2021 Daily Writing Challenge: August 4
A new month, a new try, a new kick at the can for writing here every day.
So, I wrote this piece for a writing class last fall, and thought I would revise it for here in an attempt to jumpstart some writing on this here blog. Plus, this is hitting me again as COVID numbers start to rise here yet again in our province, and as that country south of us is getting completely out of control yet again. Will we ever figure this out? NOTE: If you are an anti-masker, you will NOT want to read this piece as it will undoubtedly insult you.
Look, don’t touch.
The other day at the grocery store, I saw a man picking up mushrooms out of a bin, peering at each one closely, and then either putting it in a bag, or placing it back in the bin. Under normal circumstances, I might not have noticed. He wanted the best mushrooms, just as all of us, standing and watching him rummage through the mushrooms for ten or more minutes, did. No, not a notable moment, except that this occurred in the middle of a pandemic. That’s right. A time when grocery stores are marking aisles as one way only, limiting how many people can enter the store, and hanging signs asking people not to fondle the produce.
This must seem benign to some, even in these strange times. One man, one store, touching all the mushrooms, several people staring in amazement at him, waiting for mushrooms, but not wanting to get closer, respecting social distancing measures. I finally gave up, partly because I was tired of waiting, but mostly because I didn’t want to touch mushrooms this man had already touched, and he had touched all of them by the time he was done. You may tell me I am overreacting by relating this story and the horror it struck me with. You would be wrong. Why can’t people understand that these are not normal times? Why can’t you be kind and polite, think of others, follow the new rules and, you know, don’t touch all the mushrooms? Oh, and while you’re at it, maybe also wear a mask.
I confess I don’t understand the controversy surrounding mask wearing. People complain that it violates their civil liberties and puts the government in control of their body (my body, my life). Except that it is, of course, not just about your life. It’s about saving someone else’s life. Aside from my beef with these anti-maskers while I think are some of the same folks who tell women they can’t get abortions (whose body is it again?), what is the big deal? We wear seatbelts, we take off our shoes at airport security, we drive the speed limit. We follow rules and obey laws because we know they are not only good for us but for others. Why can’t you just wear a mask when you go out? You say you’re not afraid of getting sick, that you will get over it. Well, it’s not just about you. What about your spouse, or your parents, or your elderly neighbour, or your kid’s friend who has asthma? And don’t tell me the flu kills more people a year. Blah blah blah. Maybe read something for a change? Do your own research? Just because you feel something is true doesn’t make it so. Wearing a mask protects others, so you should feel honored I am wearing mine around you. And maybe I would not worry so much about you walking the wrong way down the clearly marked aisle if you were wearing a mask too.
All these new protocols in stores seem hard for some people. My husband’s optometry clinic is in an optical store. In order to keep track of which pairs of frames are being handled, the store is open by appointment only, meaning you can’t just walk in and try on scads of glasses at your leisure. You will be served directly by an optician. Now,I think the personal shopper thing is great. Who doesn’t want to have someone work with them one on one to pick out fashionable frames? Apparently, lots of people, one of whom wrote a scathing review of my husband’s clinic, which but the way does not have anything to do with the store, because he wasn’t allowed to just come in and shop for frames the way he usually does. Irony? This person works in the health-care profession. I guess even when you work in health, you don’t necessarily understand it.
Why am I writing all this? To tell you to take a pill. Chill out. Relax. Take your time. Take a moment to think: is this really such a big deal? And if your answer is still yes, maybe try to answer the question why? Is it really about your civil liberties, or are you just a selfish ass who doesn’t like to be told what to do? Maybe try wearing a mask to see how it feels. You can get them in all colors and so many amazing designs, I am sure you can find one to show us who you are.
But remember, wearing a mask doesn’t mean you can touch all the mushrooms.