In last issue’s episode/column of Sarcastically Southern, I told you about my doctor’s office visit and the noisy occupants that I dealt with that day. I tell you, COVID-19 would have made for some good television if I truly had a reality show.
Just yesterday, I was in the grocery store to grab a few items. There were arrows on the floor to mark the traffic flow. I’m sure by now, we’re all familiar with the reasoning why, but just in case you’ve been living under a rock — the arrows make it so that there aren’t two buggies trying to squeeze past one another in a space that’s smaller than 6 feet. So here I am, mask over my nose and mouth, pushing my (sanitized) buggy down the aisle at a fairly quick pace.
Looking down the aisle, I realize that there is a glowing light. The wings of white doves and butterflies whisper at the end of this aisle…for there sat a shelf stocked (albeit, scarcely) with toilet paper. I glance around to make sure there aren’t any rogue shoppers who plan to speed past me like it’s the Daytona 500. I grabbed my laundry detergent on that same aisle and get almost to the toilet paper when it happens.
A couple comes in from the wrong direction. I’ve got my eye on the package of TP that I want, so I can grab it and go. But these two? Not them. They have to stand there. And discuss. And squeeze. And hold up traffic. I stepped forward just enough steps to grab the package that I want and then I place it in my buggy. I stood there, looking at them. Waiting on them.
Finally, I’d had enough. I say “Excuse me… I need to get by.” They split apart like an amoeba and leave a pathway for me to squeeze through. If I had thought it would’ve done any good, I would’ve asked them if they could move out of my way. I mean, we’re what, a month into this pandemic and it still hasn’t sunk in? I don’t think I was going to do any better than the signs and news articles have done.
And they weren’t the only ones!
Maybe I’m wrong (it’s happened before… just don’t tell my husband), but I thought that an arrow was a universally understood sign. I thought it didn’t matter if you were young, old, black, white, smart or stupid. I thought everyone understood arrows. I guess not.
I finally make it to the checkout where I stand on my “X.” Again… apparently some folks didn’t get the memo. This guy is standing right up behind me. He’s so close that even during normal times, I would’ve been uncomfortable. I tried to move up, out of his personal space (which was supposed to be MY personal space), but in order to do so, I had to encroach upon the lady in front of me. I turned the buggy almost sideways so that I could stand off to the side of it and put some distance in between us.
And these masks! I understand that they are a safety precaution and I am grateful that they give us all a sense of safety. But I have some news for some of you… they don’t work if you wear it under your chin. Or if you have your nose sticking out of the top of the mask.
This has certainly been a trying and scary time for everyone. The fear of the unknown has banded many of us together. (But at an appropriate distance of 6 feet apart!) Teachers and preachers have embraced technology. Professional seamstresses, amateur seamstresses and business owners have banded together to make masks for frontline workers and the at-risk. Business owners have started supporting one another in ways they never have before.
It’s really opened my eyes to how strong our community is. Being a part of the Kiwanis Club, I’ve seen many different instances of need throughout the years, but the need is greater now. And the response is greater as well.
Just yesterday, I was talking with a friend about how their family (and my husband and I) had been spending more time outdoors, less time in front of a screen and how it was nice to go back to the way things were. (I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve still developed an unhealthy addition to the app Tik Tok.)
The vast majority of us are trying to be respectful of others — staying out of their space, being more courteous, and offering to help our elderly neighbors with grocery shopping, among other things.
It seems like common courtesy is making a comeback. Too bad the same can’t be said for common sense…