fork in the air until their limbs are numb. These scenes are familiar to them. They know what to do. And how not to do.

But I worry about them.

Image from Hotel Haase

I hope the guy who is waiting does not get stood up forever. I want her to say “yes.” I want the woman by the window to drink her coffee without fear.

I don’t want to be frozen in time. In my house. Six feet from hugging my friends—arms outstretched, never touching.

For now, we wait in hope, and with creativity.

The restaurants who seated the mannequins are clever. Will this work for pews and pulpits?

Note: Wonderful photos and article in Forbes.

Author: Jill Crainshaw

I am a professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity and an ordained PCUSA minister.

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